Mois­ture is crit­i­cal for the growth, health and strength of nat­u­ral hair. But it can be elu­sive for some. You apply mois­tur­iz­ing prod­ucts to your hair in the morn­ing and find your strands are dry by the late after­noon. Well, there are many inter­nal and envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors that con­tribute to mois­ture deple­tion. Here are 7 to look out for

1. Dehydration

No sur­prise here. Water plays a crit­i­cal role in how our body func­tions. Ehow.com con­trib­u­tor Tiesha What­ley sum­ma­rizes it per­fect­ly:

Water is essen­tial for the health of hair for a num­ber of rea­sons. The hair is one quar­ter water. That fact alone should accen­tu­ate how impor­tant water is for the hair. Water also car­ries vital vit­a­mins to the hair root and hydrates the entire hair strand from the inside. Water is the main source of ener­gy for hair cells, includ­ing the cells that gen­er­ate new hair growth. Water also clears the body from pol­lu­tants, which also cause hair loss. With­out prop­er hydra­tion, you will see dry­ness in your hair and skin that can only be restored by drink­ing 8 to 10 glass­es of water a day.

Incor­po­rate water into your dai­ly diet as a base line mois­tur­iz­er for your hair.

2. Sleeping with your hair uncovered at night

While you’re get­ting your 8 hours of beau­ty rest mois­ture is evap­o­rat­ing from your strands into the night air. That’s why hair can feel dry and straw-like after being slept on, uncov­ered, for hours. You can slow down the evap­o­ra­tion process by cov­er­ing your hair at night, there­by keep­ing mois­ture locked in.

3. Wearing “out” styles in non-humid weather

In dry heat (desert-like con­di­tions) or dry cold (com­mon win­ter weath­er) “out styles” like fros and puffs expose indi­vid­u­al strands to the ele­ments, speed­ing up the evap­o­ra­tion process and pro­vid­ing no atmos­pher­ic mois­ture to replace the lost H2O. Styles like twists, corn­rows and updos, on the oth­er hand, ‘hide’ strands, expos­ing a small­er per­cent­age of your hair to the ele­ments.

4. Blowdrying with high heat

Blowdry­ing works by speed­ing up the evap­o­ra­tion of mois­ture from both the cuti­cle (sur­face) AND cor­tex of the hair. No won­der extreme blowdry­ing leads to brit­tle hair and break­age.

5. Porous hair

Porous hair has cuti­cles that are nat­u­ral­ly raised mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for them to trap mois­ture in the cor­tex (the inner-part of your strand). Nat­u­rals with porous hair often find that their hair can suck up a lot of mois­ture, but lose it just as quick­ly. To cor­rect this, try using Roux Poros­i­ty Con­trol Cor­rec­tor And Con­di­tion­er..

6. Damaged cuticles

Some­times cuti­cles are dam­aged from bad hair prac­tices like exces­sive sham­poo­ing and manip­u­la­tion or using prod­ucts that are too high in pH. Since the cuti­cle serves as a “gate­keep­er’ to your cor­tex if it is dam­aged, mois­ture won’t be retained. Pro­tein treat­ments like Aphogee Two-step Treat­ment for Dam­aged Hair can tem­porar­i­ly fill in where the cuti­cle has been dam­aged and degrad­ed, assist­ing in the mois­ture reten­tion process.

7. Bleaching and hair lightening

Bleach­ing and hair light­en­ing work by rais­ing the cuti­cle and remov­ing hair col­or­ing mol­e­cules from the cor­tex. More often than not this process is irrepara­bly dam­ag­ing to the cuti­cle, leav­ing it raised thus increas­ing the poros­i­ty of the strand and dimin­ish­ing its abil­i­ty to retain mois­ture.

Ladies, what “mois­ture depleters” do you encoun­ter? How do you com­bat them?

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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47 Comments on "7 Things That Deplete Moisture From Natural Hair"

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Nessa

This is a very infor­ma­tive arti­cle. I’m real­ly strug­gling with dry hair so I’ve been search­ing online and I also came across the­se two arti­cles that I thought I’d share with any­one else expe­ri­enc­ing dry hair issues as well.

http://curlkit.com/top-reasons-hair-dry-part-one/
http://curlkit.com/top-reasons-hair-dry-part-two/

Quisha

So glad i found this site!

