Although taking care of your hair should be a priority for all men, black men have to keep a few extra hair care tips in mind. For one, to have good scalp health you have to balance clean hair with moisturized hair.
One of the most frequently asked questions: How often should a black man wash his hair? The answer is far less often than you would likely guess.
Most shampoos are not formulated for black hair. Since afro hair is different than European hair you will need to avoid hair drying products that will strip the natural oil from your hair.
Fortunately – we’re here to help.
How Often Should a Black Man Wash their Hair
While the ideal frequency is driven by a few questions: How long is your hair? Do you have dreadlocks? Is the person’s scalp dry or do they suffer from dry skin?
Your barber or hairdresser can give you personalized advice, but following a few tips for your hair makes haircare easy. You should shampoo natural black hair no more than 1-2 times a week. Overuse will expose your hair to too much SLS, unless you are using natural shampoos formulated to avoid the skin damage that comes with harsh chemicals.
The harsh chemicals in shampoo will wash away the natural oils and are especially bad for those with short natural hair.
Why Washing Your Hair Too Often Is Bad
While our friends of European blood may be able to wash their hair everyday, that is a no-go for African-Americans.
For one, people of recent African descent often suffer from dry skin. We also have curls in our hair that make it more difficult for the natural oil to travel down our hair than straight, long hair.
Most regular shampoos contain something called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This is a problem for black men because sulfate shampoos can strip our too much of the natural hair oil that you need for healthy hair. This makes your hair dry and unhealthy.
SLS is particularly bad for those with natural curls or sensitive skin, and the American Academy of Dermatology has gone as far to recommend sulfate-free shampoo for those with certain types of sensitive or dry skin. When black men wash their hair they should follow this advice to avoid products with SLS.
See the video below for recommendations for sulfate free shampoo:
Focus shampoo on the scalp. Your main focus in washing your hair is cleaning the scalp.
Use conditioner after every shampoo. Unless you are using a “2-in-1” shampoo mixed with conditioner, you want to use conditioner after every time you wash your hair. For those with longer hair, make sure to focus conditioner on the tips of your hair.
Use shampoos and conditioners formulated for your hair type. There are specific conditioners meant for 4C or black hair – you should use them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Wash Braids or Locs?
The longer and more styled your hair, the less you should wash it. We always recommend those with dreads and cornrows to talk to their sylist about a specific recommendation for their hair.
While keeping longer hair styles clean is just as important as longer hair styles, you also have to be mindful of not unwinding your hair. This is especially important in the first month or so of starting locs.
How Often Should A Black Man Condition His Hair
The short answer is at least every time you wash your hair. A better answer is that you should think about using a moisturizing conditioner on your hair more often than you wash it.
Because shampoos often have drying ingredients like sulfates, petroleum and alcohol you need the moisturizing ingredients that many of the best shampoos have. If you notice that your hair is dryer than normal, you should consider using a leave-in conditioner. You should also upgrade your conditioner to a deep conditioner.
A good leave in conditioner will hydrate your hair and prevent hair breakage.
I would also recommend pairing your conditioner with a shampoo that includes moisturizing ingredients to get the most hydrating experience possible when they wash their hair.
How often should a black man moisturize his hair?
Every. Single. Day.
Black men should moisturize your hair everyday, as black hair tends to dry out throughout the day. This goes double for those who live in dry climates or who spend a large chunk of their days in air conditioned building. In either case, you want to be sure to hydrate your scal Two tips to consider:
Use a little conditioner at least once a week.
Layer a water-based moisturizer with an oil based moisturizer. My go to is to use a hydrating creme moisturizer like the Curl Cream from Bevel, and then top my hair off with coconut oil or argan oil.
This extra effort will be a starting measure to keep your hair soft and hydrated.
What hair styling products should black men use?
When you choose hair products you should keep two things in mind:
Most of the products are not formulated for black hair; and
Most products contain grease better suited to laying down straight hair.
Do not buy any products with these ingredients:
Sulfates (especially SLS)
Buy products specifically formulated for either curly or dry hair. This will help you avoid products containing mineral oil, petroleum, or alcohols that lead to hair breaking.
Focus on using natural products filled with natural ingredients.