Having beautiful hair is a big part of your overall appearance. To keep your hair looking fresh, you need to have an excellent grooming ritual. Without it, your hair could look unkempt, which is unattractive.
As a black man, you’ll face problems that other ethnicities don’t, like dryness, fragile hair, and hair loss. Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered. Follow these easy hair tips to keep your mane as sharp as your outfits.
What’s Your Hair Type?
Before you can start caring for your hair correctly, it helps to know what type of hair you have. Each type can require different ways of grooming, as well as needing different products. There are four types:
- Type 1: straight: Your hair will lay down on its own once it grows out
- Type 2: wavy: Your hair becomes bendable. This type can range from fine to coarse. You’ll know if you have this type if your hair makes “S” waves when it’s longer
- Type 3: coiled: You’ll have loose or corkscrew curls. Most coiled hair frizzes
- Type 4: kinky: This type is when you get an afro texture. You might also have tight, small curls that spring from your scalp.
Now that you’ve determined your hair type, you can figure out what grooming rituals will keep you looking 100. If you have a problem with dry scalp and dandruff, which most black men do, there are a few things to try.
Dandruff: Uncomfortable and Unsightly
At some point in your life, you’ve probably experienced a dry scalp that resulted in dandruff. You fight the urge to scratch, as this will only cause the flaky skin to shed, getting everywhere. So you try to suffer as long as you can. But you don’t have to. Dandruff is a sign that your scalp is not getting enough moisture.
Perhaps you’re washing your hair too often. It can strip your hair of the natural oils it needs to keep your hair and scalp moisturized. When your skin gets too dry, it becomes itchy and flaky. Your scalp is no different. Making sure you keep your hair and scalp appropriately moisturized will reduce, or even completely cure, dandruff.
You can also get dandruff if you don’t wash your hair often enough. If you spend time outdoors or do an activity that makes you break a sweat, your scalp is getting dirty. Not to mention all the different pollutants that are in the air at any given time. Or maybe you use styling products to keep your hairstyle on fleek. All of this stuff can build up on your scalp and in the strands of your hair. If you don’t wash your hair correctly, it can lead to dandruff.
Stop suffering through the itchiness of dandruff. Be proactive and follow these tips to get healthy, clear scalp, and hair.
Tip 1: Shampoo Less Often
Grabbing shampoo from the store is easy for your busy schedule, but it’s not so great for your hair. Most of these products contain SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical is what makes your hair clean. The problem is that for black men, it can dry your hair and scalp out. Your hair might end up feeling brittle and hard.
Instead, look for a sulfate-free shampoo. And avoid petroleum-based products. These will cause your hair to look greasy. They will also cause your hair to dry out. Instead, look for a product that contains natural oils and fragrances.
Just because it smells good doesn’t mean it’s the one you should pick. Look at the ingredients. If there are fragrances added, these should be done with essential oils. These additives will keep you smelling good while softening your coarse locks.
Have a Good Shampoo Schedule
Now that you’ve got the right product, you need to have the proper schedule. Experts recommend that you only wash your hair once a week. Any more than that can strip the natural oils from your hair. If your goal is to grow your tresses out so you can rock a new do, you’re defeating the purpose by washing more than once.
If you have circumstances that require you to wash your hair more frequently, such as working around a lot of chemicals, dirt, or grease, do so sparingly — no more than two to three times a week. If you wash your hair too much, you could end up with dandruff.
Tip 2: Moisturize Every Day
A common complaint among black people is that their hair is thick, coarse, and dry. The type of shampoo you’re using could be one cause of this. But it’s also because your body cannot produce enough oil to keep your hair moisturized. If you don’t use a product to resolve this, you could end up with an itchy scalp and dandruff.
We’re not even going to get into how embarrassing it is to be talking up a chick who can’t stop staring at the dandruff flakes falling onto your clothes. Just know that you aren’t alone. What we will discuss is how you can prevent this from happening. It starts with finding the right moisturizing product.
One option is to use a rinse-out conditioner or hydrating creme. These are often made with essential oil blends, which provide a ton of benefits to your scalp and hair. By using a good conditioner once a week after washing, you are preventing damage that can occur from your hair drying too quickly. If you have curly hair, you certainly want to be making use of a good quality conditioner.
You could also use a leave-in conditioner, which will soften your hair and give it a nice bounce. Leave-in conditioners are products you leave in rather than washing out. The purpose of these products is to detangle your hair. If you wear a close cut, you might not need this type of product. But if you want to grow your hair out, don’t do it without having some conditioner at the ready.
You can find all types of oils in the store or online. But before you select, consider the ingredients. All-natural products are better for your hair than ones made with chemicals. There are numerous types of all-natural oils you can purchase, but here are a few of our favorites.
Most oils don’t actually moisturize your hair. They trap moisture that comes from the water-soluble ingredients mixed in. Coconut oil, however, will actually provide moisture, without the assistance of H2O. You’ll get healthy, soft tresses in no time.
This type of oil has a chemical makeup similar to the natural oils, or sebum, that your scalp already produces. Although this type of oil doesn’t provide moisture like coconut oil, it’s very effective at working as a sealant to trap moisture in. Apply a few drops over your scalp while it’s still damp. You can also use this oil to moisturize your beard. Not all products can work for both hair types. Or use it to moisturize your whole body. If using this product, mix it with conditioner for best results.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This ingredient isn’t hard to come by. If you often cook, chances are you’ll have a bottle sitting in your kitchen cupboard. EVOO, as it’s often called in the cooking world, is made with pressed olives and is 100% natural. There wasn’t much to it during the refinement, which means it still contains most of its healthy nutrients. If you suffer from an itchy scalp and dandruff, dry rubbing your head with a little extra virgin olive oil every day.
