Afro American Hair Style

Afro - American Hair Style

Forget the fairy tales. Neither cutting hair by the full moon nor the touch of magic hands nor applying a "miracle product" will make hair grow faster or longer than God intended. In fact, much about your hair--length, density and texture--is predetermined by DNA, the nucleic-acid formulas in cells that form the molecular basis of heredity. But with proper care and maintenance your hair can reach its lengthiest potential.

Why long hair? A sister with long hair is bound to turn heads. Joanne Cornwell, Ph.D., chair of Africana Studies at San Diego State University in California, our desire for length is probably influenced by messages we receive from the predominant European-based standards of beauty. "American culture has always associated beauty and femininity with long hair," says Cornwell. But in many African cultures hair denotes much more. "It tells your personal story--whether you are single or married, just had a child or is in mourning," she adds. Before you embark on the lengthy journey of growing long hair, examine your motives. What does it represent to you? "Hair should complement a woman's beauty," says Bill Lawrence of the Bill Lawrence Salon in Washington, D.C. "It shouldn't be what defines it."

How it grows Hair grows about a third to a half inch per month, in three stages--anagen (growth), catagen (resting) and tilogen (shedding). Dread-locks appear to grow longer and faster, but the growth cycle is not altered by the locking process. It "grows" long because the lock retains hair that would normally be shed.

Stunted Growth: The health of hair and scalp reflects the body producing it. Brian Thompson, a trichologist and director of product development at Philip Kingsley Trichological Centre, says opt for a good diet over megadoses of vitamins. "Hair needs energy and building materials--proteins and complex carbohydrates."

There may be far more than 100,000 hairs on your head, and you may lose between 50 and 100 a day, says Nashville dermatologist Dr. Denise M. Buntin. If you are losing more than that, or your hair doesn't grow at all, there may be a serious problem. Oral contraceptives, hormone-replacement therapy and medications for high blood pressure, depression, ulcers and cancer have been known to affect the growth of hair. So do systemic disorders, like lupus and hypo- and hyperthyroidism, and even crash diets. "When we are suspicious about clients' hair loss, we send them to their physician for a full check-up," says Thompson. "With their results we can pinpoint conditions, such as low iron, that affect the hair's health."

Breaking bad habits: Before assistant prosecutor Andrea Carter began making the biweekly journey from her New Jersey office to Lila's beauty salon in Harlem five years ago, her hair kept breaking off. She says, "I used to use a curling iron daily and have my relaxer touch-up every four weeks." Carter, like many sisters, couldn't understand why her hair wasn't getting longer. She didn't realize she was destroying her hair with thermal, mechanical and chemical abuse. Our hair comes in various textures, but it tends to be porous, as well as curly and elliptical, and is more vulnerable to damage than Caucasian or Asian hair.

Olive Benson of Olive's Solon in Boston believes stylists help perpetuate the cycle of destruction by using too-strong relaxers. Then they often follow up by using a curling iron from an uncontrollable heat source that literally burns off the ends. Another offense, says John Atchinson, owner of eponymous salons in New York and L.A., comes from stylists who, trying to give hair a straight, silky-smooth finish, stretch it with a round brush and a blow-dryer. Through healthier hair-grooming techniques--regular trims, relaxing less and opting for wet sets over blow-drying--Carter achieved more length. "My hair is much healthier now, and it hasn't been this long since before college," she says. Now I only use a curling iron in an emergency."

"Although hair products cannot grow hair [except minoxidil, a prescription solution that stimulates growth], they can create an environment that promotes the growth of healthy hair by minimizing breakage, optimizing moisturization and shine and strengthening hair," says Barry Williams, Soft Sheen Products' senior research chemist. Tress-saving tactics keep hair at its optimal best by working these hair-care practices into your grooming routine:

Keep the scalp clean. You don't need to "grease" it with heavy pomades or coat it with lacquer sprays that can clog pores.

Wash hair as needed, once every week or two, depending on your lifestyle.

Use a pressing cream instead of an oil to avoid frying hair.

Stimulate your scalp nightly: Use a large paddle brush or knead it with your fingertips.
Breakage minimizes to protect hair ends:

Always shampoo in the shower for easier detangling.

Choose a detangling comb to accommodate your hair's thickness. The thicker it is, the wider the teeth should be. When detangling hair, always start from the ends and work to the root.

1 comment:

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