Your beard looks good, your clothes are stylish, your cologne is distinct and exotic as always.
But your hair…
If you don't take care of the situation quickly, you’ll see a trail of dandruff on your hairline, or you’ll have brittle, unmanageable hair.
Eventually, you'll have to shave your hair. Anyway, that's not your plan; you’d love to keep your hair.
So, what can you do?
Read on for tips on how to take care of black male hair.
- How To Take Care Of Black Male Hair
- What Are We Doing Wrong?
- Black Male Hair Growth Tips: What To Do
- Popular Questions About Hair Care For Black Men
How To Take Care Of Black Male Hair
Every day, your hair grows about 0.35mm. Therefore, you can straighten, dye, plait, or manipulate your hair but, the following morning, you’ll still have untouched new growth.
It’s probably why the hair care industry rakes in millions because we always go back for more solutions as soon as new growth surfaces.
Some hair types have a simple hair care routine because the hair detangles easily, plus it has good moisture content round the clock. For African hair, the game changes.
If you don’t know how to take care of it, you’ll spend thousands of your hard-earned cash on the wrong hair care products or abandon the idea of growing hair altogether - go bald.
Let’s define African hair so that when we discuss hair care for black men, you’ll know the texture of hair we’re referring to here:
Is African Hair Different From Other Types?
First, have you ever wondered why African hair is darker than Caucasian hair?
Well, there are two melanin pigments responsible for that. Eumelanin pigment ranges from black to dark red; thus, hair with this pigment appears darker. On the other hand, hair with pheomelanin is lighter because shades of this pigment are from red to yellow.
On that note, to bleach hair from a darker color, it uses more hair dye. Consequently, for us, it means we may destroy our hair as we make it lighter.
Hair color aside, the structure of the follicle also differentiates our hair from other types. For Caucasian and Asian hair, the hair follicles have a round/circular shape, but African hair follicles adopt an oval shape, which increases their breakage, besides reduces their resistance.
Additionally, our hair is more fragile as its capacity to absorb water and the bond between molecules is lower. It’s also disadvantageous because its curly nature prevents natural oils on the root from reaching the tip. For this reason, we get dry, brittle hair when we fail to moisturize.
Nonetheless, despite all their structural issues, we love our curls.
When it’s hot outside, we’re cool on the scalp. You know why? Our spiral-shaped hair curls create spaces that enhance air circulation. Further, the reduced water distribution mentioned above also prevents water loss on a sunny day. So lighten up; our curls have some benefits too.
Our hair growth is slow, at about 0.9cm on average per month compared to Caucasian hair that grows about 1.2cm a month. Asian hair leads with a growth average of 1.4cm monthly.
Now, add in a haircare industry that knows our hair grows slower, so it bombards us with hair growth serums, some infused with harmful ingredients.
To that end, if you’ve been shopping blindly, without knowing your hair type, you might have been worsening your hair problem.
It brings us to:
Haircare for black men is more intricate for the ones with long hairstyles like the afro. The long tresses appear dull when they’re not moisturized or washed the right way. Using the wrong products on long hair also causes product build-up.
Hence, when you know your hair type, you can choose the best hair care process and products.
For example, hair type 4 needs more moisture to avoid hair breakage as the tight curls prevent the transfer of natural oils from the root. Equally, when you detangle type 3 with your fingers, it preserves its natural curls, unlike when you use a comb.
Based on some of the most talked-about hair typing methods, we have hair classes like
Type 1 – straight hair
1a – often thin
1b – medium texture but higher hair density than 1a
1c – resistant to curling
Type 2 – wavy hair
2a – fine but easy to straighten or curl
2b – wavy; it resists curls
2c – thick waves; hard to style
Type 3 – curly hair
3a – loose curls
3b – spiral-shaped curls
3c – tight curls
Type 4 – kinky hair
4a – coily but stretches into s-shaped curls
4b – forms Z-shaped curls
4c – tightly coiled
Look at the natural shape and texture of your hair to know its class using the list above. If you’ve chemically treated your hair, it might be more difficult classifying it. That being the case, you can wait for new growth in a month or so to see the actual shape of your hair.
We’ve laid the foundation, but before we delve into black male hair growth tips, let’s discuss the hair problems facing black men. When we do that, you’ll nip the hair problem in the bud, and it’ll be cheaper to take care of your hair.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
Check For Dandruff
Dandruff may not be painful, but it’s embarrassing when you scratch an itchy scalp and leave whitish flakes all over your shirt.
It’s natural to shed dead skin cells from your scalp. However, when you have dandruff, the process accelerates and leaves piles of dead skin cells on your scalp.
The cause remains unknown though it’s linked to seborrhoeic dermatitis, an inflammation caused by yeast species called Malassezia.
Dandruff worsens for reasons such as using too much hair spray or hair gel and stress. There are also causes of dandruff that are beyond your control, such as weather changes.
This problem starts with an itchy scalp plus mounds of dead skin cells. When it worsens, your scalp produces pus, or you start losing hair (alopecia) and also cause you a smelly scalp.
