By Jc of The Natural Haven

Keeping hair moisturised between washings is a constant battle for some. Getting smart about the products you use, the order in which they are applied as well as factors that people rarely think about (timing and amount of product) can turn this from a battle to a simple ordered process.

In scientific terms, moisturising hair is quite easy simply because it is hygroscopic (Chem. Soc. Rev., 36, pp 1282–1291, 2007) . This means that as long as there is some water surrounding the hair, the hair fibre will try to pick it up and hold on to it. The difficult part is that unless you live in a humid region, you have to create your own humidity around your hair.

The first thing that many experienced naturals already know is that there are three substances that will have the greatest effect in helping moisturise your hair between washings. These are water, oil and humectants. Here are the tips and tricks to getting the best from these ingredients.

1. Order your layers

Some naturals apply products in random order or can successfully moisturise with just a single product. However, if you struggle with hair getting very dry two to three days after washing it might help for you to begin ordering the way you apply the moisturising products.

The ideal order is water, oil and then optionally a water based moisturiser or a humectant based spray (honey, glycerin and aloe vera are the ingredients you want to look for add to your moisturiser). There is a great choice of oils and moisturisers that you could choose from, base your choice on how well the product works on your hair.

This ordering gives your hair the maximum chance to stay moisturised for longer, by giving water an ample chance to enter and stay trapped near the surface of hair.

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70 Comments on "4 Steps to Sealing in Moisture"

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ADRZ
I tried LCO before it didn;t work on my high porous hair. Even water alone, make my hair dry in about 10 mins or so. If I try detangle hair with water, it feel so dry! I tried LOC method..I am starting to understand why it works better because she said water only stay seal in if u use oil after that. But oil will need cream to be sealed. Water may be moisturzer (true one) but it also need helper that is why you see in many water-based that water comes with oil and it ends up looking creamy.… Read more »
Liza

I always use water, leave in conditioner and then shea butter for a sealant but end up with dry hair 3 days later. I do have drier hair so i know I’ll have to moisturize often. I have been spraying with rosewater after the 3 days so I don’t have to add more product. I’m going to try the new order next time and see if it works. Thanks!
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ITSROBERTA
I just have to say that I was very disappointed in/with the direction this topic move to… We as women of color shouldn’t be so quick to respond in such negative ways, the discussion then becomes just that and then there is no positive discussion or solutions around the topic for readers. Also, for those who felt like the book wasn’t helpful for them, simple just gifted it someone else who it maybe helpful to and not get on sites and blast the writer. We are always so quick to judge, put down, attack, etc. our own people and that… Read more »
Sharon Robinson

After washing or rinising, I squeeze out all the excess water with a paper towel or a towel that does not leave lint. Then I liguify some coconut oil or shea butter and I apply to my scalp and massage. Then I let the remaining oil and water air dry. I put a little oil between my hands and rub all over my hair. Now I am ready to go!

Sonya

I have super tight, coarse, 4c hair that i’m struggling to keep moisturized when it’s not in twist. Will you method work for me?

caribbeancurl

Lol i am in the process of twisting my hair when i read the “15 mins wait point”. Here i was wetting each section then immediately oiling. Guess who spritz the entire head then oil each section after the wait?

nelle
thank you thank you thank you jc. I hope you see my post past whatever is going on ^^^ up there! This makes sense to me. I’ve done it before, when I was on vacation. I used the oyin berry spray after i put oil and it was sooooo soft. I FORGOT all about that. Then when Leila stopped selling oyin on bglh (side eye for you Leila). I haven’t really bought their products but I MISS the honey hemp conditioner and their other products for their humectant qualities. sigh. All is right in my hair world now.
sweetpea

I have tried the water then oil way but my hair is moist only when the water is there once it dries up my hair feels oily but not soft. im i doing something wrong, is there like a method that works, if so please share it. I use coconut oio and Olive oil.

nelle

I don’t know, but maybe the oils you’re using is too heavy? have you tried jojoba oil?

