“My natural hair is dry!” is a common complaint for many naturals. We all know that curly and natural hair is prone to dryness, but most of us don’t know what to do about it.
If you have breakage or your hair has no bounce, dryness might be the issue. Curls require moisture to thrive.
The tight curls make it hard for curly hair to retain moisture. A kinkier head of hair can develop dryness faster.
Here are 6 reasons why you may not be able to keep your hair moisturized. Maintaining your hair’s moisture on a daily basis can be achieved by changing your strategies in these areas.
1. You are not steaming your hair
Steaming hair is becoming increasingly popular among naturals. The heat allows the cuticles to lift slightly finally allowing moisture into the hair shaft.
Steaming is even possible midweek without having to step into the shower and get your hair completely wet. There are handheld steamers that can be used on hair to increase moisture uptake quickly and effectively. This will allow you to refresh your curls without having to wash your hair.
You can target problematic areas of your hair by using a handheld steamer. Is your nape hair dry and breaking? Spend more time steaming that area than other sections.
All in all, steaming is a great way to get rid of dry hair fast.
2. You are not using water in your hair often enough
Many naturals overlook the benefits of plain water for their hair, which is a shame because it’s the number 1 product that should be used on your hair… DAILY.
Getting H20 infused into those strands should take precedence over any products or oils you want to try.
By hydrating your body, you can improve hair strength and elasticity so ensure you get those 8-12 cups in daily.
Don’t forget to hydrate your strands as well; most naturals will need to replenish water into their strands daily. A spritz of water or aloe vera juice* from a spray bottle would be great but if you are wearing a style that would be ruined by water then a little water-based leave-in conditioner* will suffice.
If you are dealing with chronic dryness, then your hair’s health will have to take the front seat and a warm water rinse daily for a few days should open your hair’s cuticles and improve your moisture retention over the short term.
Lack of hydration could be a major reason why your natural hair is dry. Ensure that you are giving your strands a dose of water every day.
3. You are not sealing your hair with an anti humectant
Any substance, such as oil, that repels water is an anti-humectant*. Throughout the day, moisture evaporates from your hair and gets lost. Yet if your strands are coated with an anti-humectant, like oil, the moisture is unable to leave your hair keeping it supple and softer for longer. This is the concept of sealing your hair.
You can find out more about the LOC or LCO method of sealing natural hair by reading our article on the subject.
Curly hair needs oils and other anti-humectants to slow down moisture loss from the strands thereby preventing dryness.
Depending on the thickness of your strands you can use light oils like grapeseed oil or olive oil or a heavier one like Jamaican black castor oil to seal your hair. Another popular option is whipped butter like shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter.
Whichever anti-humectant* you choose, they are key to preventing dry natural hair.
4. You are not using moisturizing hair products
Curly and natural hair can be dried out by many shampoos. A great way of mitigating this is to use products specifically formulated for dry or curly hair. These products tend to be moisturizing.
Using moisturizing shampoos can help you avoid tangles, that lead to dryness and breakage further down the line.
Once you have cleansed your hair, you will want to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. Be sure to gently detangle your hair while it still has conditioner in it for minimal stress on your strands.
After your wash, choose a highly moisturizing leave-in conditioner* and styling cream or gel to style your hair. If your hair is low porosity, avoid heavy protein-containing products opting instead for moisture-based ones.
To discover protein-free conditioners, see our article here.
If your natural hair is dry, moisturizing products are a no-brainer.
5. You do not deep condition weekly
Maintaining moisture with regular deep conditioning treatments is one of the best ways to keep your natural hair hydrated. Moisture and nutrients are absorbed into your hair through deep conditioning*. When choosing conditioners, look for ones that are water-based and contain natural and beneficial ingredients.
If you have low porosity hair, don’t even bother deep conditioning without heat as the conditioner will just sit on top of your hair and is unlikely to work. Although every hair type would still benefit from deep conditioning* with heat.
You don’t necessarily need fancy or expensive gadgets to get heat. Sure it may be easier but you can also cover your conditioner-soaked hair with a shower cap* and towel to trap body heat. It will take longer to penetrate your hair properly but it works quite well.
After rinsing out the conditioner you should feel the difference in the softness of your hair.
6. You are wearing drying fabrics with your hair down
Bet you didn’t think that your choice of clothing was an issue for your hair. Yet what your hair rubs against every day plays a huge role in the moisture levels of your strands, particularly the ends and the nape.
It is inevitable that some moisture will be lost from your hair as it rubs against whatever fabric you are wearing. Friction increases frizz and can affect your hair’s elasticity too.
So what does this mean for your wardrobe? If you want to wear fabrics like cotton or wool, it would be best to wear your hair off your neck and shoulders. This might be the best time to put your hair up into a puff or a cute updo. When wearing silk or satin, you can wear your hair down as these fabrics do not rob your hair of its own moisture.