If you’re looking for a product that can help your hair grow faster and healthier, emu oil might be a good pick. This type of product is not made using plant products, which is a bit different than most of the oils you might use. Surprisingly, emu oil comes from the fat tissue of emus. Yes, the animal. This type of oil doesn’t clog your pores, meaning you won’t have to worry about dandruff or dry scalp. And it has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help heal any sores.
Sweet Almond Oil
This type of oil will work great if you have longer hair you’re trying to maintain. Not only will it lock in moisture, but it will make you smell great too. You can use this product on your scalp, just the ends of your hair, or as an oil rinse. Go ahead and dab a bit on your mouth to soothe chapped lips. Or rub some on areas of your body that often dry out.
To apply oil, put a few drops on your fingertips and run them through your hair. Make sure you distribute the oil evenly for the best look. As mentioned, you should apply oil to your hair every day. But if you notice your strands feeling dry or brittle in between applications, it won’t hurt to oil your scalp again.
Tip 3: Pick the Right Products
The problem with most of the products you’ll find at your local store is that they contain harsh chemicals and additives that do a lot of damage to your hair. Not to mention the insane amount of grease they put into these products, which will leave your hair laying flat. If you’re trying to grow your hair out so you can rock a look with your natural curls, these products won’t suffice.
The ethnic section at your store might have more options to pick from, but even these can contain ingredients that are bad for your hair. Avoid any products that include:
- Mineral oil
- Propylene glycol
If you need something to provide a good hold, consider using pomades, balms, or styling cremes. Whichever product you use, try to find one that has water as the first ingredient. This ingredient will ensure that you will get enough moisture to keep your mane from frizzing out.
Pomades are often oil or water-based and will help keep your mane locked down while also keeping it soft and healthy. There are a few differences between water-based and oil-based that you might want to consider before selecting.
Oil-based pomades do contain petroleum, which is a product you want to avoid adding to your hair. The final look will be greasy or wet. Water-based pomade, on the other hand, will have a matte finish. And they are healthier for your hair. Oil pomades are harder to wash out, meaning you can end up with dandruff from the buildup.
Styling creams are great for naturally wavy or curly hair. This type of product will let you have the style and control you need, without weighing your hair down or leaving behind harsh buildup. Look for one made with natural ingredients like sweet almond, safflower oils, or avocado. These additives will keep your hair soft and give it a sexy sheen without making it greasy.
Tip 4: Wear a Low-Maintenance Cut
Most black men choose to wear their hair shaved or faded because they can’t pull off other looks. Using the right products and keeping your hair moisturized will allow you to grow your hair out into any look you want. How would you look with waves or short curls? Keep your hair moisturized and healthy, and you can indeed find out.
Hairstyles like crew, mini fro-hawk, taper fade, and Caesar are all popular, low maintenance styles you can rock if you prefer to keep your hair short. These styles don’t require much work to keep looking good. And because they’re all short, your hair will benefit from not having to be caked with styling products, which cause buildup and strip the moisture from your hair and scalp.
Afros, dreads, and braids look low maintenance, but these styles do take a bit of work to keep them looking good. But they are an excellent option for men with thick, curly hair. You might have to change your hair washing routine if you’re trying one of these styles. Check with your barber to find out their recommendations for how to properly care for your hair. Also, check what products they recommend for these types of hairdos.
Find What Works For You
If you want to rock a new do now that you’ve got your dandruff and dry scalp under control, ask your barber or hairstylist what look might be best for you. But don’t feel that you have to follow their suggestions if they don’t appeal to you. These are just recommendations. You should never agree to something if you aren’t comfortable with it.
In the end, it’s your hair and your look. Find one that fits your hair type, personality, and lifestyle. However, avoid picking a style that requires a ton of effort if you don’t have the time to devote to it. Long hair can be hard to manage and requires a lot more dedication and a stricter regiment to keep it looking fresh.
Use the Right Grooming tools
Keeping your hair moisture and picking the right products isn’t enough to complete your look. You’ll also need the right tools- like a good brush or comb. Selecting the proper one is crucial. Brushes have two duties: to detangle and to smooth. If you have short hair that doesn’t need detangling, you can skip brushing your hair altogether.
The bristles of your brush are important. They will determine how your hair will look once you’ve groomed it. For hair that you want to control and flatten down, pick a brush that has soft bristles. If you need to define the shape and style of your hair, go with a hard-bristled brush. Or go for a middle ground by picking a brush with medium bristles.
You can also choose to go for a comb instead of a brush. A comb works great for short hair, although you can use it for longer hair too if you prefer. A good comb with have wide teeth, so it doesn’t snag. It will also be seamless, which can pull your hair out and cause split ends. Select a comb made out of durable materials. It will last you longer, and they’re usually anti-static and heat resistant.
If you decide to use a brush or comb, never use it on wet hair. Doing so can damage the hair follicles and cause your hair to break off or split. You should always let your hair dry naturally. Applying heat can dry it out. If you do have to use heat, use the least amount possible. And add a leave-in conditioner beforehand. This step will help keep your locks moisturized and protected.
Your Appearance is Worth Your Time
Although many black men complain that there’s nothing they can do with their hair, it’s not true. The fact is some men don’t want to devote the necessary time and effort. But you should always want to look your best, and that starts with your hair. Following these helpful tips can keep you looking good with minimal effort. And when you look good, you feel good.
And one little additional tip to finish, check out our article on hair fibers.