By Terez Howard
Afro hair styles now don’t conjure up the image of the big, blown-out afro with a black power fist. Today, women with natural afro-textured hair are learning ways to diversify their afro hair as well as practice healthy afro hair care techniques. Naturals feel free as they rock their afros. They can walk, not run, in the rain. They can swim without worries. They can do anything and still look cute.
If you enjoy wearing natural black hair, then you know how important a good afro hair care regimen is. In this article, you will learn how this natural hair style can be achieved and how you can keep it healthy.
Two Ways To Achieve Afro Hair Styles and the Myths Behind Them
1. Wash and wear. Afro hair is simple. You wash your hair with shampoo, condition, apply product and wear it. Your natural hair will shrink since natural black hair is prone to shrinkage. Some naturals experience 90 percent shrinkage.
Myth: Natural hair does not grow.
Fact: Natural afro-textured hair does grow. Just because your natural hair shrinks in water and shrinks even more after it dries, that does not mean it does not grow. Hair types vary, so while some women have hair that hangs low, others have hair that stands up. Afro hair, like all other hair types, goes through the three phases of hair growth: the anagen phase (the time when hair grows), the catagen phase (the time when hair is at rest) and the telogen phase (the time when hair sheds). According to the FBI Hair, Fiber, Crime and Evidence Report, the hairs in the telogen phase shed easily, and when you examine them, they have undamaged roots.
2. Blow out. You divide your hair into manageable sections, 10 to 12. Then you blow dry each section with a blow dryer. You can also roll your hair in rollers and sit under a hooded dryer. Without allowing the hair to dry completely, remove the rollers and pick out the hair with a wide tooth pick.
Myth: All heat damages natural hair.
Fact: Improper use of heat damages natural hair. Direct heat, which sits directly on the strands of hair, such as in the form of blow dryers and flat irons, is most damaging to afro hair. Your afro hair styles have the potential to lose their coily structure since the heat breaks it down. Frequent use of direct heat WILL damage your hair cuticle, which is the hair’s outer, protective layer. The hair cuticle becomes damaged by heat, tangles and breaks easily. Although I could find no documented proof, I believe that repeated use of indirect heat can also cause damage. But who would sit under a hooded dryer for six hours to prove my theory?!
Healthy Afro Hair Styles
When you are creating afro hair styles, the most important thing to keep in mind is hair health. Here are some afro hair care tips:
- Create afro hair styles after the hair has been cleaned. Use shampoo and/or conditioner, and don’t forget to detangle! Just because you are going to wear an afro does not mean you should leave your hair a tangled mess. If you go to comb it out too long after you have worn your afro, expect to lose a lot of hair from it knotting and matting over time.
- If you want to promote growth, protect your natural hair at night. Wear a silk scarf. Also, loosely braid or twist your hair to protect the ends and keep your natural black hair from tangling.
- Use a moisturizer to keep your afro hair styles from drying out. A spritz of water can do the trick.