Maintaining Ebony Hair

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One of the most difficult types of hair for its wearer to take care of is ebony hair. Ebony hair, in contrast to European hair, is usually very curly, coarse, or even kinked, and is deep black, with rare variations in the natural hair color. Given these characteristics, it is sometimes very frustrating for its wearer to style, color, or get cut.

The most common issues with ebony hair include losing moisture as readily as it absorbs it, making it very dry and prone to breakage at times. Because of its usual coarseness, the cuticle of the hair shaft tends to be raised, making moisture retention an issue. It is advisable to moisturize ebony hair with oils or conditioners as often as possible. Another issue for women with ebony hair is the high instances of breakages in longer hair. This is mostly due to the methods of styling used on the hair. About 80% of African-American women straighten their hair with one method or another. These processes, whether chemical treatments or heat styling, are very hard on the hair and tend to strip it of its much needed moisture.

Coloring also damages hair. Coloring hair from black (level 1) up to level 4 or 5 is acceptable, but some hair colors need the stylist to bleach hair up to level 8 or nine, and this gives ebony hair a very straw-like texture even when professionally done. And hair products cannot “cure” hair of damage. The best they can do is prevent any further damage and make hair “look” healthy.

It is recommended that ebony hair be treated with mild gentle shampoo and highly moisturizing hair conditioner. Conditioning hair on a daily basis will also help in maintaining healthy hair. It also helps to have a deep conditioning treatment once a week and a protein treatment once a month to maintain hair. Work this out with your stylist.

Another alternative could be to adopt a natural hairstyle, meaning going organic with your hair and avoiding chemical treatments and heat styles. This new movement in hair fashion has been espoused by Nedjetti for 15 years and is slowly gaining popularity.

So decide which method you think is best for you, just keep in mind your hair’s beautiful differences as well as limitations, and you’ll keep it healthy and beautiful.

Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Out of town appointments welcome.
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