By Jenteel

As winter sets in it’s important to focus on moisturizing techniques as we brave the sometimes unforgiving winter weather. All the hard work done throughout the year can be diminished if one does not incorporate some “winterproofing” into our hair regimens 🙂 Try these tips and tricks to keep your hair supple.

1. Clarifying

This is an important underrated step that removes excess oils and product buildup from the hair. If you have buildup on your hair the moisturizer cannot get thru to reach the cuticle. You should clarify your hair every other month or 1x a month especially if you use heavy oils. This can be done thru a diluted 25-50% apple cider vinegar wash or half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in with your conditioner.

2. Daily Spritz

Your spritz should contain goodies like: essential oils, nutrient-rich carrier oils and water/aloe vera. It will remain fresh in the refrigerator for a week. If kept longer invest in a commercial grade preservative. Spray it on your ends every night and if needed in the morning then seal with a heavy oil.

3. Sealing with Heavy Oils

This step is important because it seals the cuticle with the moisture technique you have used. Locking in moisture with a heavy nutrient-rich oil like castor (my favorite), wheat germ, mineral oil, etc. can help prevent breakage.

4. Baggy Method

An effective technique especially in the wintertime. You can baggy the hair ends or the whole head. You can even baggy your box braids or cornrows. Apply moisturizer / conditioner to the hair and wrap ends with saran wrap or whole head with plastic cap. Then put on a hat, headwrap, put hair in a bun or attach a bun/piece to cover the ends. Watch for “soggy” hair – this can be a sign that your hair is too moist resulting in weak, fragile hair that leads to breakage.

5. Protective Styling

PS styles include braids, twists, protective hair coverings (hair pieces and headwraps) and “tucked-under” styles. Make sure to spritz/moisturize and seal the hair daily. These styles will protect your hair from “the elements” that deplete your hair of moisture.

6. Silicones

Products ending in the suffix -cone, -conol, or –xane. I don’t recommend silicones, but I mention them because silicones block out moisture and humidity. You can apply a silicone-based product after your moisturizer to lock in the moisture especially when heat styling. They prevent frizz but over time may actually cause frizz so use silicones sparingly and be sure to clarify after using them.

Have you tried any of these tips? How do you keep moisture locked into your strands in the colder months?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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41 Comments on "6 Tips for Locking in Moisture"

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Hiiii! 🙁 i need your help! Do you think it is safe to use “Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo” (Organic Root Stimulator brand) while transitioning?? I’ve been using SheaMoisture line of shampoos but is wondering whether or not my scalp needs clarifying from time to time. Thanks in advance!! #subscriber

okay, so i have something shocking to tell you guys. Yesterday, I had just retwisted my hair after a failed attempt to lock (only able to stick in for 8 weeks).Mind you, when you are in the baby lock stage.. theres no DCing or leave ins. Maybe a a daily water spritz. But theres mostly shampooing and a little oil. For the first month, I couldn’t even wash my hair. For the next four weeks , I shampooed (w/ any shampoo including sulfates) and added coconut oil every two weeks. You would think after this taking my hair out would… Read more »

Great story 🙂 I love it when we discover something awesome about our hair.

I actually experienced the same thing when I tried to loc my hair last August. I didn’t do anything but oil my hair & spritz with water every couple days. Then when I took them down 1 month later, my hair was SUPER moisturized, lol.


“is no manipulation and a dusting all it took for me to have great lengths?”

yep…i lived in no manipulation styles as a kid and had very long hair. I need to remember this as my hair gets longer. Although I admit my hair loves DC. So, any update?


I find that the cool and seal deep conditioning technique that I picked up from Ouidad (link below) seems to be very helpful in helping my hair retain moisture without weighing down my fine strands. I often only need to remoisturize once or twice during the week if I’m wearing my hair in protective styles.



I wish you had more style icons and tips for people with different types of mixed/biracial hair. My friend and I love this website and all of the beautiful hairstyles but find the advice and practicality of the majority of the hairstyles not very useful. We’re black girls too 🙂


How about just leaving your hair alone. Maybe we are naturally supposed have dry hair? Not a big greasy Afro with a bag over it!


