Have you found yourself constantly struggling to figure out how to moisturize dry hair? You might be surprised at how these simple steps can help you turn things around when it comes to keeping your curls healthy and hydrated!
Updated 7/17/2023- It’s no secret that natural hair continues to have a love affair with moisture that goes beyond measure. Without moisture, natural hair will become dry, brittle and have the potential to eventually break off. Although it may seem simple enough to keep natural hair hydrated, especially with the vast selection of moisturizing products on the market, learning how to correctly moisturize natural hair can require a bit of trial and error.
Natural hair strands consist of many zig zags, twists and turns due to its unique curl pattern. Because of this, the natural oils that come from the scalp called Sebum, have more of a difficult time traveling down the hair strand to coat textured hair. This is why for straighter hair textures, the hair has a greater chance of becoming greasy due to the fact that the sebum has a straight path to travel when coating the hair. Couple that with the use of heavy hair products and you’ll notice that straight hair will become weighed down a lot faster as well.
For textured hair, learning how to moisturize natural hair daily or as needed is where things can get a little bit tricky. A great starting point to learn your hair needs is to pinpoint exactly how many days go by after you have washed and styled, does your hair begin to feel dry to the touch. If your hair is feeling dry right off the bat after washing and deep conditioning, you might want to take a look at your shampoo methods. If your hair feels dry when applying products immediately after, you might have to swap those products out for ones that leave the hair feeling hydrated.
Continue reading this post to help you pinpoint why you might be struggling with your dry hair and how to moisturize dry hair effectively.
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This post is all about how to moisturize dry hair.
The Culprits To Having Dry Natural Hair:
Using A Harsh Shampoo
All shampoos are not created equal and it is important to avoid shampoos that are formulated with harsh ingredients. These ingredients include Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Parabens, Alcohols and Synthetic Fragrances just to name a few. Using shampoo’s with these harsh and harmful ingredients can not only severely dry the hair, but can do damage resulting in breakage and or hair loss as well.
Failure To Clarify
While you want to avoid using harsh shampoo’s that are filled with toxic and abrasive ingredients, it is a good idea to use shampoo’s that are safe, non toxic and still able to gently clarify the hair. Clarifying your hair is essential when it comes to trying to get moisture to effectively penetrate the strands. When your hair is still coated with product that was left behind from using a co-wash or a very mild shampoo, water and other other moisturizing products will have a harder time getting into the strands. When this happens, your hair will feel extremely dry over time, weighed down and you will also feel as though none of the hair products you are using are working when essentially, they are just being blocked by previous product buildup on the hair.
Always avoid the use of towel drying hair, as the material is very drying and can create frizz. By using a towel, you are creating friction between the strands and this can also lead to split ends. The fibers on a towel are very rough and can remove an excessive amount of water from the hair that is typically needed for natural hair before styling.
The best thing to use to gently dry natural hair is a micro fiber towel. It prevents the hair strands from rubbing together, doesn’t remove an excessive amount of water and leaves hair still feeling smooth keeping the cuticles on the hair strand flat. This will help for better product application and results in hair that is easier to seal when adding moisture.
It’s a good idea to use a satin scarf and/or satin pillow case to keep your hair from drying out faster over time. Be mindful of clothing that comes in contact with your hair as well, such as a denim jacket or cotton scarf as the constant rubbing against the material can cause dryness at the ends that come into contact.
This can also result in frizz as well as split ends over time. Try keeping hair up and off the shoulders using a hair tie when wearing such clothing.
Excessive Heat Styling/Color Treatments
It’s no secret that using heat ineffectively can cause damage to the hair over time. Heat is not a bad thing when used sparingly and/or indirectly. But once you damage your hair by excessive use of direct heat, it will become hard to properly moisturize. The same goes for color treated hair. Using harsh box dyes or bleaches, especially without the help of a professional can lead to irreversible hair damage. The hair will become very porous and have a hard time properly sustaining moisture levels due to the damage. It may result in hair that is always straw like, dry and weighed down within minutes of applying a product.
