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the moisturizing masterbook (courtesy of j), part 2

• Feb 7, 2009

click here for part 1

HUMECTANTS: substances used to attract and bind water to the hair.

Vegetable Glycerin: a popular humectant derived from vegetable sources (avoid synthetic glycerin). Use it in combination with another conditioning agent if planning to use heat-styling methods. I personally avoid glycerin because in the winter time, the cold air sucks the moisture out of your hair and exacerbates the humidity in the summer. Also avoid it if your hair is chemically colored (especially red tones) because it may strip/grab unbound dye molecules.

Honey: a humectant composed of simple sugars and trace amounts of various minerals, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, and other nutrients. It adds moisture and shine. For best results, combine with oils or conditioner. Honeyquat is a quaternized conditioning agent derived from honey which has 10 times the moisturizing powers of glycerin.

Humectants Of Natural Origin You May Have Never Heard Of: Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Hyaluronic Acid, Inositol, Glycogen, and Behentrimonium Methosulfate (BTMS).

Hydrolyzed Proteins: Elastin, Collagen, Silk and Keratin


Clarifying: This is an important underrated step that removes excess oils and product buildup from the hair. If you have buildup on your hair the moisturizer cannot get thru to reach the cuticle. You should clarify your hair every other month or 1x a month especially if you use heavy oils. This can be done thru a diluted 25–50% apple cider vinegar wash or half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in with your conditioner.

Daily Spritz: Your spritz should contain goodies like: essential oils, nutrient-rich carrier oils and water/aloe vera. It will remain fresh in the refrigerator for a week. If kept longer invest in a commercial grade preservative. Spray it on your ends every night and if needed in the morning then seal with a heavy oil.

Sealing with Heavy Oils: This step is important because it seals the cuticle with the moisture technique you have used. Locking in moisture with a heavy nutrient-rich oil like castor (my favorite), wheat germ, un-petroleum, etc. can help prevent breakage.

Baggy Method: An effective technique especially in the wintertime. You can baggy the hair ends or the whole head. You can even baggy your box braids or cornrows. Apply moisturizer / conditioner to the hair and wrap ends with saran wrap or whole head with plastic cap. Then put on a hat, headwrap, put hair in a bun or attach a bun/piece to cover the ends. Watch for “soggy” hair – this can be a sign that your hair is too moist resulting in weak, fragile hair that leads to breakage.
more to come! thoughts?

About jenteel

haitian-naturalist-lover-idealist-health-conscious-spiritualist-yogi-new yorker

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13 years ago

i wanted to point out that leila wanted me to focus more on moisturizing techniques/practices for this article, so this is not an all inclusive list of moisturizers.

feel free to add more 🙂

kinky rhonnie has an excellent post on her blog by Teri Evans entitled: “top five ingredients for moisture and more” including: aloe vera (in my daily spritz), shea butter, jojoba extract, veg. glycerin & avocado oil.

it’s an excellent read!


Chick Vision
Chick Vision
13 years ago

Yep, that baggy method is da truth! It really does lock in that moisture.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
13 years ago

j… where can i buy vegetable glycerin?

8 years ago

Dye to illness and literally 2 bags of meds my ends,actually all my hair was extemely dry andd was breaking off horrably. With that being said, I did some research&reached back n2 the hair vault if memories, I decided to go with the baggy method.  1st‑I sectiones my hair in 4 sectios. I made sure each sectiin was detangled. I then put Clairol Clear jazzing witha little leave in treatment. I applied the entire bottle to all four sections. Covered with plastic cap for 25 min. (no heat). 2nd Step‑I washed out the clear mixture with luke warm H20. I the… Read more »

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