CaliBklyn

Natural for 20+years…I’m new to the “Black hair” blogging, sites, and…fights. Oh my. can we start by respecting one another. .we get it *you’re smart….congrats, now relax. I’m gonna buy the book in support of the sister who was clever enough to make it happen. AND i’m gonna try BOTH methods of sealing my ABC123 hair.
*the yous mentioned refer to no one in particular OK
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more

You really make it appear really easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be actually one thing that I believe I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I am having a look ahead in your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

Kaye

I’m more confused than ever. None of this made sense to me, except the importance of sealing in moisture. I felt like Jack Carter in an episode of Eureka.

Ebone

I’ve been spraying a water/Olive oil/peppermint mix in my hair then using vegetable glycerin as a sealant. Did i just combine 2 steps into 1 or should I leave the olive oil out of my water mix?

Christianna

My regimen for sealing moisture is quite simple. After I put my hair in a protective style before bed, I mist my ends, targeting my ends with aloe vera and water mixture. Then seal it with EVOO. It works great. my hair is so soft and doesn’t feel dry at the end of the day. It’s cold where I live and for my hair to still feel extremely soft and moisturized all day is great.

Kendra

I tried the 15 minute wait along with the loc method…definitely felt a difference! I’ve taken up swimming recently and even with pre-pooing, washing and deep conditioning right after and regular henna gloss treatments, my hair was still a little drier than usual. I think i will be adding this change to my permanent routine, and now I won’t have to give up swimming!

embracingnatural

I LOVE this method! When I first heard about it– I was confused, but the author is right on with how you layer products. Just give it a try if you battle dryness.

Zoopath

After I wash my hair I apply and cream leave in conditioner then shea butter to do my twists. I don’t use a shower cap and my hair stays moisturized for two weeks until I wash it again.

hyspin
The funny thing about the 15 minutes long specification is I probably do it without knowing it. But I find that they are missing something increasing your use of a thick sealant in drier climates and seasons. I have to mix in castor and shea butter on my ends or about half way down the shaft or all that advice means nothing especially for the winter months in Canada. I also find that adding a oil rinse near the end of the washing/conditioning process keeps the hair moist longer (for styling and steps 1 and 3), which is necessary for… Read more »
O0oro0O

Good to know I’ll try to wait 15 minutes to see.

Right now I’m in twist and untill my first wash I use flaxseed gel as a moisturizer followed by kukui oil. Btw do you think I should wait 15 minutes after the flaxseed gel application or it’s just useful with water ?

Natalie

I used to wait quite a while after coming from the shower to seal in the moisture but I think it is better to seal in the moisture with oil whilst the hair is a bit damp if your hair has dried out then adding an oil will not seal in anything.
I spritz then shower then use my homemade moisturiser dress and then seal with oil but my hair is still damp by the time I seal with the oil.

nelle

this is a good technique as well

Leticia

Makes sense.

Natalie
Through trail and error I now use this system for daily moisturising. I make up my own little tea spritz and use it on my hair then have a shower after my shower I apply my home made moisturiser which is about 25% glycerine, I hate the sticky feel but my hair loves it. I let the moisturiser soak for about 10 minutes whilst I do my makeup and get dressed then I pour my oil mix into the palm of my hand and apply it to my hair. I don’t use a lot of product but I do spritz… Read more »
mangomadness

To moisturize, I use a water-based,creamy leave-in conditioner/moisturizer that contains glycerin and oil/butters. Then, I seal my ends with castor oil.

J Kenn (SpeakingTALL)

My only thing with moisturizing, is that I need to do it consistently. I usually drench my twists with water (although, I don’t let it sit for 15 minutes, maybe I’ll try that one day). And, then I slap on an All-Purpose moisturizer with both oil and a cream based product. I usually bun my hair afterwards to keep the ends protected. That usually does the trick–my hair is still moisturized by the end of the day.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

I follow this process and I don’t have dry hair. I go from one way day to the next without moisturizing.

