Black hair often makes a bold statement. While it’s similar in color to Asian and Native American hair, African-American hair differs in structure from these straight types of hair. It is usually curly or coily, giving many a lucky lady loads of texture and volume. But the same unique structure that gives it these perks can also make it more prone to dryness and breakage, so African-American ladies must give their manes special care and consideration.
Hair follicles are the tiny structures in your scalp responsible for creating new hair strands. The shape of the follicle determines the shape of the hair strand, as well as the diameter. African-Americans normally have oval-shaped follicles that create oval-shaped hairs. The flatter the oval, the curlier the hair. Unfortunately, the tight curls create stress around each twist and turn in the tresses. This extra stress makes the hairs more prone to breakage.
Like people of other cultures and ethnic groups, African-American divas use hairstyles to create fabulous form. The curly structure lends itself to certain modes of chic that bump up the glamour. Common styles include tight cornrows, corkscrews, buns and dreadlocks. Some fashion trends require straightening the coils and curls with chemical treatments.
Bad Hair Days
While chemical straighteners may help discipline curly hair that is behaving badly, these caustic products can also damage the health of the hair. Chemical straightening solutions tend to be harsher on hair than permanent wave solutions used to create curls in straight strands. Many African-American ladies experience excessive breakage around the hairline, a condition known as traction alopecia. This type of hair loss occurs when tight styles overstretch the delicate strands. While the usual culprit is sadistic styling techniques, such as tight braids and excessive brushing, headbands and caps can also break the hair over the forehead and around the face.
Coddle Your Coif
Finding a fashion that pampers your locks while creating visual impact can be a challenge. If leaving your hair loose makes your tresses appear frighteningly frizzy rather than fantastically fabulous, choose styles that impart the least amount of stress to your strands. Use padded hair bands and clips to avoid sharp pressure on your hair. Never create tension on your hair while it is wet and leave the chemical processes to your experienced and savvy stylist.