I often hear naturals complain about how dry and dull their hair is - especially if they have 4C hair, which can be tightly coiled and prone to dryness.
You may be thinking, "If I am no longer relaxing my hair, then why does it feel drier than when I used chemicals?"
The one thing you need to know about natural hair is that the kinkier (tightly coiled) it is, the drier it will be in many cases.
When your hair has more kinks, it's harder for your scalp's natural oils to travel down your strands. You also may have less shine/sheen.
That is why some people who have looser/straighter curl patterns don't have as much of a problem with dryness.
Your pattern can also explain why your hair has a very low sheen and no shine. Shine comes from light reflection. That's why relaxed hair appears shinier. Straight hair reflects the light better.
Natural hair has more of a sheen when healthy and properly moisturized.
So if your hair is very kinky (4B/4C curl patterns), it will be harder for it to reflect light and your hair may appear dull.
But there's good news...
No, you cannot change your hair's texture. However, with proper TLC you can still bring out your strand's natural sheen and revitalize your tresses.
AAAAND.... as you'll see below, you CANdo a successful wash and go on kinkier hair. You just need moisture and the right steps.
So let's jump to it...
Know Your Hair's Porosity
Porosity refers to how open your cuticles are on your hair shaft. If they aren't open enough, moisture can't get in (low porosity). Your hair may feel dry and straw-like if you use too much protein.
If the cuticles are too open, your hair can frizz and tangle easily (high porosity). High porosity often comes from heat or chemical damage.
Take the hair porosity test here.
Buy Water-Based Moisturizers & Good Sealants!
Unless the first or second ingredient is water, it's not a true moisturizer. Don't be fooled by products that claim to moisturize your hair, but don't even have water (or it's listed as one of the last ingredients.)
The term "moisturizer" is used so loosely and incorrectly on natural hair products. Now you know the secret to discovering if it's REALLY a moisturizer or not.
Sealants contain oil and/or butters that seal in water (moisture). So if you twist your hair while it's damp (water is your moisturizer) and apply a good sealant, that will keep your hair moisturized and soft for a long time.
Here are some good moisturizers and sealants for natural hair that I really like...
1) Jane Carter Nourish and Shine (This is a sealant. When you use with water (damp hair), it keeps your hair moisturized for a long time.)
2) Shea Moisture Products (They have tons of moisturizing products.
3) Shea Moisture Leave In Conditioner (I believe this is an older Shea Moisture product, but I can only find this atAmazon. Nevertheless, it's GREAT! Check out how it moisturized my puff.)
4) Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream (Another great sealant.)
5) Oyin Hair Dew (A light moisturizer.)
6) Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade (This sealant smells sooooo good and will make your twists very soft and luscious!)
NOTE: I rarely use a thick sealant and moisturizer together because it's too much product and I'll have build up.
If I use a thick sealant like Qhemet Biologics, I use water as my moisturizer. So I will spritz my hair first and then use the Qhemet Biologics as my twisting cream. The product holds the water/moisture in and my hair will be soft for several days.
See some of the best rated natural hair moisturizers at the bottom of the page.
NOTE >>> When searching for moisturizers for kinky, dry hair, look for thicker, creamier products.
Do The Cherry Lola Treatment
No, this has nothing to do with adding fruit to your tresses. It was named after the lady who invented it.
This is an EXCELLENT protein + moisture + clarifying treatment for your hair and scalp that will help reduce frizz and make your curls pop. The 3 ingredients are liquid aminos, yogurt andbaking soda.
The aminos give your hair a protein boost while the yogurt infuses moisture into your hair. Finally, the baking soda helps cleanse your hair of all build up and dirt to let moisture penetrate your hair shaft.
When your hair can absorb moisture better, your natural curl pattern will come out easier. If you are in the Type 4 group with low porosity hair that doesn't hold moisture well, you are going to love this treatment, and it's super easy to make and apply!
1) Mix the following ingredients in a bowl...
16 oz. of full-fat, PLAIN yogurt (I use Chobani)2 tablespoons of Braggs Liquid Aminos (buy at health food store in the soy sauce aisle)2 tablespoon of baking soda
2) Section your DRY hair and add the mixture to your hair from root to tip. You will instantly see your curl pattern start popping out as you coat your hair. Apply generously and don't be afraid to overlap.
I tend to use a lot more of the mixture on my really dry/brittle areas like my crown!
3) Place a plastic cap on your head and leave on hair for 20-45 minutes.
4) Rinse with a cup of water to keep from disturbing your natural curl pattern. But if that is too tedious for you, feel free to rinse in the shower.
I'm telling you... when you rinse this out, your hair is going to feel like silk!!
5) Follow up with a rinse-out or deep conditioner of your choice if you wish.
Wait at least 2 weeks between treatments. Too much protein is not good for your hair.
Try The Max Hydration Method (MHM)
Let me tell you, this method is theTRUTH.
You do this treatment for 7 consecutive days or until your hair is fully hydrated. You will know because...
Your hair will retain moisture very well (less product to achieve optimal moisture level)You'll have less shrinkageYour curl pattern will pop with less frizzYour hair will be stronger (less breakage)There will be fewer tangles
This won't change your pattern, but it will highlight what you have naturally.
