Black Hair is Fragile Hair

Nowadays, there are masses of websites springing up offering black hair care advice from washing, to twisting, to relaxing. Suddenly everyone is an expert. We find product junkies telling us what to buy. Fanatics blogging about their hair care regimes. Books urging you to spend. Groups urging you to share. It is never ending and no wonder we get confused. Everyones' mane is different.

Factors such as lifestyle, health, genetics, environment, porosity will all affect the end results. Simply put, what works for me will not necessarily work for you. So if you want to save time and money, read on, I will tell you the facts about highly textured afro hair according to the research.

The Research
Dating back to the earliest recordings of black hair care, a variety of methods for managing this hair were adopted. Documentation highlights the use of hot stones; potatoes; lard, and lye, up to modern day methods. But why is afro hair so fragile?

Research shows that essentially while Caucasian, Asian, African hair have the same make-up, the structure of the proteins in black hair differ somewhat. Proteins are the building blocks of hair, providing rigidity, elasticity and strength. Together with water, these determine the overall mechanical properties. However, with afro there are three points worth bearing in mind.

African American hair consists of a reduced percentage of cystine, a protein synonymous with the hair diseases where the hair is extremely fragile and frays.

Black hair proteins are also laid down in an irregular fashion. This occurs deep inside the follicle bulb within the scalp and also determines the tightness of the curl. Basically, the tighter the curl, the weaker the hair. In addition, this irregularity creates weak spots all along the shaft of the hair.

Ellipsoid Follicles
Black hair grows from ellipsoidal follicles as opposed to the oval shape of Caucasian/Asian hair. In essence this means that the stresses working over the hair also attribute to splitting.

As you can see, Type 4B hair is designed primarily to grow outwards for protection, not downwards.
However there are many methods for combatting the fragility.

For example, conditioners can help enhance the texture and appearance. These contain many ingredients for example hydrolyzed proteins, such as wheat protein that have been shown through studies to penetrate the shaft and help strengthen hair. A healthy, balanced diet containing omega-3 oils, sufficient proteins and plenty of water will also give you a head-start.

Follow Sonia Evelyn as she shares her knowledge as an expert writer in the field of hair breakage and natural black hair care. For a free article that provides further facts on hair care products, click Black Hair Care Rules and further reading at


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