Over Styling Damages Your Hair
Combing wet hair increases friction between hair strands and fractures the hair shafts, thereby increasing hair breakage. You’ll have a tuft of hair in your comb every time you comb it, more so when you use a fine-toothed comb.
The process of retouching your dreadlocks may also cause traction alopecia because of the trauma on the frontotemporal line. When you have this type of alopecia, the hair across the hairline breaks out of the long hair in the loc to form a line of thin, sparse hair.
Product Build-up Is Destructive
Product build-up prevents moisturizers from reaching your hair, so it stays dry. It may also cause an itchy scalp, especially when the ingredients in the product are irritating.
Sometimes, product build-up occurs when you fail to rinse your hair adequately. At other times, this problem crops up when you don’t wash your hair regularly.
It also arises from using too much of something. For example, behentrimonium methosulfate moisturizes your hair effectively though it builds up when used in large quantities.
Now we are ready for some black male hair care tips.
Black Male Hair Growth Tips: What To Do
1. Use The Right Products
First, treat the existing problems before you begin a new haircare regime. Hence, to treat dandruff, use an anti-dandruff shampoo with ingredients like zinc pyrithione to kill Malassezia.
You might also come across the best dandruff shampoo for black hair with selenium sulfide. It kills the yeast species as it removes the dead skin cells on your scalp.
Moreover, buy products with water-soluble silicones to avoid build-up. These silicones include the ones with a PPG or PEG prefix and others like dimethicone copolyol.
Next, spring clean your bathroom shelves to remove all products with harmful ingredients. You won’t see any benefits of doing everything else correctly until you get rid of
It’s common in moisturizers, and it prevents the natural perspiration process by locking out oxygen.
It’s dangerous because it breaks down protein molecules, the foundation of your hair.
Sulfates remove sebum from your hair. The more sulfates there are in your shampoo, the higher the hair cleansing they’ll do. The problem arises when these chemicals remove too much sebum that your hair dries.
As I conclude, if a hairstylist does all the hair care routines for you, check for hazardous chemicals in the products they use.
2. Use The Right Tools For The Job
When shopping for new hair care products, pick a few tools that suit your hairstyle and type of hair. If you have short hair, you don’t need to detangle or smoothen your hair. If you must, use a brush.
3. Choose A New Hairstyle
Maybe, just maybe, your present hairstyle is unmanageable. To save time, you shorten the routine, and the steps you overlook lead to hair damage. Consider getting a simple hairstyle like a short-smooth wave or a short-high fade with the best fading clippers.
If you’ve suffered from acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN), which research links to inflammations on the scalp and neck, grow longer hairstyles. These inflammations occur when you shave curled hair. The hair tip may curve towards the scalp and pierce it.
4. Wear A Durag
Wear the best durags to bed to retain hair moisture of 360 waves or a longer hairstyle. The silk fabric traps hair moisture on your hair, so you wake up with soft, healthy curls. It’s also easy to comb such hair because the durag prevents tangles.
5. Moisturize Your Hair Daily
Our hair is structurally predisposed to dryness. When hair is too dry, it breaks easily. To counter this problem, a generous layer of black men hair moisturizer daily keeps it healthy and prevents breakage.
Popular Questions About Hair Care For Black Men
How Often Should I Wash My Hair To Keep It Healthy?
Wet hair is fragile. For this reason, frequent washing, drying, and styling may weaken your tresses more so if you have an afro or other longer hairstyle. On that account, wash your hair once a week unless your work exposes you to chemicals you have to wash out several times a week. You can also wash your hair more than once a week if you workout often.
What’s more, always use a moisturizer. For long hair, apply the moisturizer on the scalp, not on the hair, because friction between wet strands can cause breakage. On the other hand, the conditioner goes on your hair, not the scalp, to reduce hair friction as you comb it.
What Causes Hair Damage To Black Males?
Lack of hair moisture is one of the problems black males face. Our hair doesn’t have as much natural hair moisture as other types of hair. For that reason, when we use the wrong hair care routine, we lose more hair moisture and suffer from dry hair.
Additionally, when we apply too much pressure when combing with the wrong tools, it can break our tresses.
Is It Going To Damage My Hair If I Don't Use A Moisturizer?
Yes, your hair needs a moisturizer. Comb it after moisturizing to reduce hair breakage.
I'm A Black Guy, How Do I Properly Take Care Of My Hair?
We have mentioned black men's hair care tips in the sections above. However, for emphasis, wash your hair once a week utmost. Doing so three or more times can strip off the natural oils, thereby drying your hair.
For long hairstyles, such as an afro for guys, sleep in a durag to prevent tangles and preserve hair moisture. Avoid products with ingredients that dry your hair and make it brittle.
If you forget everything you know about taking care of black hair, never forget to moisturize.
Hair moisture gives you that healthy, shiny glow. Moisturize every day using products formulated for kinky or curly hair.
These products can have some good oils like coconut and none of the harmful ingredients like petrolatum. Use just enough, not too much, to avoid product build-up.