How to Infuse Moisture Into Your Dull & Dry Natural Hair

Awesome Tips for Moisturizing Natural Hair! 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 CAN do a successful wash and go on kinkier hair.  You just need moisture and the right steps.

So let’s jump to it…

Buy Water-Based Moisturizers

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.)

natural-hair-methods Here are some good moisturizers for natural hair…

1) Jane Carter Nourish and Shine (Even though this is mostly oils and butters, it moisturizes well when applied to damp hair)
2) Shea Moisture Products (Buy at Walgreens, Target or Amazon)
3) Shea Moisture Leave In Conditioner
4) Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream
5) Oyin Hair Dew

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.

Cherry Lola Treatment 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 and baking 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.

Max Hydration Method Try The Max Hydration Method (MHM)

Let me tell you, this method is the TRUTH.

You do this treatment for 7 consecutive days or until your hair is fully hydrated. You will know because…

  1. Your hair will retain moisture very well (less product to achieve optimal moisture level)
  2. You’ll have less shrinkage
  3. Your curl pattern will pop with less frizz
  4. Your hair will be stronger (less breakage)
  5. 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.

Wash and Go Natural Hair

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 Conditioner has 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.

curl definiton from puff

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 is Giovanni.

coconut oil 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.

Hot Oil Treatment Seal In Moisture

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.

Sometimes when I’m doing a twist out, I’ll add Jane Carter Nourish and Shine to my damp hair. This combination of water and butter keeps my hair moisturized for several days.

Even though the Nourish and Shine product does not contain water, the damp hair is where the moisture comes from.

Just remember to always add oil or butter after you moisturize. Adding these products 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 Up!

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.

Hands Off!

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.

Let’s Sum it Up

I know this was a lot to absorb, so let me sum up the key points regarding moisturizing natural hair…

1) Water equals moisture. Yes, it can cause frizz, but it’s what your hair needs to maintain a good moisture level. If you don’t want to use water by itself, buy a creamier moisturizer that has water listed as the first or second ingredient.

2) Use oils and butters after you apply your moisturizer to seal.

3) Using products that contain water and butter can moisturize and seal at the same time.

4) Experiment with products. No one can tell you what specific products will work best on your hair.

5) Kinkier hair often responds better to creamier/thicker moisturizers.

6) Your hair will be drier during the winter months. You may have to re-apply moisture more often.

7) Moisturize your hair as often as you feel is needed. Everyone’s regimen will be different.

Most Popular Moisturizers on Amazon.com

ProductNamePriceRating (1-5)
ProductNamePriceRating (1-5)
Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine $$4.5
Shea Moisture Shea Butter Leave In $4.0
KeraCare - Natural Textures Butter Cream $$5.0
KoKo du lait Daily Leave In Moisturizer $$4.0
Oyin Hair Dew $$4.6
As I Am Double Butter Rich Daily Moisturizer, 8 Ounce $$4.3
Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment $$4.5
Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Oil Cream$$$5.0

Comments

  1. Rennae says

    Hi my name is Rennae. My hair has been breaking badly for over a year now and I tried all types of anti breakage oils and creams and one is yet to work. So I would like to start treating my hair with home remedies such as eggs, olive oil and honey to stop the breakage and dandruff. I would like to know if I should apply the egg mask once a week or every other day. I recently stopped straightening my hair (6months ago) and I would like to know what hair moisturizer products I should start using since I am going natural now. I was thinking Shea moisturizer products. Is that a good choice? Please help a sista out! Thanks so much..

    • Hillz says

      Th breakage is usually caused by too little or too much moisture or proteins. If you want to use the eggs (protein) i would advice you to use it once a month then gradually reducing to once every two months. After every protein treatment follow up with a moisturizing treatment. Deep condition your hair every week for 30 to 45 minutes.
      What ever you choose to do, just remember, too much or too little of either protein or moisture will make your hair dry then it will break.

      You can also spritz your hair with water daily to add moisture in between your wash days.

      Hope this helps :)

  2. Jill says

    This is my personal experience only!

    The results I got from kitchen remedies were uneven and mostly disappointing given the expense, hassle, and short shelf life. Right now, I use either Pantene’s cowash or Tropic Isle’s Castor Oil shampoo for regular use, and occasionally I wash with Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint liquid soap to stimulate the scalp and get the cowash residue off it. Overall, I suggest finding a good routine that minimizes moisture loss (cowash or get some kind of water on your hair at least three times a week) and use a good pomade or oil to soften the hair so that it bends instead of breaks. The idea of “sealing” moisture in with oil is one that I’ve found to be illusory at best. “Sealed” at 1:00 p.m. is just “dry and greasy” by 4:00.

    Finally, I found that maintaining the integrity of the hair helps it be less porous and less susceptible to drying out. For me, that means no combing! I finger smooth with Tropic Isle Coconut Castor oil on my fingertips and separate the hair that way. I only do this when the hair is dry – wet handling leads to a lot of stretching and later breakage. I also keep the use of curling puddings, custards, soufflees, caviars, mousses or whatever they call them to get the highest price – to a minimum. I have yet to find one that doesn’t have a drying effect on the hair after a day or so. I just use water and pomade on my hair to set twist-outs.

    It’s a cumulative thing, really. No matter what I used, I never went from dry hair to moist and fab thanks to one treatment. Hope some of this helps. Good luck.

