Monday, 09 October 2017 00:00

Keeping Natural Hair Moisturized

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A look at some of the most common reasons your hair is always dry or you just can't seem to keep it moisturized. We explore the possibilities from your the water you wash your hair with to your shampoo or your leave-in, it may not be what you think.

The ribbon-shaped strands we have been blessed with give our hair its coily and kinky texture. On the down side, they are not good at maintaining moisture and that's why we need to pay attention to how we treat our hair so we can keep our moisture-retaining capability at maximum. It gets easier once you learn how your hair handles different products and different situations.

 

1. YOUR SHAMPOO

Shampoos that contains sulphates (you will see them abbreviated to SLS and SLeS and ALS on the “contains” list) strip the hair of all its natural oils, which is what gives you that “squeaky clean” hair after a thorough shampooing. We need those natural oils to protect our hair and scalp from environmental damage and to help keep the scalp’s balance, preventing dry scalp and dandruff.

So, we use conditioner to try and soften the hair and create an environment where the scalp can start to produce the natural oils again. And what do we do when the scalp rebalances itself” we use shampoo and strip it again!

But we need to clean our hair and scalp, so what do we do?

Use a natural formulated shampoo that does not contain harsh chemicals. Even better, use a shampoo bar! Read the ingredients list and make sure the shampoo you select does not contain sulphates, urea, or silicones.

2. SUN / WEATHER EXPOSURE

We all need exposure to THE sun, especially us darker-skinned humans who need that daily dose of Vitamin D that only the sun can provide. The down side is that the same sun that we need, can dry out our hair badly, especially if we expose our ends to it. This can lead to breakage and you won’t be able to grow your hair if it is breaking off.

You can wear a scarf or hat when outside for long periods of time.
If you know you will be out in the sun for a while, wear an end-protecting style.
Use a nutrient-rich hair butter without oil (or very little) and work it well into your hair and ends.

3. OVERNIGHT DRYING

You lose a lot of moisture when you sleep. The cotton and cotton-blend pillowcases you sleep on absorb moisture from your hair.

Before you turn in for the night, use a light butter on your hair to help keep that moisture in.
Put a barrier between you and your pillowcase by wearing a satin bonnet or scarf to sleep.
If you have time, twist your hair up and tuck your ends under.

4. HARD WATER

If your water is hard, your hair will be hard. This is because the mineral hardness in the water will deposit itself onto your hair. If you are putting lots of product on your hair and it still feels hard and dry, hard water could be the reason.

The quickest way to fix this problem is to invest in a water filter. It doesn’t have to be expensive, a little in-shower filter is all you need. Just make sure you get one that filters out the hardness without adding any chemicals for softness.

5. COLORING – STRAIGHTENING – HENNA

If dryness is an issue and your hair is colored/bleached, straightened or henna enhanced, it may be damaged. If your hair doesn’t feel smooth when you rub a strand in both directions, it is damaged. You will need to use special products and sealers to help maintain the moisture in your hair and stop it from breaking.

Using a hair steamer can restore lost moisture from damaged hair instantly.
Use light oils while the hair is still damp, from the scalp to the ends.
Use a steamer in conjunction with sealers to help smooth the hair.

These ideas should get you on the road to more moisturized hair. If you need more help, please let me know in the comments or on the forums!

Last modified on Friday, 10 November 2017 05:26
Patricia "Deecoily" Gaines

Patricia Gaines aka Deecoily is the founder and creator of Nappturality in 2002, the beginning of the natural hair movement. Since 2000 she has been blogging on all things natural hair, Black culture and politics.

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