By Fran of HeyFranHey.com
I like to keep my beauty regimens clean and simple. The less product I apply in one styling session the better. This doesn’t mean I’m not a product junkie! I’ve tried and own every natural hair brand out! But I’m a minimalist when it comes to mixing them to achieve a desired look. In my mind, being “natural” means low maintenance. I always picture myself stranded on an island, having to figure out how to make my hair and skin work. Scary thought considering the mini Walgreens that is my bathroom, but a goal nonetheless! I’ve found, through trial and error, that my scalp and strand health thrive best with the less I use. Now I simply wet, apply leave-in and seal. Here’s how I came to understand that applying moisture could be done in 3 simple steps:
Before I started taking good care of my hair, my everyday style was the quick wash & go. I would wash it daily because I was unaware of how to preserve the curl pattern. My hair was suffering due to the constant washing and styling: drying out, breaking and stuck at what seemed a forever shoulder length. To make matters worse, I was using mousse and gels that were loaded with alcohols and synthetics. I soon realized I should switch to products with a lighter hold (for the sake of my crispy, dried out curls) and more nutrient-based ingredients, to restore some moisture. I immediately had softer more voluminous hair (goodbye gels and alcohols!) with more shine and definition. Dryness solved!
The next step I was having a hard time figuring out was how to retain the moisture I applied without constantly washing it. I felt like I had to re-apply the products daily or it wouldn’t look right. I jumped on youtube to see what other naturals were doing for maintenance, but all I saw was lots of re-wetting and daily washing too! Meanwhile, every other natural texture was retaining moisture and preserving styles for weeks at a time. Granted, different textures have different regimens and expectations, but I began to wonder if finer haired naturals were missing out on a crucial step during the product application process. As I kept watching videos and reading posts, I realized I was missing out on the “sealing” method. Instead of constantly re-wetting, it made more sense to seal the water and leave-in with oil on wash day. It’s a method that is scientifically based, not just texture based, yet I feel finer naturals avoid it like the plague, assuming it’s not for their “hair type”, in fear of being weighed down or product buildup, or, in some cases, because they don’t really know much about it.
No one with type “3” hair was doing it online but I still wanted to test the method for myself. The first time I tried it, I washed my hair as usual, applied my leave-in to soaking wet hair and then sealed with olive oil. It was way too heavy. I tried coconut oil but was left with brittle, frizzy hair. Jojoba oil gave my hair a flat, “wet look” for days. Nothing was really working so I thought, ok, I guess this is why…lol. But knowing it was an important step for retaining moisture, I didn’t want to give up so easily. I figured trying something that wasn’t an oil would get the job done. But what was considered a good sealant yet not an oil?
I had a bottle of Aloe Vera in my fridge for a cut I was healing so I decided to give it a try. It was all natural, so why not? It turned out to be the perfect, watery, light yet effective consistency for my hair type. I’ve been using it as a sealant ever since. Here is a picture of an experiment I posted a few months ago showing the difference between my sealed and non-sealed hair. On the right side I finger-combed Pure Aloe Vera by Aubrey Organics over my Curl Souffle leave-in by Curls. On the left side I just left the leave-in without sealing. See the difference? Major!
I’ve seen comments with naturals saying they don’t see the need for sealing. I personally don’t think it’s a step that HAS to be done, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful. It helps me retain more moisture and shine, which in turn preserves my styles a little longer. Being able to keep them in longer means less manipulation of the strands, which results in improved hair health and growth. In other words, why not seal? In this video I show my 3 quick and basic steps for retaining moisture: