Hair color affects hair composition and strength. While lighter colored hair tends to be fine and silky, black hair is often coarse and dry. This makes it especially prone to breakage. Dry, coarse, black hair needs extra moisture and protection from heat. There are several steps you can take to improve the condition of your hair and prevent split ends, drying and breakage.

1. Reduce the frequency with which you wash your hair. Shampoo is a detergent designed to remove excess oil from the hair. If your hair is already very dry, shampoo will remove the oil from your scalp, increasing your hair’s dryness. Hair stylist Nick Arrojo says that washing your hair every other day or even every few days is perfectly adequate.

2. Use a silicone-free conditioner. Silicones make the hair feel temporarily moisturized but actually sap the hair of moisture over the long term, according to trichologist Philip Kingsley. Condition your hair twice when you shower and allow it to sink into your hair for several minutes prior to rinsing. Place a shower cap or plastic bag over your hair for added benefits. The increased humidity moisturizes the hair and allows conditioners to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft.

3. Apply a spray heat protectant to your hair prior to styling. Black hair tends to be thicker and coarser than lighter-colored hair, and many women use straightening products and blow driers to smooth their hair’s texture. Heat damages and further dries the hair, but protectant sprays decrease the damage.

4. Treat your hair with a hot oil or coconut treatment once or twice each week. Most drug stores sell these treatments, which add needed oil to dry, brittle hair. Coconut oil is especially effective on African American hair, while hot oil is a better choice for Caucasian, Latina and Asian hair. Follow the directions on the package.

Tips and warnings

* Trim your hair every four to six weeks to remove split ends. Take a multivitamin supplement containing Biotin to further improve your hair’s health.

Things you’ll need

* Hot oil

* Coconut oil

* Silicone-free conditioner

* Heat protectant spray


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