Well, damn. Lol.


lol I’ve come to that realization too. Afro-textured hair is naturally dry and will always be that way, but there are ways to increase moisture retension (ACV rinses, protective styling, etc).

Sometimes leaving your hair alone is the best thing, lol.

D.P. (at Dove)
Dove, there could absolutely be some truth to that (which is why I gave you a thumbs up for your opinion). However, from what I’ve seen from this website and many other successful women with beautiful heads of hair, moisture is the way to go. If you read through the style icons a lot of them mention the first time they had the moisturizing epiphany, before that it was dry hay like hair that broke, itched and fell out in clumps. Science evolves, nature evolves, the world evolves (evolves as in learns and grows, not necessarily ‘evolution’ evolve). We learn… Read more »

i also enjoyed using the Oyin handmade Greg’s juce mixed with a little grapseed oil. i would use this as a refresher for my twist.

my moisture routine and i also do my hair in this order. apply my oil mix (castor oil, shea butter, grapeseep oil & coconut oil)and my conditioner (i use eluecence moisturizing conditioner). Cover with plastic cap for 45 minutues or so. Rinse and proceed with my co-washing (using herbal essence hello hydration). after co-washing i apply a leave in conditioner mixed with coconut oil. This really helps with detangling. after applying the leave in mix i proceed to two strand twist my hair using eco styler gel w/ olive oil and Afroveda curl & define. i’ve found that the key… Read more »

Isn’t putting baking soda in your hair bad according to kimmaytube, it changes the pH balance of the hair and it is also too abrasive.


Great suggestions! When I added aloe vera juice to my water/oil mixture…it made my oil become more solid! Lol, probably because it is cold. Any suggestions?


Gayle Allen

I ended up taking out the aloe vera gel and just did distilled or rose water to spritz, then added dab of oil on top. Putting oil in a spritz bottle made it to thick to spritz.

Gayle Allen

Oops, forgot to say I added glycerin to the spritz. I’m trying a pudding and so far it’s ok but have to to be careful of the amount; my hair can get crunchy if too many layers of products are added.


She mentions using a commercial grade preservative for the Daily Spritz. Can someone recommend one and where to purchase it?


Vitamin E oil could work.


Thanks, Tanya. I suppose it could work as a more natural preservative. But I’m wondering about the commercial grade stuff that would work, too.


I am still struggling to understand how twists that take 5+ hours is considered a low manipulation style while wash-and-gos that takes 15 minutes a day (total for 7 days – ~2 hours) is considered a high manipulation style.


Hello June,

I think once your hair is braided or twisted, you can leave the hair alone and just moisterize when needed. I know initially, it takes a a few hours to do but then you just focus on moisterizing your hair. I never tried a wash and go because IMO, my hair texture would get tangled and I do not want detangle my hair again.


I think that twists can be considered high manipulation because of the method of putting them in and taking them down. What would make them protective is the fact that ou can keep them in for a long period of time.

Hi, June! I wear twist almost exclusively. There are several reasons they’re low manipulation. Once they’re done, you don’t have to manipulate (with styling)the hair again for at least a week or more. I wear mine for several weeks, and wash my hair with them in as well. Twisting may take a while, but the entire head of hair is not being manipulated during that time. Each twist is contacted for a very short period of time. With wash and go’s, all of the hair is being touched, pulled, scrunched (or whatever different method is preferred) to achieve the desired… Read more »
The Natural Haven
Wash and gos do not go well with my hair (fine, 4abcxyz, very kinky, 12 inches). The reason why twists/braids are low manipulation is that they prevent hair from tangling. If you are doing a daily wash and go, you will be tangling and detangling your hair daily. If you wear twists or braids, you only tangle and detangle at the take down and rebraid stage. So for example if you are doing a daily wash and go, you have at least 7 tangling and detangling events in that week. If you are twisting you have only one in that… Read more »

Oops! I guess I have been doing it wrong because I only detangle once a week. I smooth my conditioners onto my hair during the week and rarely use stylers because I hate crunch.


what if you have a twa? like me what are you suppose to do for the winter time. please don’t suggest any type of fake hair because i don’t wear it.


