Black hair in its natural state is fragile so parents must know how to handle their kids’ tresses. Case in point: African-American hair structure tends to make hair dry, which causes decreased elasticity. The result is dry, brittle hair that’s breakage prone. That means to keep their kids’ hair healthy, parents must keep black locks clean and moisturized. Below are some tips to help parents do just that:

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Wash hair with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner once each week. While washing, gently massage the scalp to increase circulation. To avoid damage from excessive washing, skip the shampoo and use only conditioner and warm water. (Excessive washing can strip the hair of its natural oils causing dry, weak hair.)

Condition to the Root

Treat hair to a deep condition each month. Place the product on hair and apply a heating cap on the head for 15 to 30 minutes. (Moist heat opens the pores, allowing the product to deeply penetrate the hair follicle.) Then rinse hair.

Blot to Dry

Dry hair by blotting away excess water with a towel. Never rub the hair with a towel, advises Doing so causes friction, which results in breakage and tangling. Use a wide-tooth comb to smooth out any tangles. To detangle, start at the end of the hair and work your way up the shaft. If you choose to blow-dry, apply a heat protectant product first.

Relaxing the Roots

If children have relaxed hair, have a professional stylist touch up roots (new growth) every six to eight weeks. (Failing to touch up the roots can lead to breakage where new growth and relaxed hair meets.) Only a professional stylist should apply a relaxer because the product can cause severe and irreversible damage to the hair and scalp if done incorrectly.

Styling Kids

Apply a moisturizer before styling the hair. Avoid using too-tight rubber bands or hair accessories with metal pieces because they can cause breakage. Wrap your child’s hair with a satin scarf at night. This preserves the style and helps hair retain moisture.

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