When it comes to comes to natural hair, what is most difficult for many naturals is trying to keep it moisturized. Moisture is actually more difficult to retain in coily, curly, and kinky textured natural hair. The spiral shaped strands make it harder for the natural oils that our hair produces (called sebum), to reach the entirety of our hair strands. This is nothing to be discouraged about, it’s just that natural hair requires a little more TLC – but the results are always worth it.
Porosity, or your hair’s ability to absorb moisture, is another factor in how long you are able to keep your hair moisturized. Low porosity hair is slower to absorb moisture, but can retain it for longer. High porosity hair can absorb moisture really quickly, but can lose it just as fast. You can read more about hair porosity and its importance here.
The products you use and any hair damage you may have, also play a role in how your hair is able to retain moisture. Luckily, there are an abundance of methods, products, and even hairstyles that can help to alleviate dryness in natural hair.
Here is how to keep natural hair moisturized for days:
1. Deep condition more frequently
Deep conditioning serves many healthful benefits for your natural hair. It helps to restore moisture, softness, and strength back into your strands. Incorporating deep conditioning into your regimen can greatly benefit your hair long-term. If you already do deep condition, say once a month, try to increase it to bi-weekly.
If you deep condition once a week already, it may be the particular product you are using that is ineffective. Look for a deep conditioner that consists of a combination of moisturizing and stimulating ingredients – honey, shea butter, essential oils, other natural extracts, etc. Ingredients like these, also found in this deep conditioner here, help to replenish and retain moisture as well as gradually strengthen your strands.
2. Use the right sealants
A sealant is what helps to lock in the moisture that you have applied onto your hair. Sealants can come in the form of oils, creams or butters, and leave-in conditioners. They can also play an important part in why your hair is or isn’t able to stay moisturized. For instance, wetting your hair and applying only a styling gel isn’t going to do anything for moisture. Most gels do not contain that many moisture retaining ingredients. Applying a leave-in conditioner and an oil as a sealant, and then your styling gel will lead to softer, more longer moisturized results.
To add, a sealant must be used in order to retain moisture. Simply wetting your hair with water without applying a sealant, is going to cause the water to eventually evaporate and possibly lead to even drier hair. Sealants will capture and hold in the water – after all, our hair is at its most moisturized state when fully wet.
For those with thinner, or low-density “fine-textured” hair, the less-heavy your sealant should be. This includes oils (lightweight oils), sprays, and easy slip leave-in conditioners. For thicker, coarser hair textures, the thicker/heavier your sealant should be. Creams and butters will become your best friend.
3. Moisturize your hair more often
The longer you go without moisturizing your natural hair, the more difficult it will be to restore and keep moisture in your strands. However, the more often you moisturize your hair, the more manageable and longer moisturized it will be. At night time, make it a habit to moisturize your hair. Simply spritz with water, apply a leave-in, and then an oil. Next, just twist up each section. As you do this habitually, you will notice a change in your hair for the better.
4. Protective styles help!
Not only do protective styles help to prevent breakage at the ends of your hair, these styles can help to keep your natural hair moisturized for days. Twists and braids help to “lock-in” your leave-in products and prevent tangles without causing too much manipulation. These styles also make it more easier to thoroughly apply product directly to the ends of your hair which are most prone to dryness and breakage. Protective styling is especially helpful after doing the L.C.O. or L.O.C. methods.
5. Use the right products
A natural hair product that is moisturizing should contain mostly natural extracts as opposed to chemically formulated ingredients. Many synthetic ingredients that are found in some hair products can often times cause excess build-up, which prevents moisture applied to the hair from being fully absorbed. Beneficial and conditioning ingredients include jojoba oil, honey, aloe vera, and shea butter, just to name a few.
Using the right products also includes being aware of a products intended use. For example, a styling gel is meant for defining your curl pattern. It is not going to provide lasting moisture to your hair, as gels often times contain alcohols that can be drying. So, if you are going to use a gel, again make sure to use a leave-in conditioner beforehand to hold as much moisture as possible.
6. Check for hair damage
Any hair damage you may have can definitely play a role in how well your hair is able to retain moisture. For instance, high porosity hair can absorb moisture very quickly, but can lose it just as quickly. This is because of how raised the hair cuticle is – commonly due to heat damage, chemical use, etc. If you have pieces of hair that have straight ends, or are a significantly looser curl pattern than the rest of your hair, this may be damage. These damaged pieces will not be able to retain moisture as well, and will eventually need to be trimmed.
What are your favorite moisturizing products for your natural hair?