If you have afro hair, then you may already know the challenges of finding products that work for you. Not only can it be frustrating, but pricey too!
To maintain the very best hair health, you’ll require a consistent routine with products that are proven to work with the natural textures of afro locks; be that kinky, coiled or wavy.
Hydration is the key to success with afro hair to promote growth, reduce breakages and restore shine. With this guide, we’ve done all the hard work so that you don’t have to, to help you find the right products for your hair.
Your afro hair type
Before determining what products you require, you’ll need to understand more about your hair type. Natural afro hair is often dry, slow to grow and prone to breakages. This is mainly because of the helix shape of hair strands making it difficult for its natural oils to travel down the shaft.
Afro hair can be referred to as Type 4 hair, because of its tightly-packed curl pattern. It’s also likely to have a high porosity, which means it takes moisture on easily but struggles to keep hold of it, leaving it susceptible to frizz and extreme dehydration.
Using specifically-formulated products for afro hair will ensure that your locks get the moisture they need to support growth, hydration, and shine.
Afro hair care | 7 steps (including appropriate products)
1. Hair wash routine
Often, shampoos that contain sulphates leave hair feeling dry and hard to manage. Opt for natural afro hair products, instead, wherever possible. A naturally-derived shampoo will gently cleanse tresses of grime whilst at the same time retaining moisture.
Don’t underestimate the importance of conditioner in your hair wash routine, as this is going to provide your locks with a serious dose of hydration. You could even consider introducing a weekly co-wash; a method where you exclusively wash your hair with conditioner for a more nourishing cleanse.
Use a product with a nurturing formula, such as this Marula Leave-In Conditioner found in the Equi Botanics Afro Hair Care Set.
2. Post-wash styling
Caring for afro hair doesn’t stop once you’ve stepped out of the shower; the post-wash process is just as important. Use a microfibre towel to gently squeeze excess water out and then apply a hair oil to continue adding hydration to the hair.
Hair oils, with ingredients such as argan oil or black seed oil, are great at boosting moisture levels but also work to strengthen, protect and stimulate regrowth.
Limit heat exposure by letting hair dry naturally, where possible, but if you need to use a heat styler, then drop the temperature down to a lower setting, and always use a heat protectant spray.
If you’re a fan of keeping your afro au naturel, then use a gel to keep your hair in place for longer and protect it against humidity-induced frizz. Look for alcohol-free formulations that offer long-lasting definition and hydration.
Brands such as Living Proof and Tresemmé offer hair products which are suitable for afros.
Quench your afro hair’s thirst with a weekly deep conditioner or hair-mask treatment. These moisture-rich products are quick to deliver on hydration and healthier locks. Hair masks are essentially a more potent form of conditioner that saturates much deeper, through to the cuticle layer to nourish below the hair’s surface.
Your natural afro hair is prone to matting, especially if it’s dry or damaged, and yanking a brush through it can result in breakages. Using a natural bristle brush or a wide-toothed comb can get through knots without causing friction and further damage when working through more stubborn tangles. Detangle in sections with the use of an oil to add extra slip!
5. Protective styling
Using protective hairstyles helps to maintain healthy hair, reduce the need for constant manipulation and protect against varying weather conditions. Consider styles such as:
- Two-strand twists
- Bantu knots
Aim to change your protective hairstyle every 6-8 weeks, with a 2-week break in between. Protective styling can leave your locks more prone to build-up, but it’s important to relieve your scalp from the tension caused by a long-term hairstyle.
Silk is a great material to help retain moisture in hair. Switch out cotton pillowcases that absorb your hair’s natural oils for a silk one, instead. The breathable nature of silk allows for circulation and stops moisture from getting trapped at the root of the hair. It also reduces frizz and breakages caused by friction. You could also wrap hair in silk overnight and use silk scrunchies when tying your locks up to further support your locks during sleep.
7. Regular trims
If you’re trying to grow your afro, then it figures that you may also be skipping haircuts. It’s important to maintain regular appointments at the salon for a quick trim to keep hair healthy. Combining afro hair products with regular cuts is good for growth but will also help to reduce damage and support length retention.
Establishing a new afro hair care routine takes time, so be patient and allow your new hair products the opportunity to work. Whatever routine you choose to adopt, be sure to make moisture a focal point as that is the answer to many afro hair problems.