The question I have is 15 mins?? If you are spritzing, then I would think by 15 minutes the water would have dried/evaporated. In order for it to sit 15 mins on my head, it would have to have saturated. Or maybe have a plastic cap on for the 15 mins it’s been spritzed? You may have said so in the post but I’m a scanner 🙂

The Natural Haven

lol go back and read it Michelle…..I did answer it 🙂

Tyler

I’m scratching my head at the 15 minute rule as well because for me I have to style my hair while its wet, or the curls will go frizzy. By 15 minutes my hair would be damp in some parts and very near to dry in other parts. *Shrug* I guess its worked for somebody. Maybe that one depends on the style you want to do. I can see it working for a bun maybe, I a wash and go? No way.

Lydia

I have tried the oil or butter last method but my hair is always dry after a day or two so I will try making the moisturizer the last stage to see whether this works better for me. I am also guilty of too much product so I will definitely make adjustments. Great tips

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NiLi

Great article. Tyler, what if my moisturizer contains oil? Does it still affect the hydration process? Thanks!

Tyler

Thats a question no one has been able to give me a clear answer to so far. Just to be safe, when I mix my Kmmaytube Leave In (conditioner plus aloe vera gel) I leave out the oils and apply those afterwards.

Tabs

Most effective moisturizers contain oil. You can still use oil to seal afterwards.

I go the water, water based moisturizer (LOVE Garnier Fructis leave in) and then coconut oil. I only moisturize on wash day. Twist out lasts all week.

African Violet

That’s my process as well. After my hair washing, I use Giovanni’s Direct Leave-In followed by my argan oil.

Onebyd
@Tyler & K I always thought this about oil as welland practiced it for quite some time, but for the past several months I have been doing the loc method by Chicoro which stands for liquid, oil & cream and have seen fantastic results in terms of my hair retaining moisture for much longer periods. I only need to mositurize my hair once during the week if I take my hair down from its protective style of two large cornrows but normally I only moisturize on wash day and I am good for the entire week. If you want more… Read more »
Janaya

That’s a sikflull answer to a difficult question

cygnet
Actually, as I think about it, if the liquid is water, the oil is applied at Jc’s suggested amount of a max teaspoon for all your ends, and the cream is a water-based moisturizer, why could not Chiccoro and Jc be actually using different words to describe the same process? That makes sense to me. Based on my own experience, it’s also the only way I’m using plain water as any sort of moisturizer! Otherwise, that ain’t working for me :-). But to follow these specific steps, okay, I’ll try it a few times and see what my hair does… Read more »
Jo Somebody

I saw a video by Black Onyx on the LOC method. I got the impression that she was the one that made up the acronym herself. Whoever started the idea, I keep forgetting to break out of my normal habit (oil last) and try it! Next time I wash my hair I MUST remember to give it a go.

mangomadness
EG

THANK YOU, this is the second time you’ve helped me…your advice on glycerin was on point, thanks. 🙂

mangomadness

You’re most welcome! 🙂

EG

I could not find it, it’d be great if you could post it. Blackonyx is one of my favorites and she is very knowledgeable.

k

thnx

Alexandra

Thanks, I will try this out.

k

@ Tyler…I wondered about that step as well but I will try the 15 min application of water and I’m definitely guilty of the oil slick on the pillow! lol I know I have some tweaking to do with my reggie cuz my hair does get dry pretty fast and working in A/C doesn’t help might invest in a wig since my hair needs some TLC

Tyler

Water, oil, and then water based moisturizer? As far as I know oil always comes after the moisturizer. According to Audrey Sivasothy of “The Science of Black Hair” if you apply oil before your moisturizer you are creating a barrier that keeps the moisture from getting in. Thats why most naturals put oil on last to “seal” in the moisture. Please revisit this so others don’t get confused.