Try to focus on using only indirect heat i.e. hooded dryers, to help penetrate your hair masks, treatments and effectively dry your hair after styling. Limit the use of flat irons and blow dryers to only a few times a year if possible at the safest/lowest possible settings without frying your hair.
How To Moisturize Natural Hair 101
Use A Natural Clarifying Shampoo
The first step in moisturizing natural hair as explained before, is to have a good shampoo that can gently clarify while also leaving the hair feeling soft. There are so many clarifying shampoo’s available on the market now that are made without all of the synthetic and toxic chemicals.
By using a natural clarifying shampoo, you are helping to restore the natural PH of your hair, preventing the buildup of bacteria on your scalp and removing product buildup. By removing product buildup, you will able to get water and water-based products to penetrate the hair strand, thus resulting in hair that starts off with moisture even before you style.
For a natural clarifying shampoo that still leaves the hair feeling soft and supple, try any of these:
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Shampoo
- As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo
- Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Shampoo
- Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle and Eucalyptus Shampoo
- Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse
Use A Deep Conditioner For Moisture
It is essential to get into the habit of deep conditioning your hair routinely. You want to aim for once a week or every other week if possible. Deep conditioning should be a critical step in your moisture routine, because after clarifying, it helps to hydrate and soften the hair, improve hair elasticity, and restore moisture.
Look for deep conditioners that have a focus on providing moisturizing benefits as opposed to strengthening treatments that contain protein. Try any of these options below and if you would like to see a full list of the best deep conditioners for low porosity hair, click here.
- TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask
- Camile Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner
- Mielle Mongongo Oil Hydrating Deep Conditioner
- Alikay Naturals Avocado Cream Moisture Repair Mask
- As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner
Apply A Leave In Conditioner
After you have washed and deep conditioned your hair, it is a good idea to add another layer of moisture onto the strands after you have used your microfiber towel. Using a Leave-in conditioner is great at the start of your styling process, because it acts like a primer on the hair.
It is your starting point before it comes time to style. A moisturizing leave in conditioner is beneficial for reducing frizz and friction on the strands, before applying your stylers. Try using the matching leave-in conditioner according to the deep conditioner you’ve chosen, for best results and check out this article all about what leave in conditioners do in order to maintain moisture, click here.
Use A Light Sealing Oil
One thing to note is that water evaporates whether it’s in a pot, out in nature or on your hair. The water molecules want to escape, so it is beneficial to seal that water in (and water based products), with a light sealing oil of your choice. This will help to extend the time line of when your hair will need to be re-moisturized as well. Typically, hair will start to feel a little dry around day 3 or 4, but pay attention to when your hair starts to feel dry so that you can stay one step ahead of it and know when to whip out your refresher spray or spray bottle of water for some added hydration.
Refresher sprays can be a great addition to your moisture regimen through the week. What a refresher spray does is help to add moisture that may get lost as the days go by, reduces frizz and helps to just spruce up the hair with added hydration throughout the week. Another great benefit is the fact that refresher sprays typically smell amazing too, so if you’re very active and worried about your hair not smelling as good throughout the week, try incorporating a refresher spray not only for hydration but for some added fragrance too. If you don’t have a refresher spray handy, you can always just use plain old H2O, but remember that refresher sprays are typically packed with different essential oils and nutrients for an added boost of moisture to the hair. Try TGIN Rose Water Curl Refresher, Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray or Ouidad Botanical Boost Curl Energizing Refresher Spray for an added boost of moisture throughout the week.
Apply The LOC or LCO Method
The order in which you layer products on your hair, will almost always greatly increase the longevity of maintaining moisturized hair throughout until it is time to refresh the style. When it comes to layering products, follow the LCO or LOC method for best results. Follow the order below depending on which method works best for your hair.
LCO- Leave In, Cream, Oil
LOC – Leave In, Oil, Cream
Final Thoughts On Moisturizing Natural Hair
Moisturizing natural hair does not have to be the dreadful thing that gives you anxiety because you think your hair just hates all products or you just don’t have enough patients.
Go step by step to establish the culprit that is causing your hair to dry out and once you figure it out, use the necessary tools mentioned above to help you get back on track.
Once you find what works, make a routine so that your hair will start to thrive no matter what the weather or season you are in!