Words by Brian Wilder

Let’s face it: there are certain characteristics about black hair that tends to set us apart from, well, the rest of society. We’re made a little different, and sometimes it shows most in our hair and skin. It’s because of this fact there are a few extra things we need to consider when taking care of one of our most definitive—sometimes divisive—traits.

Curl Patterns Make the Difference

blackRemember all that time you spent in high school, “training” your hair by brushing it for hours a day, just to get the perfect set of waves? Essentially, you were doing more harm than help by forcing your natural curl pattern to take an unnecessary detour. Your hair’s natural curl pattern can affect everything from the types of haircuts you get to the frequency in which you shave your face. Embracing the way your hair grows naturally will go a long way toward establishing a look that works specifically for you.

Moisture Maketh Man

Regardless of where your ancestors descended from, if you hair’s even a bit curly, it’s going to need more moisture than most. There’s a reason why mom kept bottle after bottle of Luster’s Pink or Soft Sheen on deck somewhere in the house: no one was about to be allowed out with a dry scalp and crunchy hair. Period. Come to grips with the fact that there’s more you’ll have to do, daily, to keep your hair on point and the rest will fall into place.

Some Assembly Required

blackAs much as you’d like to be the throw-product-in-your-hair-and-call-it-a-day kind of dude, that’s just not in the cards for you, my guy. More often than not, there’s a whole process that will (and hopefully does) take place every time you face yourself in the bathroom mirror: oils, combs, brushes, butters, razors and more all get a daily workout, but sometimes it takes effort to look good, so embrace it.

Take Care

There’s also a lot you’ll have to consider when it’s finally time to venture out into the world. Humidity, sun, extreme wind or cold, pollutants and even pollen can all have a negative effect on the status of your hair. It helps to keep a small bottle of moisturizer, oil blotting sheets and a travel-sized comb to help maintain king status throughout the day.

Keep the Kinks

blackOnce a major source of insecurity, the natural kinks, curls, knots and naps that make up our hair are quickly becoming prime targets for culture vultures everywhere. Try to refrain from any chemical-based relaxers and hair softeners that can strip your hair’s natural protective properties and leave your hairline ass-out well before it ever should.

There’s already enough stress with being a person of color in this world, so there’s no reason why you need to stress out about the things you simply can’t change when it comes to your hair. It was designed to do what it does, the way it does, regardless of how you or others may feel about it.