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Why Soft Hair Doesn’t Always Mean Moisturized Hair

Avatar • Aug 20, 2013

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Style Icon Romona

I have often been asked to give advice on how one might achieve moisturized hair. I learned fairly quickly that the person asking the question wasn’t only interested the moisture of their hair but, more often than not, achieving soft, supple hair. I have been clear in this blog that hair may feel dry to the touch even if it is in fact moisturized. It is therefore important to focus more on healthy hair practices and monitoring how your hair responds to those practices over time than how it feels. In this article I’d like to focus on the distinction between “soft” hair and “moisturized” hair since it’s an issue I used to grapple with and one I know some women still face.

In the same way an individual may confuse dry hair with hair that is not properly moisturized, it is not uncommon to think that achieving “softness” means that your hair is moisturized. Moreover, soft hair is sometimes used as a proxy for one’s ability to retain hair length over a long period of time. Without understanding that your hair may be able to feel soft without the necessary moisture you might find yourself frustrated if you remain stuck in your hair journey.  So, what are some reasons your hair may feel soft  without actually being moisturized?

1. You may be using a product containing ingredients designed to smooth the cuticles of your hair without adding any moisture to the strands.
While smoothing the cuticles of the hair may diminish frizz and give the illusion of soft hair, you are actually coating the hair with a  product that may temporarily prevent your hair from absorbing moisture. We often think of heavy, greasy products with loads of mineral oil as coating our strands and blocking moisture. However, glossers and anti-frizz serums are light weight silicones that can give the hair an almost silky feel. Don’t get me wrong. Those products serve a purpose if you are wearing your hair straight and want to maintain the style. However, if you use similar products on a regular basis you may find that your hair feels good and even looks shiny but is actually depriving your hair of moisture.

2. It may be over moisturized.
Wait, did she just imply there’s such a thing as too much moisture? Yup, I did! Just as dry, brittle hair can weaken your hair so too can hair that is overly moisturized. Now, using a moisturizer every day or spritzing with water likely won’t lead to damaging results. However, if your hair rarely has time to dry and a section of your hair is constantly damp or wet it can be more prone to breakage when manipulated. I found this to be a problem if I chose to wear a bun the day after I washed my hair. My dense hair takes about 12 hours dry (I have to dry my hair in 12 large twists to prevent tangling). While the ends of my hair would get dry the section tied with the hair elastic would remain damp. If I re-moisturized my hair every morning my hair would spend far more time damp than dry, making the hair prone to breakage.  The hair felt soft and quite frankly met my ideal of what I thought moisturized hair should feel like but it was weak and prone to breakage.

There is nothing wrong with soft hair. In a future article I plan to address how to regularly achieve soft and moisturized hair. It is important, however, to note that soft hair does not automatically equate moisturized hair. Knowing the difference can hopefully prevent you from repeating practices that lead to unintentional damage.

Have you ever mistaken soft hair for moisturized hair? What were you doing wrong?

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maxine
maxine
7 years ago

Wow
Since I have been on this forum, no other has blown me away like yours..your agro is amazing.

maxine
maxine
7 years ago

Afro correction

cocomo
cocomo
7 years ago

love love love the afro!!!! i want my fro to be like this!!!!!!! sigh one day.…..one day

cacey
cacey
7 years ago

wow. i love her hair! it’s so beautiful and thick and full. another- she is wearing that lipstick to PERFECTION!
wish i had to tone for gloss of that color. my mousy complexion means i have to stick to earth tones, and at the most loud, maybe red. nice chica!

cacey
cacey
7 years ago
Reply to  cacey

correction: *the* tone;

Lauryn
Lauryn
7 years ago

Great article, thank you for this information!

Tabatha
Tabatha
7 years ago

One thing that I learned was not greasing my scalp every time I turned around. For moisture I use CD daily moisturizing detangler and then I use a little of her Margaruite’s Magic(spelt it wrong I think). Its basically a Shea butter with other oils in it. I like it. It does the trick.

Nicole
Nicole
7 years ago

I sat a stared at her hair for a good few seconds before I read the article. Man she has a beautiful head of hair.
I cannot really comment on the actually article though; I am still learning what my hair likes and does not like.
I don’t know yet if my hair is moisturized sometimes or just dry. Sometimes it feels like it’s both. Ahh well, still learning. It’s growing though.

Rine
Rine
7 years ago

It is important, however, to note that soft hair does not automatically equate moisturized hair.”

Does that also mean that non-soft (hard?) hair doesn’t automatically mean dry/brittle (prone to breakage) hair?

I really want to know so because all this time, I’ve been expecting my hair to feel soft all the time and it doesn’t. But it grows a lot.

Any input?

Dabney
Dabney
7 years ago
Reply to  Rine

That’s true. Soft hair is not always a good thing especially if your hair has been treated with an product with a high ph. However if you have coarse hair that has shine, has elasticity and grows more than it breaks that is a good thing. if your hair is coarse, breaks easily then that is bad. You sound like you are in good shape. Yet, soft hair is still a nice benefit when moisture and protein are balanced. Audrey Davis Sivasothy addresses this in her books.

PMS
PMS
7 years ago
Reply to  Rine

I would say that if you have extremely coarse hair your hair could never feel soft or moosturized but that does not mean its not being well taken care of. A good indicator is how much hair breaks or if you hear lots of popping. That’s a good indicator of dry hair.

PMS
PMS
7 years ago
Reply to  PMS

*moisturized

Madie Fronk
Madie Fronk
7 years ago

Just so you guys know, the pic is from the natural of the day or something like that, the link to her interview is under the picture. The author is not the model (in this case)

BlessedCoils
7 years ago

This article hits what I have in my mind but have a hard time explaining verbally. When I see products that say visibly smooth and see someone say “OOo..my hair is so soft and moist.” It’s because there are ingredients designed to make your hair look that way and not necessarily is it soft or moisturized.

J9ssica
J9ssica
5 years ago

her hair looks so soft that you can use it as a pillow <3

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