Black hair is different from all other hair types. It is naturally
dry and prone to breakage. When black hair is chemically relaxed,
it becomes even harder to keep healthy. Many black women suffer
from breakage and hair loss which keeps their hair from growing
very long. This article discusses the fundamentals of black
hair and how to keep it healthy.
Black Hair Structure
Black hair care must take into account the unique structure
of black hair. Like other hair types, it is made up of several
The cuticle is the outer layer
which protects the hair shaft. It is coated with sebum, which
gives the hair its shine. The cuticle is made of scale like
cells that resemble the shingles on a roof.
The cortex gives hair its strength,
elasticity, and texture.
The hair follicle is the part
of the skin that grows the hair.
Sebaceous glands produce the sebum
that coats the cuticle.
Melanin is the pigment in the
cortex which gives hair its color.
However, black hair is elliptical in shape, giving it a unique
structure that is more prone to breakage. Products must be used
to cater to the uniqueness of black hair for it to grow very
Moisture, Porosity, and Elasticity of Black Hair
Black hair care must address the main components that make
up condition of black hair. These are moisture, porosity, and
Moisture is the amount of moisture
water contained in the hair's cortex. It is greater in humid
areas, and less in drier areas.
Porosity is the hair's ability
to absorb water and chemicals. If porosity is normal, it keeps
the hair from absorbing or releasing too much moisture. Overly
porous hair cannot hold its moisture; it is much like a sponge.
It easily sucks up moisture, but cannot hold it.
Elasticity is the hair's ability
to stretch and return to its normal length. Wet hair should
be able to stretch about half of its length without breaking.
If your hair's elasticity is low, it will break when stretched.
Black hair that is relaxed will often be over porous, have
low elasticity, and have low moisture content. For this reason,
it is necessary to take special steps to keep black hair healthy
so that it can grow its longest.
Black Hair Growth
Most people have about 100,000 hairs on their head. Normal
growth is about one quarter to one half inch per month. Actually
hair that grows one half inch per month is considered fast growing.
Black hair normally grows slower than this. Every hair on your
head will go through three phases: growing, resting, and shedding.
The growing phase can last from
3 to 7 years.
The resting phase lasts about
2 to 4 weeks.
The shedding phase can last from
3 to 4 months. This shedding is the natural process that replaces
old hairs with new hairs. It is normal to lose about 50 to 80
hairs per day.
If you have ever wondered why your hair will grow to a certain
length then stop, it is because of your growing phase. Your
growing phase (or anagen) is a certain length of time. This
is something that we are born with, so there isn't much that
changes it. A person with a very long growing phase will grow
longer hair than a person with a shorter growing phase. Therefore,
the anagen phase actually determines the maximum length your
hair will grow.
Black Hair and Scalp Problems
Black hair care must also cater to hair or scalp problems that
most will experience at some point. Hair problems such as breakage,
dryness, shedding, thinning, and slow growth can be caused by
Breakage is caused by damage to
the hair's cortex. This type of damage causes the hair to become
fragile and break easily. Heat styling, over processing, and
using harsh products can cause damage to the cortex. Heat styling
reduces the moisture content in the hair and weakens the natural
protein in the hair. Over processing hair with chemicals can
lead to major damage and air loss. Chemically processed hair
is already damaged to some extent simply because it has been
chemically processed. So it is at greater risk of damage from
styling. Chemical processing can cause high porosity and low
elasticity, both of which can lead to breakage. In addition
to this, using harsh shampoos which strip the hair can lead
to further breakage. It is important that gentle shampoos be
used on chemically treated hair.
Dryness is caused by sebum being
stripped from the hair shaft. Black hair is dry naturally and
must be moisturized regularly. Most oils and moisture products
do not effectively moisturize black hair, because it cannot
penetrate the hair shaft. Only water based moisturizers and
coconut oil can penetrate the hair shaft. Other oil products
simply coat the hair giving it a look of moisture. However,
the hair is still dry and susceptible to breakage.
Shedding is a normal process.
When more than 80 hairs per day are shed, it may be excessive.
