Skin & hair care tips for Black men
By Ellis Rodgers, BDO Staff Writer
It’s a common assumption that men, in general, are unconcerned about their hair and skin care problems, but that’s not always true. Since hair is such a big part of your appearance, keeping it well maintained is important.
Following the simple guidelines below will put you on your way to a vibrant looking head of hair.
Ingrown Hairs & Razor Bumps
If quality products for African American skin care are difficult to find, Black men’s skin care is almost impossible to find. It’s important to find products formulated to meet common needs most Black men share like the need for added moisture, additional oil and problems with Pseudofolliculitis Barbae aka Razor Bumps.
For a Black man, shaving can be a particularly painful task. It has been reported that 60-80 percent of Black men suffer from razor bumps, at least to some degree. Other ethnic men suffer from these as well.
So what’s a brother who prefers to go beardless supposed to do?
The easiest solution would be to cut down the number of times you shave, but this is not always possible. Aside from that you can use a single- blade razor or clippers to cut the hair short above the skin. Keep skin moisturized and shave the beard in the same direction that the hairs are growing. Many men shave against the grain, which is incorrect. Have a barber “map” your face. Face mapping determines the direction in which you should shave so that it’s consistent with beard growth.
In terms of products, acids and alcohol are damaging to hair and skin and need to be avoided. Stick with products that include high-quality vitamins and oils that are friendly to your skin.
Try Black Opal’s Anti-Bump Shave System: Formulated with powerful exfoliators nourishing Vitamins and moisturizing botanicals anti-bump helps clear up razor bumps and stops new ingrown hairs from forming; or Barc, because it was specifically designed to help pre-vent shaving bumps for men of darker skin tones.
Dandruff & Your Scalp
Dandruff is the clear indicator that you have a dry scalp. A dry scalp makes it much harder to get waves. Dandruff can be caused by washing hair too much and stripping it of its natural oils too much or not washing it enough and it is also caused by not oiling/moisturizing the scalp. Waves will be easier to obtain if your scalp is moisturized and soft so waves can be formed easier than having a dry hard scalp. Keep your scalp moisturized but don’t put too much grease or moisturizer because this can clog the pores in your scalp and cause acne.
Your hair needs to be moisturized daily, whether you shampooed or not, to replenish hydration that is lost through dry conditions or indoor heating. Simple oil can be applied to the roots of your hair to make your hair look softer and help you avoid flakes and dry scalp. Try sweet almond or coconut oil; apply a little to your fingertips and run your hands through your hair to distribute evenly. Apply a little oil each day, especially when your hair feels dry or brittle to the touch.
Choose a Style
Choose a hairstyle that speaks to you and works with your face shape. Shaving your head is one option, as is cutting it close to the scalp with clippers and. If you prefer a more ethnic look, hairstyles like a ‘fro, dreads, or braids can give you a low maintenance look that gives you a more individual style, but if you’re going to go that route, understand it requires some work! You don’t want to be a slave to your style, so choose something that is easy to maintain and that won’t need a lot of upkeep.
Choosing products that are specifically made for you can help you get healthier, better looking hair and skin. Most retail products readily available in drugstores are formulated for the smoother hair shafts of other ethnicities. Look for products free of alcohol and other drying ingredients and rich in oils and moisturizers. You may find that shopping at a beauty supply store or neighborhood barber shop will yield you a greater array of products you need
One should never brush the hair while it is wet. The brush puts strain on the hair that can damage the follicles and cause early breakage and damage. This can seriously slow the natural growth of the hair. Even dry, one should use a wide toothed comb when styling the hair, if longer. This puts less stress on the strands and leads to less breakage.
A hard brush should mostly used for achieving deeper waves. To simply lay your hair down, a soft brush will do the trick, as it controls those random hairs that tend to stick up. A medium brush does a little bit of both. Try brands such as Diane, Annie, and Wave Encorcer.
There are tons of moisturizers out there but it’s best to experiment with different products to see what works the best with your hair texture. Remember — the more natural, the better. Cream of Nature, Olive Creme, Carrot Creme, and Motions Moisturizer are common uses. Be on the lookout for products containing shea butter, coconut oil, or olive oil.
Pomades and Greases
These are mainly used just for hold and definition, but pomades are a bit unhealthy for your hair due to the fact that they contain petroleum. If you do use products such as Indian Hemp, Doo Gro, Sportin Waves, Dax etc., make sure that you don’t use too much or else you’ll find yourself dealing with clogged pores and caking.
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