2. The 15 minute water trick
In between washings, the first layer that you want to apply is water. You can choose to use a water containing moisturiser but for maximum effect, plain pure water works best. You can choose to mist it on lightly or opt to thoroughly wet your hair. In either case, here is the trick, let the water physically sit on your hair for atleast 15 minutes before adding another product. I do not mean, estimate if it has been 15 minutes, I mean 15 actual minutes.
Why 15 minutes? This is the time it takes for hair to be fully saturated by water (i.e all spaces inside the hair cortex which could be occupied by water will be filled up) (Chemical and Physical Behaviour of Human Hair, C Robbins). If you are using the misting method, you should aim for your hair to be slightly damp throughout this time so that there is always water on the outside for hair to take up.
3. Avoid using too much product
Are oil stains on your pillow a common occurrence? This is a possible sign that, you may be using far too much product. It is definitely useful to use oil and humectants on the surface of hair to help slow down the escape of trapped water inside the shaft but excessive use is counterproductive. Any excess product acts to prevent your hair from taking up moisture present in air. In essence you want a barrier, but you do not really want it to be too thick or completely obstructive to water entry.
As a guide, attempt to use half a teaspoon or less for your full head when utilising an oil or moisturiser. Focus on applying the product to the ends of your hair in as thin a layer as possible. Natural sebum will tend to take care of the first 2-3 inches near the scalp. Be as generous as you like with plain water.
4. Shower without covering your hair
In the beginning of this article, I talked about hair being hygroscopic and picking up moisture from air. The most common and available source of humidity is during a bath or shower. This steam can help moisturise hair both by direct entry to hair and also by binding to any humectant on hair.
The hair does not necessarily need to get wet, the steam is sufficient to increase the humidity in the air and allow hair to draw water from its environment. Naturally if you are wearing a straight style or wish to maintain your hair in a stretched style for longer, you should ignore this tip.
Ladies, what are your tips for sealing in moisture?