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How Do I Care for Straight Thick Hair?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 21, 2024
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Caring for straight thick hair can present challenges, especially when it comes to shampooing. In most cases, it is best to shampoo thick hair every other day or even less frequently, as this helps to keep the hair healthy. When washing, concentrate shampoo on the roots of your hair and conditioner on the ends. Letting your hair air dry for as long as you can prior to styling it can significantly cut down on the amount of time that you have to spend caring for your hair and to how much heat it is exposed. Getting regular trims and having your hair cut by someone who understands the challenges of straight thick hair will help to keep your locks manageable and easier to care for.

In general, the thicker your hair is, the less you should wash it. Even if you use the gentlest shampoo available, any cleanser will strip the natural oils from your hair, which help to keep your locks soft, healthy, and shiny. For most people, shampooing every other day is a good balance between keeping your hair clean and not over-washing it. Depending on your hair type and activity level, you may even be able to go three to four days between washings. On days when you don’t shampoo, you can either use powder hair cleaning products to freshen up your hair, or rinse it with water to remove any excess product build-up.

One of the most important parts of caring for straight thick hair is to wash it correctly. Shampoo should always be worked into the roots and upper third of your hair, never the ends. The ends of your hair are naturally delicate, especially in longer hair, and applying shampoo to this area can increase frizziness and damage. When you rinse your hair, the shampoo will naturally run through the ends of your locks, gently cleansing them without causing damage.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, conditioner should always be applied to the lower third of your hair, and only lightly applied to the root area or not at all. Your scalp naturally produces conditioning oils at the roots, and adding extra conditioner to this area can weigh your hair down. After shampooing, apply a healthy coat of conditioner to the ends of your hair and let it sit for five to ten minutes so that your hair can soak up the extra moisture.

As your hair is naturally straight, you have the unique benefit of being able to limit heat styling. Letting your hair air dry as much as possible prior to using a flat iron for smoothness or a curling iron for texture helps to limit the amount of heat to which your hair is exposed. Heat is one of the most common causes of damaged hair, and can make your ends look unsightly. Even if you need a blow-dryer to smooth flyaways, letting your straight thick hair air dry will not only cut down on your drying time, which is a common concern for those with very thick hair, but also the damage that the dryer will do to your hair.

Like any hair type, one of the most important parts of caring for thick, straight hair is to have the dead ends cut off regularly. A trim every four to six weeks will help to prevent any split ends from splitting further up your hair shaft, keeping your locks strong, healthy, and shiny. Having an experienced stylist cut your hair into a style that suits your unique texture, face shape, and lifestyle will help to make caring for your straight thick hair easier. In general, some type of layering will help to add shape to your hair without reducing its natural volume.

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Discussion Comments
By Heavanet — On Feb 13, 2014

Straight, thick hair is easy to care for as long as you don't want it to be curly. Simply get a great cut, and find the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair type.

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