Natural African-American hair requires four essential nutrients: oil, moisture, vitamins and protein, according to Diane Carol Bailey, author of Natural Hair Care and Braiding. Oil adds lustre and protects the hair from harsh weather conditions, while moisture maintains suppleness and softness. Vitamins and minerals are important as they improve the quality and growth of your hair, and protein strengthens the hair and stimulates scalp circulation, which leads to faster growth.
Shampoo your hair every three to four days. Natural black hair does not need to be shampooed daily due to the slower process of oil production. Your scalp produces oil at a slower rate than other hair types, which means overwashing can strip your hair of sebum, a natural oil that coats your hair, according to Bailey. Textured hair needs a mild shampoo that won't leave the hair feeling squeaky clean, as the squeaky feeling means the hair has been stripped of sebum.
Follow up with conditioner. Your hair must be conditioned after shampooing in order to maintain and improve moisture. There are several different types of conditioners including instant conditioners, protein conditioners and moisturising conditioners. Instant conditioners are quick fixes for hair that looks dry and dull. According to Bailey instant conditioners often provide little nutrition and may have waxes or detergents that can harm the hair. Protein and moisturising conditioners are suitable for your hair, as protein conditioners help seal split ends and increase elasticity. Moisturising conditioners have humectants to absorb and seal water into the hair shaft, which keeps the hair moisturised and provides a non-greasy shine.
Protein and moisturising conditioners should be left in the hair for 20 minutes for thorough absorption. Rinse out the conditioner and apply a leave-in conditioner.
Oil your scalp daily. Because your hair and scalp produce sebum at a slower rate you are more susceptible to dry scalp and hair breakage. Daily scalp moisturising can help prevent this from happening by providing your hair shea butter, a non-greasy butter that conditions dry, damaged hair, according to Bailey. Shea butter also protects the hair from ultraviolet rays that can dry out your hair. Squeeze a dime-sized amount of hair lotion in your palms, rub your hands together and massage the lotion into your hair and scalp daily.
Take a multi-vitamin that provides vitamin C, E and B-12 to assist in speedy hair growth.