You can also do it every other day or every 3 days. Just understand the more you space your 7 treatments, the less effective it will be because you will lose moisture.
The first time you do it, you should really do it for 7 days straight. Then you won't have to do it as often since your hair will be hydrated.
I got great results doing it every other day, but I probably would have had better results doing it daily the first time.
Read more about max hydration and how to do the steps here.
Big shout out to Pinke Cube for introducing me to this method. Check out her results too. Amazing!
Why I Love The Shea Moisture Conditioner
When your hair is properly moisturized, your natural curl pattern will come out when you use conditioning leave-ins and water.
The Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditionerhas this effect on my hair. So when I wear my hair in a puff, I like to use this product to replenish moisture. I also find that the more I use it, the better my hair feels.
Here's a picture of my puff after using the Shea Moisture Leave-In regularly. Notice how my curls popped.
The Baggy Method
This is a great way to replenish moisture at night. Spritz your hair with water so it's slightly damp. You may also want to add a moisturizer of your choice. (Remember, real moisturizers have water listed as one of the first ingredients.)
Cover your hair with a plastic cap while you sleep. Secure the cap with a headband. The water, moisturizer and body heat will help to condition and moisturize your hair overnight.
Will this cause frizz? Yes, it may if you are wearing your hair out. However, the baggy method is a great option for women wearing afros and/or those that don't mind the frizz.
Go Sulfate Free
Use sulfate-free shampoo products to keep from stripping your hair. Sulfates are harsh detergents that rob your hair of its natural moisture. My favorite line isGiovanni.
Use Hot Oil Treatments
This is one of my favorite pampering routines because it softens my hair so much and brings out its natural sheen.
It's really good to make a habit of doing this in the winter months because your hair will probably dry out faster.
You can even experiment and develop your own concoctions based on your favorite oils.
Click here to learn how to apply a hot oil treatment.
Spritz With Water
Since water is the best source of moisture for natural hair, a daily dose of it on your strands will help keep your hair supple and soft.
If you're trying to keep frizz at bay, use a creamy, water-based moisturizer instead. Even though it has more water than any other ingredient, your hair won't frizz as much because of the creamy consistency.
Don't Forget to Seal (Especially in Cooler Months!)
I talked about sealants above, but here's another reminder. After you moisturize your hair, seal it in with a natural oil (olive, jojoba, sweet almond, castor, etc.) or butter (shea, mango, etc.) to help lock in the moisture.
And if you can find a product that has both water and butter, then you may find that it acts as both a moisturizer and a sealant.
Just remember to always add oil or butter after you moisturize. Adding a sealant to dry hair will do nothing but give you a greasy mane with no moisture.
I remember constantly adding jojoba oil to my twists and couldn't understand why my hair continued to break off. The problem was I wasn't moisturizing my hair at all.
Oil is not a moisturizer by itself. That's why people recommend adding a plastic cap with a hot oil treatment. The warmth generated from the oil and plastic cap generates moisture.
The water moisturizes your hair, while the oil seals and conditions with the oil's natural nutrients. A perfect combo! Who says oil and water don't mix?
Sleep With Satin
Sleep in a satin cap or use a satin pillow case to keep your hair from drying out at night. Cotton will soak all the oils out of your hair and can dry it out very quickly.
Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. Not only will water help keep your hair moisturized, but it can help your hair grow at its optimal rate.
Constantly touching your hair will strip the moisture and oils right out of your hair. You can even see the oils on your fingertips.
If you must touch and play in your hair, that's fine. Just know that you'll have to moisturize it more often.
Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar
If you want to add some sheen to your hair, mix one part apple cider vinegar with 3 parts water. (Feel free to adjust the recipe as needed.) Use this as your final rinse when shampooing your hair.
Just be careful because if it gets in your eyes, it will sting. Use an applicator bottle, and tilt your head back while applying it to your hair.
And don't worry about the vinegar smell. It goes away after a few minutes. I promise you won't be walking around smelling like salad dressing.
Not only will this add some sheen, but it can also help with detangling.
It's best to buy the organic apple cider vinegar that reads "With the Mother" on the label. I buy the Braggs brand from Whole Foods.
Also keep in mind that ACV is very acidic so don't apply more than once a week.
Cold Water Rinse
I actually combine this tip with the last one. I use cold water and apple cider vinegar as my final rinse to bring out my hair's natural sheen.
However, if you don't like to use vinegar, you can just do a cold water rinse by itself. Cold water seals the cuticle and promotes shine.
Don't Forget Twists and Braids
You may forget to moisturize your hair when it's up in twists or braids. Don't fall into this bad habit!
Your hair still needs moisture, if not more! If you don't, you could suffer from more breakage when you take them down.
Here's how I moisturize my twists.
Tips for Winter
Don't neglect your moisturizing routine in the winter. In fact, you need to step it up because your hair will be drier. Here are some tips for keeping your hair moisturized during the colder months.
If Your Hair Doesn't Retain Moisture...
Struggling with keeping your hair moisturized? You may be surprised at some of the bad habits you've developed that can affect how long moisture stays in your hair. Check this out.
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