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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let me tell you, this method is the TRUTH and I have pictures below to prove it works.
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 shrinkage
- Your curl pattern will pop with less frizz
- Your 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.
I got great results doing it every other day but I probably would have had better results doing it daily.
Once your hair reaches maximum hydration then you won’t need to do this as often.
MHM has 5 steps…
If this is your FIRST time doing the treatment start with the Cherry Lola Treatment I described above on the first day only and skip step 1 of MHM below. Don’t do the Cherry Lola Treatment and step 1 (below) together because they cancel each other out. For the remaining days you will do ALL steps below.
Step 1) Clarify your hair with a mixture of 1 to 3.5 oz. of silicon-free, natural conditioner (I use TRESsemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner with Aloe and Avocado) and 1-3 tablespoons of baking soda. You can buy the conditioner at any drugstore.
If your hair is fairly clean or sensitive to baking soda, limit the amount you use.
You can also use a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar (the Braggs brand is great) and water. I didn’t try this option. I always use conditioner and baking soda.
Section your hair in at least 4 sections and add the mixture to your hair from root to tip. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse out with warm water.
This step helps clean your hair (baking soda or apple cider vinegar) without stripping it of moisture (conditioner adds moisture).
Step 2) Warm up a silicon-free conditioner, moisturizing conditioner like Knot Today in the microwave for 10 seconds. (Do not put the bottle in the microwave. Put it in a microwave-safe container and heat that way.)
Apply to wet hair in sections and let sit under a shower cap for 15-20 minutes. You can also apply room-temp conditioner, wear a plastic cap, wrap up your hair in a silk scarf and sleep with conditioner overnight.
Rinse out. Detangle in the shower while rinsing (preferably with your fingers).
Step 3) Mix one cup of Bentonite Clay powder (buy at health store or online) and 2-3 cups of warm water. (Feel free to add a tablespoon of honey and olive oil for extra moisture.) The consistency should be slightly thicker than yogurt. Add more clay or water as needed.
If you have a blender or Nutribullet, you may want to use that for mixing. It works better than a spoon or whisk.
Apply to wet hair in sections and very carefully with a towel handy (because it’s very messy). Be sure to lift up sections of your hair and be sure this clay is distributed root to tip.
The clay is detoxifying your hair and prepping it to absorb and retain moisture.
Step 4) While your hair is soaking wet (and I do mean soaking wet), apply a silicon-free conditioner one section at a time. I prefer Knot Today.
If you are doing a wash and go, rinse your hair for a quick second (literally) under the shower after applying.
Step 5) Immediately apply a botanical gel on soaking wet hair. I use Kinky Curly Curly Custard (buy at Target or online). Do NOT use gel with protein like Eco Styler. It should be a botanical, natural gel.
The wetter your hair is when applying, the better the product will disolve and not leave that cakey residue.
I would NOT recommend waiting until you are out of the shower. Apply the gel IMMEDIATELY.
You can shingle it through small sections if you want for extreme definition, but I just apply generously by raking through each section one or two time. This is best for a fuller look. It takes me 5 minutes total to apply the 2 products.
Let hair air dry.
If you don’t like gel, you can apply a natural oil if you wish.
As you go through this treatment, you will find your hair needs less and less conditioner and gel to bring out your definition and stay moisturized.
Here’s my hair after the first day. Notice it’s still fairly dry and doesn’t have much definition.
You can tell that my hair was still pretty dry here.
Here’s another pic after day one. Curls are definitely there, but they aren’t super defined.
Now, check out my hair (it is completely dry) after the 3rd day of doing the max hydration treatment. See how my curls are stretched (bangs really hanging down) and my curls are poppin!!
Normally I have crazy product residue with wash and go’s. But because my hair is moisturized, I needed less product. That’s also why you MUST add product while your hair is soaking wet…. especially if your hair is fairly thick and kinky.
Many people don’t do this and that’s why they complain about how wash and go’s don’t work for certain textures. Not true. When your hair is moisturized and you apply products to sopping wet hair, it works better.
If you follow the steps for MHM (please don’t skip any), you will notice a difference in your hair’s moisture level, especially if you have low porosity hair that doesn’t hold moisture well.
Big shout out to Pinketube for introducing me to this method. Check out her results too. Amazing!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
|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|