It's no secret that ethnic hair seems completely different from the hair of other ethnicities. As Chris Rock's documentary, Good Hair, highlighted for the world, black women spend enormous amounts of time and money to maintain their hair. But why?? In most cases, the answer is not vanity. Ethnic hair requires special products and techniques for these 3 reasons:
Reason 1: Kinks, coils, and curls
Doctors and cosmetic scientists have studied ethnic hair in depth over the past decade. They have found that natural hair of "African descent" is special because it is uniquely kinky and fragile. It's not "nappy", it's extremely curly and coily. Any type of curly hair experiences dryness because natural oil from the scalp can't travel down the hair shaft to keep it moisturized. There are just too many "bumps in the road". The kinks on each strand make ethnic hair drier than other hair types.
Reason 2: Curly and coily hair is fragile.
Hair is made up of keratin (the same type of protein found in your skin). Naturally curly hair with no chemical treatments and no heat-related damage is relatively strong, but still weaker than straight hair. The kinks in each curl make the hair porous and prone to damage. Once you start washing, drying, combing, relaxing, coloring, and heating curly hair, it starts to get very weak, very quickly. Hair that is weak eventually splits or breaks off instead of reaching its longest length. The damage accumulates with every process and because ethnic hair is dry and fragile by nature, it starts breaking as quickly as it grows. An inch gained at the root plus an inch lost at the end, perpetually keeps damaged hair the same length.
Reason 3: "Extremely Curly" to "Perfectly Straight" is not easy.
It's been a long time since the Cosby women were on primetime showcasing the beauty of natural hair. Since the mid '90s, straight hairstyles have dominated African American culture and entertainment. Unfortunately, many black women achieve that "perfectly straight" look by using relaxers and extreme heat (over 350°F). That combination would lead to damage for any hair type, but it is especially tough on black hair. Feel free to embrace whatever style makes you feel beautiful. Just remember that your hair requires high-quality products and gentle care at all times.