Big, Beautiful Hair
African American hair can naturally by dry, brittle and kinky. This causes many women to apply harsh treatments, such as relaxers to their hair in order to achieve a new look. However, natural African American hair can be extremely beautiful, especially with a few basic methods of styling.
In today's society, big, voluminous hair is not only popular, but it helps make a statement. Instead of trying to straighten and tame natural black hair, even more volume can be added for a statement-worthy look. To achieve a large natural hairdo, do not attempt to straighten or relax hair at all, let it dry naturally, and pick at the hair with a hair pic. Backcombing can also be done to the roots to help make hair even bigger.
An afro is a hair style that is only really possible with the naturally kinky texture of African American hair. Visit a black hair specialist to get an afro hairdo shaped. From there, you will need to comb the hair with a hair pick or wide-tooth comb daily to achieve the large, afro style. It is important to keep the scalp moisturized if you have an afro, otherwise with all of the combing and picking you are doing, hair can become damaged and potential hair loss could be an issue. Make sure to visit a salon every six to eight weeks to get your afro touched up so it retains its shape.
Dreadlocks are a popular style for both men and women. Forming dreadlocks takes a considerable amount of time; individuals who are interested in this hairstyle should be aware that the locks will stay in the hair for several months and they may need to be cut out to be removed.
Basically small locks of hair are twisted and formed using the hands and a small amount of hair product. Over time, the hair becomes more and more matted until permanent locks form in the hair. While everyday styling isn't necessary with this hair style, the locks still need to be washed, moisturized, and re-twisted.
Short Hair Styles
Many African American women choose to keep very short hairstyles.This is a great way for many women to combat the sometimes difficult nature of their hair without resorting to relaxers. Because black hair is naturally so kinky, when African American women have very short haircuts, they still have a little bit of volume around their head, which makes the cut appear less severe.
Even with very short hair proper maintenance and conditioning is essential. A deep conditioning treatment or an all natural oil, such as Moroccan oil, should be applied to the hair and the scalp at least twice a month. This will prevent the scalp from becoming overly dry or damaged and will keep the hair healthy.
Creating small, semi-tamed curls can be a beautiful natural look. To achieve these small curls, apply what is called a straw set. A straw set involves taking damp hair and curling it around a drinking straw. The hair is allowed to dry, and then small, natural-looking curls form. This is a much safer alternative to harsh heat styling and will help protect black hair from damage.
No matter how you achieve a curly look, it is important to use a moisturizing oil, such as Argan oil in the hair to keep it looking smooth and prevent flyaways from forming.
Cornrows are popular among both African American men and women. Cornrows are small braids that are plaited near the scalp. A variety of styles can be achieved with cornrows, from traditional styles that braid the entire head of hair, to more eccentric designs such as the one pictured.
When caring for cornrows it is important to apply a leave in moisturizer with SPF in it to the scalp each day. This type of product will keep the hair and the scalp healthy and moisturized while protecting exposed scalp from sunburn.
Natural African American hair is curly and kinky, and when the proper products are used, this hairstyle can be unique and gorgeous. Try cutting the hair shorter, to keep the ends of the hair healthy and achieve a look that will truly stand out.
When letting curls form naturally, wash the hair with a low-lather shampoo for curly hair. Once washed, dry by patting the hair with a paper towel or old t-shirt to soak up moisture. Then, flip the hair upside down and dry the hair with a diffuser while using your hands to scrunch the hair and encourage natural curls to form. Finish off this look with a styling cream that has a light hold to it to keep the curls looking fresh and under control all day long.
Two Strand Twists
Two strand twists are a popular natural hair look because they can be done on many different lengths of hair.
To create a two strand twist, decide how large you want the twists to be, and create a small vertical and horizontal part separating the hair to be twisted. Mist the hair lightly with water and apply a pomade. Pull the strand horizontally, left over right, until the twist is formed. Continue with the rest of the hair until twists are complete. Since they are similar to a braided style, some women wear them two weeks or more.
Many African American women resort to using relaxer treatments to get straight hair. However, relaxers are very damaging to the hair, and there are other ways to naturally get straight hair without these harmful treatments.
Wash and dry the hair as normal, and blow dry using a large flat brush and a blow dryer. You may have to dry each section of hair multiple times to achieve a smooth and straight look. Once the hair is dry, apply a moisturizing styling cream to the hair and use a flat iron, on low heat to smooth away apparent kinks in the hair. Finish the hair off with hair spray, and a medium hold, smoothing cream that will keep frizz from forming. Be prepared to reapply the cream to the hair often as flyways form.
Cornrows aren't the only type of braids that can be applied to the hair, there are many other types of braids that work with black hair as well. Micro braids are very popular with African American women. These braids can be applied to the entire head of hair, or just to the hair around the roots. Tree braids are another popular braid, and they are significantly larger than micro braids, such as the braids pictured.
No matter what natural style you choose for your African American hair, daily maintenance of your hair is essential to keeping your locks healthy. This is especially important for women who choose to braid their hair, as braided hair is often neglected and not washed or moisturized as often as they should be. For more information and pictures of different braid styles visit LoveToKnow's gallery of black braid styles.