Good point. I feel so many articles seem to not take into account TWAs. When I cut my locs, I felt most hair advice did not apply to me, such as protective styling.

Annie L.

I did coils/coil-outs and 2-strand twists/twist-outs when I cut down to 1 inch (stretched), it worked great for me.




I have a TWA (6-7″ of hair, shrunken). I do most of the steps mentioned. I moisturize my hair with a leave-in (after I rinse with cool water), seal with an oil (currently using castor oil) and then I keep my hair braided in plaits. Most of the time when I go out, I will wear a turban or a hat, because of the braids. So I wouldn’t know a protective style to wear besides extensions or wigs. Sorry!

My hair is about 2.5 inches. I haven’t been able to seal in moisture either, not the way in which the ladies with longer hair describe. But a pre-poo, I’ve found, prevents the hair from ever becoming too dry, even when I shampoo. I plaster on castor oil and shea butter (as heavy as they are) with honey and coconut oil until the hair is sticky and heavy, put a plastic cap on overnight, wrap with a towel, and then co-wash/wash in the morning. The oil really conditions, moistens and softens the hair overnight, and prevents the stripping feeling that… Read more »

Naptural85 has a video on
DIY Homemade Natural Shine Enhancing, Moisturizing Deep Conditioner | Detangling Cream Greek Yogurt that might be good to try as well.


The clarifying step is a really important one. I see this mistake made by rookies all the time: They load up their hair with all this stuff trying to make it soft only to find that their hair is still crunchy and dry. Too much product can be as bad as too little. Now that said…sometimes heavy oils can be TOO heavy. If your hair still feels crunchy, and the oil seems to be sliding off instead of penetrating, try using a lighter oil. Conversely, if you apply an oil and it doesn’t seem like it did anything — like… Read more »

@Stephanie: The advice is to take down or untuck braids or twists and moisturize the ends, not to un-braid or un-twist your hair. For example, if you have box braids and you’re wearing them gathered in a bun, you would undo the bun and moisturize the ends.

Thanks for the tips, my hair tend to be dry especially since it’s color. I tried Castor oil to lock in moisture and it works wonderfully, I put it in my hair regimen along with Olive oil (for my pre-poo), Rose hip oil and Jojoba oil. I had used apple cider vinegar when my hair were shorter and I’m thinking about going back to use it as a clarifying. My brother uses baking soda for his hair, I thought about trying but then I read an article saying than baking soda wasn’t close to our hair acidic ph nor neutral… Read more »
Gayle Allen
Baking Soda dried my hair out. I stopped used ACV rinses this summer because I started to get this pond scum substance in the crown of my hair after I pour it on; did it twice. I don’t remember that happening before. I did do it with conditioner still end, don’t know??? I use to love it? Now I’m using Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo diluted with lots of water, applied with an applicator bottle just to my scalp and then just squished down through my twist. It cleans my scalp which tends to get a little itchy. Any advice on… Read more »
I use the ACV (30%) in water (70%) and spritz it all over the scalp, and then smooth a bit over the hair itself, and leave for about 10-15 minutes. I do this mainly after a pre-poo, right before co-washing, maybe once a week. Of course, the ACV gets “washed out” by the conditioner. I only shampoo once a month, and I think the ACV helps to clarify and condition both the hair and the scalp. I never get itchy scalp anymore. You could try that. For a post-wash rinse, though, I read that burdock root tea (burdock root boiled… Read more »

I really think the quote under protective styling should be reworded. Who is going to get twists or braids (either natural or with extensions) done for 4 hours, only to take them down “daily to spritz/moisturize and seal”?


I will like to know after the apple cider vinegar wash or half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in the conditionner,I have to rince it again or I could leave it?

Annie L.

I leave rinses like ACV in without following it up/rinsing out with water and have had a lot of success, no odor etc. No advice on baking soda, the last time I used it (while permed) my hair fell out in my hands.