How to Manage Thick, Coarse African-American Hair

by Nakia Jackson ; Updated September 28, 2017

Styles that work with your curls will stay in place with less maintenance than straight styles.

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Dense, tightly curled hair can seem invulnerable, because it resists combing and may be difficult to straighten. It can be tempting to treat your hair harshly if it's thick, tightly curled or coarse. But each twist of a curl is a weak spot, which means that your hair is more fragile than it seems. African-American hair becomes even more fragile when processed with strong chemicals or styled with heat. To keep African-American hair healthy and manageable, gentle handling will yield much better results than trying to process your hair into submission.


  • If your hair is straightened with heat, talk to your stylist about using water on your hair at home. Your stylist may have alternative recommendations for washing or moisturizing your hair.

    Try hair care products with silicone if you use heat to style your hair. Ingredients that end in the suffix -cone are silicone products.

    Choosing the right hair care regimen is a process of trial and error, but recommendations from a stylist who has worked with your hair, or someone else with your hair type, can be helpful.

    You will probably need more product than package directions recommend. Adjust product amounts according to how your hair looks and feels after using.

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About the Author

Nakia Jackson has written for online publications since 2006, including columns for Sadie Magazine, Naseeb and Muslim Wake Up!. She has written on religion and beauty, crafts and music. Jackson's expertise stems from personal experience and her years at Berklee College of Music, pursuing a Bachelor of Music.