Thursday, 16 January 2014

8 Steps to Keep Your Hair Moisturised

Dryness is a problem experienced by many naturals, myself included; during my recent trip to the coast, I struggled to retain moisture in my hair due to constant exposure to salt water and chlorine. Why is it so important to keep natural hair hydrated? More than anything else, natural hair needs moisture to thrive. Well moisturised hair is supple and elastic, which makes it look soft and prevents breakage.  Dry hair on the other hand looks and feels dull and dry. In order to grow long, strong, healthy hair, it is vital for naturals to have a regualr moisturising regimen.

Getting water in your hair is easy. Keeping it there, not so much. So how do you keep your hair hydrated? (aka how many more times can I say the M word). Follow these 8 steps below for shiny hair that stays moisturised and retains maximum length:

1. Cleanse your hair

this is what your african black soap should be looking like people!
Although many naturals avoid using shampoo regularly, if at all, as it strips hair of natural oils and leaves it feeling dry, it is important to cleanse your har regularly to remove build up. Applying product to your hair helps seal moisture, add shine and provide hold in but they will eventually cause a build up that will end up locking moisture out. Washing this off, either with conditioner, black soap or shmapoo will give you a clean slate to start moisturing. If you do choose to shampoo yuour hair, choose a sulfate-free option as this is kinder to your hair and only wash your hair with it occasionally. You can also use a clarifier such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda to remove buildup. 

2. Apply Water

Water is the best moisturiser out there. Wet your hair in the shower or using water in a spray bottle, working it in thoroughly. Tip: leave the water in your hair for 15 minutes to make sure it completely saturates the hair. You can also try baggying your hair to combat extreme dryness. (Now why the hell didn't I think of this at the coast??!)

To your water, you can also add one or all of the following:
- conditioner - helps soften hair and smooth cuticles to add shine
 - oils - depending on oil used, nourish hair from inside, seal moisture in, add fragrance
- aloe juice - natural conditioner,humectant and helps prevent dandruff by balancing the pH of the scalp
- glycerine - humectant; draws moisture from the air

3. Use Humectants

did you know that honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot...#doomsdayprepping
Humectants like honey, glycerin and aloe juice draw water from the atmosphere into your hair and make a great addition to your spritzes or conditioning treatments. Warning: They should be avoided in very hot, dry temperatures or wintery conditions as they would then do the reverse and draw water out of your hair and into the atmosphere. I would explain it but I would need a potato, some salty water and my primary school science textbooks. They should also be avoided if you are wearing a straight or defined style. 

4. Seal with oils
Now that you have added water into your hair, how do you keep it in? Simple. Apply a barrier over it to stop it from evaporating. The most effective way is to apply oils that do not easily penetrate into the hair shaft over your wet or damp hair. Common sealants are:
- castor oil
- almond oil
- jojoba oil
- grapeseed oil
The advantage of using these is that they help lock moisture in longer so you don't need to remoisturise constantly. You can still use penetrating oils like coconut, sunflower, avocado, olive and shea butter but you would need to remoisturise frequently. While it is sufficient for some to simple apply an oil or butter over the water, layering your products gives your hair the best chance of holding on to its moisture. 

5. Protect your hair

After all your hard work moisturising and sealing, you want to really protect that moisture from being drawn out of your hair, particularly your ends which are the oldest, most fragile part of your hair. 
- wrap your hair with a satin scarf or sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase when you're going to bed - cotton pillowcases draw moisture out of our hair and rubbing your hair against them can lead to tangles and breakage
- wear a hat in the sun or use spf for your hair - many natural oils have some natural spf but wearing a hat or a scarf will better protect your hair if you will be spending prolonged periods under direct sun. The same goes for very windy or wintery conditions, which also dry out hair
- wear protective styles - the larger the surface area of hair exposed to the elements, the more moisture you lose. Tucking hair away in styles like flat twists, Bantu knots, roll-pin-tucks and buns keeps moisture in longer. Ever notice how much longer Bantu knots take to dry than twists? Or how the inside of large twists is always much softer than the outside? 

6. RE-moisturise
Yes, I know, you moisturised already but it is important to keep moisture levels up, especially if you have high porosity hair. You can do this by:
- co-washing regularly
- spritzing and sealing - this is where adding oil to your spray bottle comes in handy as you can moisturise and seal in one easy step. How often you do this depends on your hair. My hair is very dry and I spritz at least three times a week, if not daily. 
- applying moisture based products to your hair - 

Harvest of Sunshine's Zee Zee's Twist and Curl Butter

These could be moisturisers, stylers or leave-ins but it is important to read the labels. To be an effective moisturiser, water has to be one of the top 5 ingredients, if not top two (see image above). In general, the lighter the product, the more moisture it has so lotions are the most moisturising followed by creams and finally butters. However, the heavier the product, the better it works as a dual-purpose moisturiser and sealant. When trying to figure out what works for you, the rule of thumb is that the coarser your hair, the heavier the product but note, this does not work for all naturals. Tip: avoid ingredients that could lock moisture out such as silicones, petrolatum, mineral oils and lanolin. You also want to avoid drying alcohols.

7. Avoid using heat

Studies have shown that using heat to dry your hair, even on a low setting, leaves your hair dryer than it would be if you air dried it. To stretch your hair without heat, use methods such as twisting or braiding, threading or the tension method.

8. Stay Hydrated

We all know that drinking water helps flush out toxins and keeps our skin hydrated but did you know the 8-glasses-a-day rule also benefits our hair? One of the best ways to help your hair from the inside out is to drink lots of water so keep those glasses topped up for happy hair. 


1 comment:

  1. This was awesome thanks for answering our question!