Keeping the right amount of moisture in your hair is so important when it comes to achieving and maintaining healthy hair. An improper moisturizing technique or unsuitable product can wreak just as much damaging havoc just like dry un-moisturized hair. Speaking of dry hair, it’s one of the top complaints I hear from my fellow naturalistas. While the hair journey can be frustrating at times, part of developing and maintaining a healthy and beneficial hair regimen, is constantly re-evaluating areas of improvement and trying new things to get it ‘just right’. Getting your moisturizing technique down pat will improve the overall appearance and strength of your natural hair.
Is Your Hair Healthy?
All the moisturizers in the world are not going to help you achieve healthy hair, if your hair is in bad shape to begin with. Does your hair feel dry? Make sure that you have a moisture issue and not a damage issue. Many women confuse dry hair with split ends. If you have split ends, weak or damaged hair to begin with, a trim and deep conditioning treatments are an essential first step towards having healthy hair. Be sure to follow that up with a moisturizing product and a carefully selected technique that would best benefit your hair.
What Type of Moisturizer are You Using?
While oils can be found as an ingredient in many moisturizers, oil alone is not considered a moisturizer. It is a lubricant. Oils can replace lost lipids in the hair and seal the moisture in, but they are not moisturizers. Oil sheen and hair grease are also oil based and not moisturizers. A good hair moisturizer for natural hair will be water based and contain some type of other ingredients to pull water into the hair and keep it there (sealers, humectants and emollients). Using a moisturizer that is oil based often results in dry hair. Some naturalistas prefer more creamy, heavier moisturizers and others prefer them to be lighter. The type of hair moisturizer that works best for you may vary depending on your hair texture and climate etc.
How are You Moisturizing?
It is important to moisturize all of your hair from root to tip. The easiest and most thorough way to do this is to divide the hair into sections. This way you can ensure that you are moisturizing all of your hair and not just the top/bottom areas. The ends of the hair are usually the driest. The ends are also the oldest part of your hair and have been on your head the longest. Pay extra attention to the ends. Baby your ends. After you apply moisturizer to your hair, using certain oils on the ends does a great job of not only keeping the moisture locked in to your hair, but also protecting the ends from friction. Some examples of oils used for sealing in moisture are: olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil. As for your scalp, there’s really no need to put moisturizer on the scalp. Your sebaceous glands will take care of the scalp.
What’s you Moisturizing Routine?
Developing a good moisturizing routine and having hair that remains hydrated starts with your wash day. Using moisturizing products that your hair responds well to, along with techniques that contribute to overall hair health and hydration, will help to maintain moisture in between washes. Here are three examples of wash day techniques that work for me: First of all, I always begin wash day with a pre-poo. I pre-poo with extra virgin olive oil and sit under a hooded dryer. The oil lubricates my hair when the hair shaft is swelled with heat. By consistently pre-pooing, I no longer experience the stripping effects of my shampooing. Secondly, I always deep condition with a plastic cap under a hooded dryer for up to 30 minutes. Afterwards, I rinse the conditioner out with cool water. Third, I always divide my freshly rinsed hair into sections, moisturize, detangle and style. I re-moisturize and seal in between wash days, whenever my hair starts to feel dry. When I can start to feel or see the build-up on my hair, it’s time for another wash day. Applying moisturizer to dirty hair is not effective and can cause more damage than good.
How Often Do You Moisturize?
Some people are under the impression that all hair must be moisturized daily. This is not true. Everyone’s hair is different. If your hair feels dry every day, then by all means, moisturize daily. However, there are some people who can go days before re-moisturizing, because their hair doesn’t feel dry on a daily basis. Additionally, if your hair always feels damp or soggy, you might be over-moisturizing. The key is to moisturize when your hair starts to feel dry. If your hair doesn’t feel dry, leave it alone. Or, as they say, ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’.
How did you create your moisturizing regimen?
About Robin: Robin is a health & fitness enthusiast who’s had natural hair for more than 10 years. In January 2010, with shoulder length hair, she started a Waist Length Hair Challenge and by developing a healthy hair regimen, reached her waist length goal in 3 years. You can find Robin on instagram @msrobin_nella for hair retention/growth tips, fitness motivation and healthy eating ideas.