Caring for Afro Caribbean Hair

Picture your hair as a collection of fine fibres. You should treat it as gently as you would a fine washable silk blouse. The better you treat your hair, the easier it will be to grow and the better it will look. Afro hair tends to be dryer and more prone to breakage because the structure makes it more difficult for the oils to work their way from the scalp to the ends of the hair. If you relax your hair, you've weakened the hair and reduced the ability for the scalp to naturally oil it.
 
The points where the hair curls and twists are also points where the hair tends to break. The more of these points (as in afro hair), the more the hair is prone to breakage. Also, because our hair is kinky, it tends to tangle more and pulling these tangles out can cause breakage.
 

Reducing Breakage

- Either section the hair and plait it, tie it back or wrap it up using a scarf before going to bed, this will reduce the number of tangles you have to comb out the next morning, reducing the chances of breaking your hair.

- Sleep with a satin scarf or sleep cap on your your head or with a satin pillow case. This helps avoid split ends caused by the rubbing of your hair against a "rough" cotton pillow case. It also avoids moisture being wicked out of your hair into your cotton pillow case.

- Wash your hair no more often than every week to week and a half. More than that can dry it out.

- Comb your hair out while you're conditioning it to remove the tangles while it's wet and relatively slick.

- Oil your scalp on a regular basis with a good natural oil like shea butter. A daily moisturizer is not a bad idea.

- Do a deep conditioner or hot oil treatment once a month.

- Massage your scalp on a regular basis to promote circulation and oil production.

- Avoid overuse of products with mineral oil or petroleum. They tend to block the pores and are not readily absorbed. If your mother used VaselineĀ® on your hair, stop.

- If you exercise and sweat, rinse the salt out of your hair even if you don't wash it. Condition it afterwards with a daily leave-in conditioner.

- Always use a leave-in conditioner after washing your hair.

- Put as little heat as possible on your hair. Heat, especially combined with perms is very damaging to hair.

- Avoid alcohol based products unless you have a need for a water-free shampoo to cleanse your scalp.

- Remember that water (moisture) is your friend and get plenty- inside and out. If you used to press your hair or blow it out and learned to fear water on your hair because it would draw up, you need to get over this. Spritzing a little water on your hair every day is a good idea.

- Get a spray bottle and just spray it just a little.

- Eat a proper diet. Vitamins and protein are essential for proper hair growth. We have nutritional supplements specifically designed for hair and skin health. Hair Growth Supplements.

- Find a style that works with your natural hair type and growth pattern. The less you work against your hair, the less stressed it will be.

- Do not relax your hair until it is bone straight. This is just asking for trouble. Why relax your hair until it has absolutely no body or curl and then put heat on it to try to get that curl back?

Some tools you should have in your kit:
- A scarf, cap, or wrap to wear on your head at night- or a satin pillow case (well, two).

- A good shampoo: They will be more expensive. But, they'll use more gentle cleansers and be more concentrated. You may find they save you money in the long run. And, your hair will definitely show the difference.

- A good acidifier (a conditioner with a low pH): Acidifying the hair adds shine and detangles.

- A good hot oil treatment or deep conditioner: It is an all natural based shea butter treatment. Apply the conditioner or hot oil treatment to the hair and scalp, cover with a plastic cap and sit under a dryer for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can wrap your head in a towel.

- Then wash the hair thoroughly. This is very important for for dry brittle hair.
- A good leave in conditioner or daily moisturizer: This is what you'll put on your hair after you've thoroughly cleaned it to continue to provide oil and moisture.

- A comb for your hair type. Don't try to drag one of those skinny toothed combs through your natural kinky or curly hair. You'll just end up pulling it out and breaking it off.

- A good boar bristle brush (use sparingly though).

- A spray bottle to mist your hair.