As I have mentioned many times before, tightly curly hair is naturally dry and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing you can do to change it either, except making sure to give those thirsty strands what they need –moisture.
So how often and how should you moisturize your hair? This is where you will have to get to know your hair and listen to what it is telling you. Get to know what it feels and looks like when it is moisturized and what it looks and feels like when it is dry.
Depending on your hair you might need to moisturize the hair a few times a week or only once or twice a week depending on the style you are wearing, the weather, how porous your hair is and so on (see post on protein and moisture balance for more details on that).
Good times to moisturize the hair are before you go to bed at night, before you detangle your hair and always after you wash the hair.
There are many different ways people moisturize the hair and there are several different methods out there that people use and swear by so you will need to try different products and methods to find what works for you.
I can tell you the basics and what we do and hope that it will give you some ideas and help you on your way towards finding what will work for you and your hair. Because the truth is that everyone’s hair is different and what works for one person might not work for you and the other way around.
There are lots of products out there that claim to moisturize hair but the truth is that the only thing that gives the hair moisture is water. A product that doesn´t contain water in any form will not moisturize the hair. Oils do not moisturize the hair on their own. They may make the hair look and feel moisturized but they cannot by themselves moisturize the hair.
Water is what will bring moisture to your hair and that is easy enough to put on the hair. Now the problem is to keep it in there. This is done by adding something that can bind the water in the strand and/or something that will seal the moisture in the strand, working as a lid you might say, keeping the moisture from evaporating out of the hair.
There is a group of ingredients called “Humectants”. Humectants attract moisture from the air into the hair and help to keep it there. Examples of humectants are: Panthenol, Glycerols, glycerin, propylene glycol, Sorbitol, Glucose, Fructose, Hexylene glycol, Butylane glucol and Honey.
The most common thing to use to seal in the moisture is oil. Remember though that with most oils this seal is only temporary and how long it lasts depends on your hair, the oil used and surrounding conditions. But with that said it is actually a good thing that it doesn´t stay too long because as long as that seal is in place you cannot add more moisture either.
There are many different oils out there that have different properties and works in different ways for the hair and also work differently depending on your hair. Some oils penetrate the hair shaft easier than others, some are lighter and some are heavier. Remember, everyone’s hair is different. Some oils that work great for someone might weigh down your hair or don´t do much at all for your hair.
Oils come in different forms, both solid and liquid and it is the natural oils that come from plants, fruits, flowers and seeds that work best with your natural hair care since they create a temporary seal and even in some cases penetrate the hair which lets you moisturize your hair without having to wash them out with harsh shampoos first like you have to do if you use mineral oils or petrolatum.
Silicones are also used to seal in moisture and ad shine and slip to the hair. But be very careful since most silicones are not water soluble and even if they are, you run the risk of them causing buildup in the hair that prevents moisture to get in. Leaving the strands dry and brittle even if they appear moisturized and shiny.
For more information about ingredients in haircare products, click here.