WhoisAudrey
I’m not sure if my comments were understood. If she is a scientist as stated why doesn’t her name have a title behind it? Did she really do scientific research or is her book based on others Scientific Research, vlogs, Blogs, stylist knowledge and Natural Hair Communities on the www. Even with her clearly writing “The Science of Black Hair is a work that has truly been the creation of many” and number of references in the back of her book (59 Reference to be exact) based on your responses it seems you really do not care if she wrote… Read more »
WhoisAudrey
The so called author of The Science of Black Hair recently went natural. In 2011 to be specific. Her book is not a study of hers but research of other peoples research. It’s crazy how top Youtubers LIED stating that she was a scientist who studied natural hair when in reality she just have a degree in science. Everything in her book is based on OTHERS trails and fails and research. Don’t believe this, read her introduction. Page 15 “The Science of Black Hair is a work that has truly been a creation of many. The list of individuals to… Read more »
Tonisha

Dont all scientists conduct experiments on people OTHER than themselves?
By doing this I believe she’s allowed her findings to remain UNBIASED. I mean come on, really, who would want to buy a book based on ONE person’s trials and fails on her OWN head.
She followed the rules of scientific experiment (I have not read the book, but YOU said she did) and recorded and compiled her findings.
She did it the RIGHT way.

Tyler

Very true. And besides, the book was titled “The Science of BLACK Hair” not the Science of Natural Hair. Black hair includes natural, heat straightened, and yes…relaxed. Audrey addressed all of these and made no claims to be natural herself. To judge a book not based of what it says it offers but by your own expectations is ridiculous.

The Natural Haven
Tyler actually I did input two scientific references from actual scientific journals in this piece. I am a scientists and I have a PhD, so I value sourced information above anything else. The journals I referenced in this piece are serious scientific journals, where 3 other scientists examine manuscripts sent in to them before publishing. Books are a great reference, especially when well written and well referenced (like the Chemical and Physical Behaviour of Hair by Clarence Robbins who is a world renowed scientist and the book is a collective piece reviewing hair knowledge comprehensively). I think the sad part… Read more »
Tyler

I didn’t notice the scientific references, I apologize. And yes I do agree with you about us paying too much attention to the “gurus” and not enough to serious scientific research.

OMG

Exactly! It’s just like most things. People believe what they want to believe and there will always be people who will capitalize on that fact. A sucker for suckers.

cygnet
Forgive me if my inference is incorrect, but you seem outraged over the “LIE” that was repeated by many Youtubers and by the way Ms. Sivasothy collected and presented the information in the volume that bears her name. Were you that unaware of just how common are the behaviors you’re protesting? The confusion between having a professional degree and being the professional is rampant; probably half your acquaintances—I know it’s been true for a lot of mine—at any given time have made this assumption about someone’s profession based on a degree. And as easily as it is disproved in those… Read more »
cygnet
Thanks for the heads-up about the reading card, Siri. I’ll try to keep that in mind :-). WhoIsAudrey, I’m sorry that the book, both in terms of paper and ink and in terms of the actual information, were so much less than you expected. You both point out that you have a lengthy experience among the Natural Hair Community, and I salute you. As for the others among the NHC below whose expectations the book fell, perhaps they would have reached Siri’s conclusions and saved themselves money had they previewed it in a library, as she did, but that’s water… Read more »
WhoIsAudrey
@Tyler, EG, Cygnet My reply was in reference to Tyler giving all praises and no one knows about hair but Audrey Sivasothy statement. “As far as I know oil always comes after the moisturizer. According to Audrey Sivasothy of “The Science of Black Hair” if you apply oil before your moisturizer you are creating a barrier that keeps the moisture from getting in. Thats why most naturals put oil on last to “seal” in the moisture. Please revisit this so others don’t get confused.” As I said earlier Top Youtubers LIED stating that this woman was a scientist who had… Read more »
Tyler

Lol. WhoisAudrey…who are YOU? That comment looks way to long, hostile, and not worth reading. You mad though? I’m not singing anyone’s praises, I just thought I’d give one more reference than this article did. A reference that made sense to ME. And I’ll kindly ask that you leave my name out of any of your ridiculous following comments.