This type of shedding can be caused by stress, hormonal changes,
diet, or scalp conditions. Many women experience this type of
shedding after giving birth. This is because pregnancy hormones
can lock all of the hair into the growing phase. After the delivery,
many hairs will go into the resting phase to be shed two to
three months later. Birth control pills and menopause can have
the same effect. High androgen birth control pills can cause
major shedding and hair loss. Other causes of severe shedding
are fever, blood loss, low iron, drastic dieting, and thyroid
disorders. Excessive shedding can also cause thinning. To minimize
thinning, you first need to find out what is causing your shedding.
To stop shedding immediately, garlic can be used on the scalp
to tighten the pores and prevent the hair from shedding. To
use garlic for shedding, simply blend garlic with your favorite
conditioner until it is a paste. Apply the mixture to your scalp
and hair and cover with a plastic cap. Leave in for an hour
Slow growth is a common complaint
associated with black hair. This can be caused by the natural
growth rate, breakage, or nutrition. Each person will have a
different growth rate. Some people will just have hair that
grows faster or slower than normal. However, breakage can also
make hair seem to grow slowly. If your breakage is keeping up
with your growth, it can make your hair seem like it is not
growing at all. This is a common problem for black hair due
to the damage and breakage caused by relaxers. To speed up hair
growth, use a hair vitamin formulated to increase hair growth.
Scalp problems can be caused by
bacteria, fungus, and other reasons. Dandruff, for example is
caused more cells being shed from the scalp. It is associated
with a yeast present at all times. The yeast will grow more
quickly when dandruff occurs. Scalp itch can be caused by various
problems such as fungal infections like ringworm. Fungal and
bacterial infections of the skin need to be treated by a doctor
with oral medication. Most topical shampoos, creams, and oils
will not cure scalp conditions.
Black Hair Care Products
Black hair care consists of washing with gentle shampoo, deep
treatments to strengthen and moisturize hair, keeping hair moisturized
daily, and styling hair without breakage.
Using a gentle shampoo is necessary
to keep black hair healthy. Most shampoos use harsh sulfates
to get the hair clean. They use the same chemicals that are
used in concrete cleaners and engine degreasers. This is especially
harsh on hair that is already chemically relaxed. These types
of shampoos actually strip the hair of its natural moisture
and strength and can lead to more breakage.
Conditioning treatments are used to build
hair strength and moisture.
Protein treatments are used to
replace protein lost during chemical treatments. The protein
in hair keeps hair strong and helps to prevent breakage. If
protein that is lost is not replaced, the hair will become weak
and eventually break. This will limit the length the hair can
grow. For an effective protein treatment, add a raw egg to your
favorite conditioner and apply to wet hair after shampooing.
Cover with a plastic cap and allow to sit for 30 to 60 minutes.
Moisture treatments are used to
keep hair soft and supple. They must be used when protein treatments
are used to combat the dryness that can be caused by too much
protein. For an effective moisture treatment, apply virgin coconut
oil to wet hair and cover with a plastic cap. Cover with a plastic
cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 10 to 15 minutes.
If protein treatments are done without balancing it with moisture,
the hair can become dry and break.
Keeping hair moisturized is key to growing black hair long.
If black hair is not moisturized properly, it will become dry
and eventually break. Black hair care products often contain
ingredients which are considered moisturizing. However, many
of these ingredients do not moisturize effectively. Petroleum
and lanolin are often used in black hair care products, but
they are not good for moisture. They only coat the hair with
a gloss instead of actually penetrating the hair and moisturizing
the hair. To effectively moisturize black hair, you must use
a moisture product that can penetrate the hair. Water based
moisturizers are capable of penetrating the hair. Coconut oil
is the only oil product that can penetrate the hair and moisturize
it from the inside. Coconut oil also helps prevent protein losses
and keep black hair strong.
Products and Ingredients to Avoid for Healthy Black
Black hair care products must be formulated to build hair strength
and keep hair moisturized. Many products on the market contain
ingredients that do not do this. To keep black hair healthy,
choose gentle shampoos, use protein and moisture treatments,
and moisturize your hair daily with water based moisturizers
or coconut oil. Avoid products with sodium laureth sulfate,
petroleum, and lanolin. These products are made with cheap ingredients
and will not help your hair grow its longest.
