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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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.  It… Read more »

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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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 is… 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!


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?


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?

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.

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.


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


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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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!


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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.

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 »

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 ?


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.


this is a good tech­nique as well


Makes sense.

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 »

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 :)


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.


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


[…] This arti­cle may be use­ful for you 4 Steps to Seal­ing in Mois­ture | Black Girl with Long Hair […]


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


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.


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.

@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 »

That’s a sik­flull answer to a dif­fi­cult ques­tion

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 with… 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.


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


You’re most wel­come! :)


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.




Thanks, I will try this out.


@ 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


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.

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 »
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 »

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.


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 about… Read more »

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.


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.

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 »
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 under the… Read more »
@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 »

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.

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 »

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.


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.


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.


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


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 nat­ur­al… Read more »
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 »
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 hap­py,… Read more »
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 »

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


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