Q: I have very thick, curly hair. I am racially mixed so my hair is very unlike most people's hair. Do you have any tips or ideas that
can help me control my hair?
A: Most women who are racially mixed feel that they have both the best and worst hair traits from each ethnicity. While not quite as coarse as
purely ethnic hair, they do have masses of curl, but the hair tends to dry out easily and can be frizzy and hard to manage. Here are a few tips
to help you tend to your curls.
First of all, don't over-shampoo. In these modern times, we are taught that we should shampoo frequently, and
many people shampoo their hair daily. However, unless your lifestyle leads you to sweat a lot or get a lot of dirt in your hair - or you use a
LOT of product in your hair - you generally don't need to shampoo every day. In fact, most racially-mixed women can get by with shampooing only
once per week at most, and may even be able to wait a month between shampoos.
And when shampooing, be sure to use a gentle shampoo that is rich in moisture and protein-building
ingredients. Avoid products that contain heavy oils and sheen products, as well as those that are designed to "clarify" the hair. The former will
only weigh down your hair, while the latter will dry it out. A good method of shampooing for mixed hair is to take a squeeze bottle (available at
your local beauty supply store) such as is usually used for applying haircolor, pour in one part mild shampoo (such as baby shampoo) and three
parts water. Shake the bottle well and apply the solution at the scalp. Massage the scalp until the solution foams, then rinse thoroughly.
The one thing that women must do EVERY DAY is to condition their hair. A rinse-through conditioner is usually
sufficient to remove daily oil, dirt and build-up. On days when you do shampoo, be sure to condition especially well. Look for conditioners
containing products like tea tree oil, jojoba, shae butter, and fruit essences like mango and coconut. These are all light, moisture-rich and
will help to keep the hair smooth. Apply the conditioner to the hair starting at a point two to three inches from the scalp and work your way
down to the ends then comb the conditioner through the hair with a wide-tooth comb for even distribution. Allow it to sit on the hair the
recommended length of time (on the package) and rinse thoroughly.
Dry the hair by squeezing it with a towel to remove the excess moisture. For styling, apply a smoothing,
anti-frizz serum to the hair while it is still damp and comb it through the hair evenly. If you want extra hold and definition for your curls
try using a spray gel (one that does not contain alcohol) and run your fingers through the curls to distribute.
Allow the hair to air-dry naturally, or if you need to dry it more quickly use a diffuser attachment on a
blow-dryer on the lowest heat setting. Just don't over-dry the hair.