Siri
Lol. It’s ironic that you wrote this because I was definitely at the Library of Congress today reading The Science of Black. After reading the book I agree with WhoIsAudrey, the book, while great for beginners aggregates a lot of information on black hair that is available on blogs, YouTube, and in other books. In fact, after being natural for 7 years and also being a member of the online black hair community, I learned nothing new from that book and if I bought it for myself I would consider it a waste of money. I will buy the book… Read more »
Natalie

+1
I bought this book and it was a waste of money everything in it I had read somewhere else, I’d sell it but with the charges from Amazon I’d be better off keeping it, I doubt I’ll buy another hair book again. I only bought it because KimmayTube recommended it, I won’t be taking her book review advice again.

Tyler

Hey, nothing is stopping the people on Youtube, blogs, and natural hair communities from writing books about their own “trail, fails and research.” And she DID obviously acknowledge this in her book. I say more power to her.

EG

Not only that, Wanake, Cathy Howse, Kimmayutbe, Cipriana etc. are not scientists, but I and many others hav benefited from their advice. I love science, but in my opinion, a laymen person is just as capable of offering sound advice as a hair scientist.

Ames

Using oil then applying a leave in/moisturizer worked for me last winter, so yes, different strokes for different folks.

EG

Unfortunately a lot of conflicting information is shared on this site, but to be fair, that seems to be common with other sites as well. I think that it’s because black hair is still a new frontier, and as a result, ‘experts’ tend to contradict each other. Try to take things with a grain of salt, and experiment only if you want to, but don’t get intimidated by someone’s title.

The Natural Haven
I do not think black hair is a new frontier at all. I have been natural for over 10 years so I remember the old days when membership to forums like LHCF and Nappturality were free. In those days, the same ideas we discuss now were being discussed. I have also seen very old scientific papers going back to the 1920s which were accurately describing the structure of black hair. So black hair is not that novel to me. I actually think that it is the modern movement from about two years ago when a lot of women joined the… Read more »
EG
Several people have tried to crack the code to why black hair wouldn’t grow (at least that’s what we thought the problem was). I’ve read about CJ Walker, Cathy Howse and Wanake. While all of these women made great strides (Cathy has been named who’s who in the world for her research), you had to do your homework to know about her or her products. With the help of the web, we now have information readily available, and it’s like a whole new world/frontier to a lot of women. Women (en masse) are now learning about moisturizing, length retention, the… Read more »
Mai
There is a lot of “conflicting information” because different things work for different people. Those on YouTube, forums, and blogs are giving information that has worked for them which may not work for you or I. There is nothing wrong with that nor are some (I won’t say all) posing as experts. Hair care in general is very varied regardless of race. I dormed with 3 white women in college and the also had hair care problems and took care of their hair differently. Also,in my opinion, there is a code to black hair but that code is unique to… Read more »
The Natural Haven
Many water based moisturizers contain humectants which can absorb water from the air. By allowing the water based moisturiser access to air, you help it to continually pick up moisture. By covering it in oil, you limit the amount of moisture it can pick up later from the air. Of course if your hair likes the water based moisturiser first, feel free to put it down underneath the oil. Some naturals do not use a moisturiser at all finding that water or a water/glycerin mix and oil are sufficient. There are no hard and fast rules, do what makes you… Read more »
Siri
I think it is important to remember “different strokes for different folks.” While that is the general technique and works for many naturals, that technique doesn’t work for every natural. I myself have given myself “oil steams” which is when I apply coconut oil to my hair and then take a shower letting the steam help the oil penetrate my hair shaft. It is one of my tried and true methods and always helps when my hair is dry. There is a lot of information out there for naturals and it is a double edged sword – that one “perfect”… Read more »
Alexandra

I agree with Tyler. It makes more sense to add oil at the end to help keep the moisture trapped.

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