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How to Cure Rough and Dry Afro Hair

author image M.H. Dyer
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.
How to Cure Rough and Dry Afro Hair
Drink several glasses of water every day to keep your hair hydrated. Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

Healthy Afro hair is beautiful. However, Afro hair tends to be fragile, porous, dry and prone to damage, partly because the coiled structure of African-American hair prevents oil from spreading evenly through the hair. The problems become more pronounced if the hair is heat-styled or overprocessed. Curing rough, dry hair requires a regimen that adds oil to the hair, while minimizing damage and preserving the hair's natural oils.

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Step 1

Treat rough, dry hair to a hot oil treatment once every week, using a product with natural oils such as shea butter or olive oil. Apply the hot oil to the hair, then cover the hair with a plastic cap. Sit under a warm dryer for 15 to 20 minutes, or wrap your head with a warm towel. Wash your hair thoroughly to remove the oil.

Step 2

Massage a light, leave-in conditioning oil into your hair every day. Use a natural oil such as jojoba, shea butter, royal jelly or coconut oil. Avoid products containing mineral oil or petroleum jelly, which clog the pores and dry the hair.

Step 3

Wash your hair once a week, using a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo. Afro hair is naturally dry, and shampooing more often strips its oils and dries the hair further. Also, too-frequent shampooing prevents natural oils to coat the entire hair shaft. Avoid shampoos containing sulfates, which also tend to dry the hair.

Step 4

Condition your hair each time you shampoo, using a moisturizing, protein-based conditioner containing amino acids, panthenol or hydrolyzed proteins. Massage the conditioner through the hair. Be sure to coat the ends, which are most prone to damage.

Step 5

Rinse your hair with water following exercise, as rinsing adds moisture and prevents buildup of salt and sweat.

Step 6

Comb your hair with a large-tooth comb, because small teeth can break the hair. If your hairstyle requires a part, use a rat-tail comb. Brush your hair with a natural bristle brush, which is gentler and less damaging to hair.

Step 7

Protect your hair by wearing a scarf or cap at night, or sleep on a satin pillowcase. Otherwise, rubbing when you move during the night may cause broken hair and split ends.

Step 8

Trim your hair regularly to remove dry, split ends. Many stylists recommend a trim every six to eight weeks, but close-cropped hair may need a trim as often as every four weeks.

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