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 »

“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?


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.


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!

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 »

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.


Well, damn. Lol.


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.

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 week.… 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.

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 »

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.


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.


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.

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 »

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!

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.




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.


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.