A guy’s relationship with his hair is either pretty intimate, indifferent or non-existent. In either case, hair is a pretty public thing, so people will sort of know if you are the dude who’s been shirking your hair hygiene duties.
From a young age, the unique and varying textures of our African hair present as many unique challenges during combing sessions as they do endless possibilities to style our hair in countless ways.
There just aren’t many products in these shelves created specifically for the textures, shades, curliness, kinkiness, funkiness and unpredictable-ness of our hair.
Add to that the fact that the hair care industry has tended to be focused on women’s hair – information and products for black African men’s hair remains a scarcity. Why that is the case, despite evidence that we can pretty much rock the dopest, most visually captivating, fashionable and experimental haircuts on planet Earth, is strange.
Despair no longer. A good place to start attending to the unique needs of our almost-always natural hair starts with us giving you tips on how to maintain healthy hair.
USING A COMB TO DETANGLE YOUR HAIR IS NOT THE WAY FORWARD
Our hair can become really frizzy, dry and curly. For many guys, the answer is simply using a brush or comb to get things looking neat again after getting your hair wet. After all, it’s usually softer and more willing to be a sport after some encounter with water. Right?
Wrong. Combing your hair while its wet can actually lead to all kinds of problems later. Fortunately, African hair dries up pretty fast, especially with the help of a piece of cloth to help out. But as you would probably know, combing dry African hair might as well be sometimes a near death experience. Solution? You shouldn’t be relying on combs to detangle your hair, as it can lead to significant hair loss. Ever seen the amount of hair that gets left around on those ‘Afro-combs’? That is where your hair goes. Get oil that works for you.
CHECK AND UNDERSTAND THE LABELS
Far too hair products out there make serious claims of catering to black hair, when in fact, they kinda really don’t. Most of them will also cost you a small fortune.
The trick is to check the labels, which can a bit laborious. But if you are reading this article, you are most likely interested in taking ample time to care for your hair to avoid hair loss, accelerated balding, dry scalps, breakage, dandruff, not looking on point and – God forbid – other weird ish that can actually result from poor hair hygiene.
Now, the labels… What you should be doing, according to Frederick Benjamin, is look for products that do not contain alcohol, mineral oil or petrolatum. Stuff will look nifty up there, but the hair will be dried out. A good barber should be able to assist with the more technical questions around which products you should be looking at for your hair type, and then do good and check the labels to make sure you are not subjecting your hair to short term and long term damage. Deal?
GET A GOOD BARBER
While it may sound silly at first, a good barber can actually play a pretty big role in not only a good execution of great hair styles, but also recommendations on products and tips on routines. I stumbled upon this one barber in Braamfontein a few years ago, and really stuck with him for a while. For one, he never left my edges scarred. He always knew what cuts worked for my head and, more importantly, he was happy to dish out some much needed advice on the do’s and do’s of basic hair care. The few times I ignored his advice, repercussions were dealt.
I’ve since moved on to getting my head handled at a hair salon. An expert in these things can also go a long way.
KEEP YOUR HAIR MOISTURISED
It’s probably safe to say most people would agree that your hair needs moisture to make it through the day. You don’t want to start seeing flakes on your scalp, which, on our hair, can easily sprint up to the tip of your hair to create a weird looking flake fest up there. Keep your scalp hydrated to encourage hair loss and give your hair resilience against unfavourable weather conditions.
It’s nice to get experimental with your hair, but it’s also not secret that certain hair cuts can put a lot of unnecessary strain to your hair. The importance of really taking care of your hair is that later you have more styling options to play with.
Find what works for you, and let us know in the comments section below if you’ve figured out a few tips you’ve found really help.