Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Afro Hair

Calling all afro babes! Whether you’re kinky, coiled or wavy, we’re here to get your curls in formation

At the end of January Pantene released Gold Series, their first line created specifically for the needs of afro hair – something it’s been secretly working on for the last fifteen years (how have they managed to keep schtum?). Turns out they were busy asking women in Nigeria, Brazil, the US and Kenya what they wanted most from a hair product. “We asked them what they felt was missing and what they thought their hair needed,” says Pantene Scientist Rolanda Wilkerson PhD.

What makes this range so revolutionary? Besides being a big, positive step in the right direction for the hair care industry, each ingredient is tailored to give your hair the perfect amount of moisture, whether it is naturally relaxed or transitioning.

Afro hair is weaker, more porous and therefore more prone to damage than Caucasian and Asian hair types. Exposure to heat, chemicals and even overzealous brushing causes breakage, so it’s important to do your upmost to protect and care for your hair using the right products.

Hydration and protein is key for keeping your strands soft and healthy. You should aim to use a weekly protein pack to increase elasticity, strengthen and rebuild. Use heat as little as possible, if you have to use a blow-dryer switch it down to a lower heat and save the straighteners for special occasions.

 

I want to leave my hair au naturel, how do I get defined curls with minimal frizz?

There’s a knack to crafting killer curls and it goes by the name of the LOC method. LOC stands for leave in conditioner, oil, cream, and is a curl crafting technique that gives your hair maximum moisture without weighing it down.

Step 1: After shampooing use your leave in product. It should be a nourishing formula that will hydrate and smooth each strand.

Step 2: Pick an oil depending on how porous/dry your hair is and apply a small amount throughout. This will lock in moisture.

Step 3: Seal everything in with a cream, this last step is important because oils often aren’t enough to leave your curls smooth and defined.

 

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Make some room for these worthy curl contenders in your bathroom cabinet

Big Hair Conditioning Clay Mask, £20

 

Cantu Shea Butter Natural Hair Coconut Curling Cream, £7.99

 

Mazuri Shea Butter Naturals Leave in Oil Moisturizer, £4.99

 

ORS Saw Palmetto Oil, £3.99

 

Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask, £32.80

 

Silke London Hair Wrap The Poppy, £45

 

So Long Shampoo

Ok, so we don’t mean sack it all together, but there are some things you can do to prevent your strands from becoming really parched…

 

Pre-pooing

Alchemy Grapefruit Hair Remedy, £24

Sounds hilarious, but the science behind it is actually pretty smart. A pre-poo is a treatment done before shampooing to help protect the hair against harsh SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) agents. Heat up your oil in a bowl of hot water and apply it all over before washing, It will work like a shield and stop the shampoo from stripping away moisture so your hair is softer, shinier and easier to manage. Cover with a cap for half an hour. If you’ve got time, sleep with the oil in and wash it out the next day – you’ll thank yourself tomorrow.

 

SLS Free

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen And Restore Shampoo, £13

All shampoos were not made equal. Sulphate free ones come up trumps because they’re less drying and so reduce frizz.

 

Co-Washing

Palmers Olive Oil Formula Cleansing Conditioner Co-wash, £5.99

Cleansing conditioners are basically curly girls answer to shampoo. They’re thicker, more moistursing and don’t strip hair of its natural oils so your hair feels smoother and softer. You should be using one more often than your regular shampoo. Apply a hefty amount (between 5 and 8 pumps), massage in for about five minutes and rinse. Repeat if your hair feels like it needs a more thorough clean. Alternate it with a clarifying shampoo to prevent product build up.

 

Plan Ahead

Shampoo your hair a few days before a big event. Curls look best after being left for a few days to form. You’ll have less frizz and a more consistent shape… plus more time on your hands for pre-party prep.

 

Twist Tips

We spoke to Pak Cosmetics Ambassador and Digital influencer Simone Powderly @hairissimba for tips on the best ways to maintain your mane.

  1. Wash your curls with shampoo once a week and co-wash about every 3 days.
  2. Only detangle your hair when it’s wet and soaked in a conditioner.
  3. Use your leave in product while your hair is still wet/damp
  4. Make sure you properly section your hair before applying any product
  5. Always sleep with a silk pillow or wear a head wrap.
  6. To refresh my curls I’ll spritz on Mazuri’s Shea Butter Naturals Leave-In Oil Moisturiser, £4.99