Hair Skin Care Ethnic Hair

The population of the United States is comprised of people from many different countries. With so many people from countries all around the world living in one country, we get to see firsthand the way ethnicity impacts hair.

Ethnic Groups in the United States

There are many different ethnic groups in the United States. Some of the largest populations in America are:

  • African-American: a person whose origins are in any of the black racial groups of Africa
  • Asian-American: a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, the Indian subcontinent or Southeast Asia
  • Caucasian: a person whose origins are in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa
  • Latino or Hispanic: a person whose origin, regardless of race, is either Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central or South American
  • Native American or Alaskan Native: a person with origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America and who maintains tribal affiliation and/or who recognizes the community
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: a person whose origins are in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa or any of the other Pacific Islands.

While people of the same ethnicity won’t always have the same texture or color of hair, there are some generalizations that can be made about the hair of different ethnic groups.

For instance, Asians tend to have dark, straight hair that quickly absorbs and retains moisture. Latinos’ hair is often dark, coarse and thick and, therefore, is suitable to many hairstyles.

Your ethnicity and genes will have a large impact on the type of hair products you will need to use as well as the hair care steps you’ll need to follow.

African-American Hair and Hair Care Products

Despite the many ethnic groups in the United States, when people use the phrase “ethnic hair,” they are often referring to the hair of people of African ancestry. In general, the hair of African-Americans tends to be dark, coarse and curly. African-American hair also tends to be delicate and prone to damage.

Sometimes people get frustrated at the lack of hair care products available for African-American consumers. These days, however, more and more products for ethnic hair are popping up on the shelves of salons and drug stores, making caring for ethnic hair easier than ever.

African-American hair is generally tightly curled and often needs products that will add moisture as well as strengthen, repair and protect the hair from breakage. When caring for African-American hair, look for products that will add moisture and that will help protect, strengthen, condition and repair the hair.

Avoid hair care products that contain any of the following ingredients:

  • isopropyl alcohol, which can dry and break the hair
  • mineral oil, which coats the hair and prevents moisture from penetrating the hair strands
  • polyethylene glycol, which strips hair of moisture
  • propylene glycol, which can cause the protein in the hair to deteriorate
  • sodium lauryl sulfate, which can cause hair to lose moisture and can irritate the scalp.

Many companies make products specifically designed to care for ethnic hair. Look for them at your drug store or at a beauty supply shop.

Caring for African-American Hair

To keep ethnic hair looking its best, try the following:

  • Always use a high-quality conditioner after shampooing.
  • Instead of using a brush, use a wide-toothed comb.
  • Limit shampooing to just twice a week.
  • To reduce frizz, don’t vigorously rub your wet hair with a towel. Rather, dab at your hair with a towel.

Also, to prevent breakage and frizz, let your hair air-dry, if possible.

Resources

About, Inc. (2007). Current Official Racial and Ethnic Groups in American. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from the About.com Web site: http://racerelations.about.com/od/ahistoricalviewofrace/a/usracialclassif.htm.

AsiaMs.Net (1999-2007). Frankly: Truths and Myths about Our Hair. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from the AsianMs.Net Web site: http://asiams.net/Hair/Frankly/frankly.html.

Ciba Specialty Chemicals (2000-2007). Ethnic Hair Care – Coarse and tightly Curly Hair. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from the Ciba Web site: http://www.cibasc.com/index/ind-index/ind-per_car/ind-pc-cp/ind-pc-cp-ethnichaircare.htm.

Dyce, Brandon (n.d.). Hairstyles for Latino Guys. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from the AskMen.com Web site: http://www.askmen.com/fashion/fashiontip_300/333_fashion_advice.html.

eHow, Inc. (n.d.). How to Care for African American, Biracial or Ethnic Hair: Things to Avoid. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from the ehow.com Web site: http://www.ehow.com/how_2059484_biracial-ethnic-hair-things-avoid.html.

The African-American Registry (2005). Black hair care and culture, a story! Retrieved November 6, 2007, from the African-American Registry Web site: http://www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/2395/Black_hair_care_and_culture_a_story.