Moisture Retention – Tips for Natural Hair
The key to the healthiest of natural hair is moisture. Although water was once seen as the enemy when it came to natural hair, now it is embraced as one of the main components of keeping the hair in its best condition. Moisturising your hair will not only reduce the amount of breakage, but it will also help maintain the elasticity and strength of the hair as well. Locking the moisture in with oils, creams, and protective hairstyles are also important when it comes to keeping the hair moisturised. By sealing the hair shaft with an oil or cream, it guarantees that the water will not evaporate from the hair and leave it dry, therefore retaining the moisture.
How Do I Know if My Hair Needs Moisture?
When your hair is in need of moisture, it will:
* Have a dry, crackling/crunchy sound
* Feel rough/dry
* Break very easily
* Show no signs of elasticity
Since everyone’s hair type is different, each person will show a variety of different signs and will require different regimens. For example, if your hair naturally has a rough texture, that characteristic may not be one of your tell-tale signs that you need to moisturise your hair. If you honestly don’t know what signs indicate that your hair needs moisture, go a week without moisturising your hair and examine how it feels, sounds, sheds and whether or not it breaks. Once you see how your hair reacts to needing moisture, moisturise it and take a mental note of the differences you see. Now that you have an idea of how your hair is when it’s in need of moisture, here are a few key tips for
moisturising and retention.
Deep Condition Every Time You Wash the Hair
Deep conditioning is very important when it comes to moisturisation. Using a deep conditioner will repair any damage that the hair has undergone in order to keep the shaft healthy. When the cuticle is damaged it will not lay flat which allows moisture to escape and evaporate, causing dry hair. By using a deep conditioner that strengthens and moisturizes, the cuticle will be able to lay flat again and retain the moisture that the conditioner provides. A great deep conditioner that I use for when my hair is damaged is the Silicon Mix Bambu Hair Treatment by Avanti. Since the product contains silicon, the hair shaft will be repaired and protected from further damage. The silicon also acts as a sealant by locking the water into the cuticle and acting as a barrier against humidity as well as heat damage. Here’s how I use it:
* Cleanse the scalp and hair with a shampoo or cleansing conditioner.
* After parting the hair into workable sections, coat each section with a liberal amount of conditioner.
* Cover with a plastic cap and leave on for 15-30 minutes. You can also opt to sit under a dryer for 10 minutes, just make sure you leave the conditioner on long enough to fully penetrate the hair shaft in order to reap the full benefit.
* Detangle hair and rinse out.
Apply a Water-Based Leave-In Conditioner
Using a water-based leave-in is essential when trying to retain moisture because water is technically the only thing that can moisturise the hair. I know what you’re thinking, “if that’s the case, why don’t we just use water and leave it at that?” In addition to the water, leave-in conditioners usually contain proteins, vitamins, nutrients and other beneficial ingredients that will improve the overall health of the hair. Using this in conjunction with the deep conditioner will not only allow the hair to repair faster, but it will also aid in the moisturising process. To use, work the leave-in from the roots to the ends, making sure to focus on the ends since it is the oldest part of your hair.
This is the most important step when it comes to moisture retention. Water has the tendency to evaporate from natural hair the easiest which is what makes the hair seem so dry. Since our sebum- the natural oil produced by the scalp- cannot make its way down the hair shaft, the water is not sealed into the hair and it winds up evaporating. If you want your hair to remain moisturised for a longer period of time, you will need to seal the shaft with an oil or butter after applying your leave-in conditioner.
While you may not need to repeat the deep conditioning treatment until the next time you wash your hair, you will need to re-moisturise your hair with a little bit of water or leave-in and seal it again with oil. Depending on your hair type and the style you’re currently wearing, you may need to repeat your moisturisation routine multiple times in between washes.
This obviously isn’t a regimen that you’ll be able to conduct if you’re wearing your hair straightened, but keep in mind the fact that it will need to be done eventually. Not giving your hair the proper amount of moisture will lead to damage, and eventually breakage so set aside a week or two where you’ll be able to pay close attention to your hair and its needs.
Bio: Kayla Black is 24 year old freelance writer from Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a stay at home mom who just recently graduated with her B.A.S in Food Service Management and Event Planning from Johnson & Wales University ('14). In addition to writing food blogs and working on her own up and coming site, Kayla is also taking the time to contribute to the natural hair community. Formerly known as curlywurlygurl on YouTube, and her old blog Fitfluffyfood, Kayla is hoping to remain active in the natural hair community once again.