    • Angela says

      Hi Jill! I’d love to find out more about your routine and your experience seems really similar to mine. Though I’ve only been wearing the twa for three weeks I’m really frustrated with the dryness and breakage and feel like I spend all day every couple of hours wetting it just to have the same result an hour or two later. I’ve used and spent a ton on Design Essentials leave in conditioner, design essentials hydrating moisturizer with Argan oil, coconut oil Shea mousse, Eco. I’m so frustrated I’m considering getting it flat ironed and giving up.
      Do you have any recs? I love my curls and curl pattern but can’t take the dryness and breakage.

      Help! Angela

  3. Gigi Griggs says

    Can you tell me what’s the best way to figure out what my curl pattern is, and what I can do to change it… i.e. I want looser curls, and my curls are very tight… although more wavy than a full curl in areas where the hair is longer… I’m new to this natural stuff. I had chemotherapy and my hair feel out, what grew back isn’t kinky, but VERY curly… I want to keep the natural look, but with a looser curl. Can you give me any tips, advice?
    Thanks so much!

    • lisa says

      There is no way to change or loosen your curls. Sometimes when you wear your hair in a stretched style for a long time, your hair will temporarily loosen up but there is no way to permanently alter your curl pattern. It’s very common to have different textures throughout your hair.

  4. CJJohnson says

    This was the most definitive overview on keeping grade 4 hair moisturizered that I’ve ever read. I’ve been natural since 1999 at 19 and have kept a fade, but for once, I am going to grow it out and honestly, it seems so intimidating. There wasn’t any info really out there in the late 90’s when I big chopped, now there is a plethora but I must say., this overview packs a punch and was full of information for someone like me.

    Thanks bunches!!!
    Wishing you well!!!
    Keep educating and blessing :-)

    • lisa says

      I agree! Information has come a long way and I applaud you for rockin’ your natural hair even before it was “the thing to do” and more socially acceptable. Good for you!

  5. mikayla says

    Hi i just recently big chopped so im not 100% sure what my hair texture is. i have about 2-3 inches of hair all around and after washing my hair and doing the LOC method i notice coils starting to form, and their pretty tight in most places and sometimes they only form at the ends in others. When i look at my hair in full view though i have a lot of hair that isnt curled at all – just frizzy., kind of like a fro but not really. Is there any way i can get my curls to start forming uniformly all around my head. I understand if i need to wait a few more months for more hair but i really dont like this half curly, half frizz/fro look.

    Also Im kind of thinking it could be from still having straight ends because sometimes i notice that sometimes my shed hair is really straight, no curl at all. What do you think?

    • lisa says

      Congrats!

      You may still have some scab hair so it could conform over time. Keep conditioning your hair regularly. Also remember we all have different textures so it could be that part of your head as a different texture. My crown is a lot less curly (more frizzy) than my back. It’s always been that way. With everyone’s hair being different it’s hard to answer with certainty.

      Not sure about the straight hairs to be honest.

  6. Jill says

    Hi, Angela! I’d suggest doing twist or braid outs for a while. Try setting with water and some sort of pomade. I’m not against the oils – not at all – but mostly I don’t find them to hold moisture very long or soften all that well. As I Am deep conditioner is a little pricey – it’ll run you around $16 and only has a few applications in it – but it helped me get out of breakage mode when I first went natural.

    Keep your twist or braid out no more than two days, then re-wet and re-braid or twist. I find that the cumulative effect of keeping the hair soft, moisturized and sorted is what matters. That’s when you’re going to retain your growth and whatever you have now will be enjoyable.

  7. Janee says

    Hello, I’ve been transitioning for about 6 months now and its getting really tough. At this point its really hard to comb, its super dry, and my edges are thinning. I don’t want to give lol. I really need some advice. I use Crème of nature shampoo and conditioner and leave in conditioner. Well its all right but it does give me moisture but it doesn’t stay.. I believe my hair type is 4c.One time I used the 2 eggs and leave in conditioner and Herbal oil ( I didn’t have olive oil) home made remedy. I believe my natural hair loved it and it had some shine and it was kinda soft and I could see some of my natural hair curl. But the next day it was back dry. I really need some help.

    • hillz says

      Hi Janee

      Managing two different hair textures z not easy. You should try keeping your hair braided for about two weeks or even 3/4 Two strand twists, three strand plaits, braids or cornrows which are much better for people who work and have certain company policies. Don’t neglect your hair, just keep the period between your comb and hair longer. Protective styles will help you get through the transitioning phase much easier.

      Thinning edges could be a sign that your hair is being pulled to tight or touched to much. Remember hair is protein and every time you touch and style and etc, the protein is lost. .Use olive oil and crushed garlic for as long as its needed. this will promote hair growth and strengthen whats left.

      Dryness can mean too much or too little protein or moisture or to much manipulation of the hair, so to tackle that, wear your hair out less to reduce the # of times you comb.
      When you use a protein treatment (eggs etc) follow with a deep conditioner that has moisturizing as the main objective. Keep the protein and moisture level balanced.
      Deep condition every week with or without a protective style.
      Use protein treatments once a month, but follow with a deep cond.
      Use steam or wrap a plastic on your head while deep cond. use cold water to rinse.
      Spray water on your hair daily or every other day.
      Don’t use to much shampoo when washing the hair.

      There are so many things on this site and on the net that can help but whats important is finding what works for your hair. keep a journal if you like, to track down what works and what doesn’t work.

      and drink lots of what
      Hope this helps

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