Relaxers and Black Hair Care
Black hair is often chemically processed with relaxers. Relaxers
straighten the hair by breaking down protein bonds in naturally
curly hair and loosening the curl pattern. However, the protein
bonds are also what gives the hair its strength. When the hair
is relaxed, the basic structure of the hair shaft is changed.
The chemicals penetrate the hair's cortex and enter the inner
layer of the hair. They continue breaking down the bonds and
stripping the hair of its strength and elasticity. This is why
breakage is commonly experienced by women who use relaxers.
You can minimize damage and breakage from relaxers. Relaxers
should never be applied to already damaged hair, or on someone
who has had scalp damage. Hair should be in its best shape before
attempting to chemically relax it. This means that the porosity
and moisture content should be normal. If hair is not at its
best, then protein and moisture treatments should be used to
restore the hair to a healthy condition.
The relaxer should not be applied until these issues have been
completely resolved. These are the main reasons breakage occur
Over processing the hair. Excessive use of relaxers or applying
the chemical to previously relaxed hair, is the most typical
misuse of these chemicals.
Not performing a strand test. A "strand test" should
be performed prior to applying a chemical relaxer to gauge the
result of applying the chemical.
Not using a protective cream on the scalp. A protective cream
should always be applied to help protect the scalp from being
damaged or burned.
Not properly neutralizing the hair. After the hair has been
processed for the appropriate amount of time, the relaxer must
be completely removed with warm water. Then a neutralizing formula
is used to lower the pH of the hair. If the pH is not lowered,
the hair will break. This is because the chemical will continue
to work on the hair strand weakening it further.
Pulling or Combing Hair While Relaxing. From the time the relaxer
is applied to the time it is neutralized, the hair is in an
extremely fragile condition and must be handled carefully. Avoid
all pulling, tugging, and excessive combing of the hair during
Not using protein and moisture treatments. Protein and Moisture
treatments should be used to restore some of the natural moisture
and proteins that have been stripped from the hair by the relaxer.
Not moisturizing daily. Daily moisture is needed to keep the
hair soft and supple. If newly chemically straightened hair
is not properly moisturized, it can become brittle, dry, damaged
and break. Relaxed hair will tend to be drier and break easier
than natural hair.
Using excessive heat. Excessive use of heat tools will only
further damage chemically relaxed hair. This is due to the fact
that they work by drying the hair our ever further. If heat
tools are used, then they should be used along with thermal
protectants. Use of heat tools should be limited as much as
How Do I Stop My Hair From Breaking and Grow Longer
Hair vitamins can be used to make black hair grow faster, but
it will not repair any damage done to your hair, or prevent
further damage. You must use treatments and other hair care
products to keep your hair from breaking. HairFinity vitamins
can make your hair grow up to twice as fast as normal.
Using protein and moisture treatments will rebuild hair strength
and keep it from breaking. The reason it is so important to
use protein treatments is because the hair is made mostly of
protein, acutally about 88%. When your hair is relaxed, for
example, many of the protein bonds in the hair are broken. This
allows the curly pattern to become looser, and eventually straight.
If you do not rebuild the protein lost after this type of service,
your hair will definitely break. However, protein and moisture
must be balanced, or it will also cause breakage. Read
"Steps to Grow Black Hair Longer and Healthier" to learn
exactly what you should be doing.
how MSM makes your hair grow faster.
hair vitamins with MSM
In order to achieve the longest hair possible you need to
do the following:
1. Stop Hair Breakage - by following the hair care techniques
for Faster Hair Growth, you can minimize your hair breakage
and allow you hair to reach it maximum length.
2. Increase Anagen (Growth) Phase- Using Hair
Vitamins with MSM will naturallly lengthen your anagen phase
and allow your hair to grow much longer before entering the
resting and shedding phases.
3. Address Any Other Problems that May Limit Growth- Using
specific types of products as part of a hair care regimen can
help reduce breakage and increase your hair length.
your FREE Customized Healthy Hair Consultation.