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Coley

That roux poros­i­ty con­trol is a joke :/

Adrienne

always spritz water and drink water too they are most impor­tant part of hair rou­tine. My hair been most­ly mois­tur­er when I had water/glyernic along with shea mois­ture cream . But I bet it has t do with me fre­quent co-wash­ing , you just have to make sure it is hyr­dat­ing and nat­u­ral ingre­di­ents (I used Nat­u­ral Gate’s and Every­day Shea conditioner—never use any Garnier’s , Aussie, Herbal Essence, etc. they are not hydrat­ing or nat­u­ral )I dc 2 or 1x a wk

Tamarr

Not even Gar­nier? They have many nat­u­ral ingredients,including the leave in con­di­tion­er has Argan oll.
Any­way, I use a co-wash most the time too..the one by “As I Am”,it’s got lots of coconut oil and cream (among oth­ers).

Marie Rascon

I have slept with­out a sat­in cap and noticed that I lost a lot of mois­ture even though there was a sat­in pil­low­case on pil­low.

julia

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Laura

Oh yes WATER. I always for­get to drink water reg­u­lar­ly and I think that’s what’s been killing my skin too. My hair is look­ing good but that’s because I use Pro Nat­u­rals Moroc­can Argan oil after each show­er and argan oil is crazi­ly good for hair. I’m inter­est­ed in get­ting the pro nat­u­rals sham­poo and con­di­tion­er too, they seem good :)

AfrocentriKitty

I prefer out styles to up-dos most­ly because of the time & ener­gy it takes to do the. I also have Hand in Hair Syn­drome ;) i just cant help myself! My most major issue is drink­ing enough water. I have to remind myself on a dai­ly basis to do so. Espe­cial­ly in the cold­er months, it’s not as bad in the warmer months, go fig­ure! it’s what tips can you ladies give me to increase my water con­sump­tion?

Lady Kinks

To remind your­self to drink water you can down­load a phone appli­ca­tion that alerts you to drink water. I have one and you can cus­tomize it to your sched­ule.

B-lady
Drink­ing water reg­u­lar­ly is a prob­lem for me too. So to encour­age myself to drink it over the win­ter, I bought fruit-fla­vored herbal tea and I drank it with­out sug­ar. If I absolute­ly felt like I need­ed it to be sweet I added a lit­tle hon­ey. I’m a tea addict so it was easy for me to get up and make a cup of tea every two hours (or less lol) and I’ll prob­a­bly do it all year-round because I could drink a hot cup of tea no mat­ter the tem­per­a­ture. Oth­er­wise, I just try to keep a cup full… Read more »
Dawn

i tend to cov­er my hair in a sat­in cap now. i almost always have my hair in a pro­tec­tive style when out and about. but my hair is bleached, so it takes sec­onds for it to dry after it is wet. but no big­gie. i’ve been man­ag­ing bleached hair for years, so it wasn’t a shock for me to have instant­ly dry hair. i do strug­gle with hand in hair syn­drome. i’m always touch­ing it now. i didn’t touch it near­ly as much when i flat ironed it, for some rea­son. but eh, i’m try­ing to curb that.

Esther Morgan

I wear my hair braid­ed out or in fro most of the time. I need to learn how to do some pro­tec­tive styles. Most of the time I do cov­er my hair at night, but to tell the truth I was so sleepy last night i didn’t cov­er up and I do have a sat­in pil­low case, but I didn’t have it on last night. Shame on me.

hyspin

Quick ques­tion does rea­son num­ber 2.Sleeping with your hair uncov­ered at night, real­ly an issue if you have a humid­i­fier run­ning in room at night and keep­ing your humid­ty between 50%–60%?

Ashes

I used heat for years, and my hair was always dry and brit­tle. now i’ve been heat free for 6 months, and my curl pat­tern has emerged. After my next trim all of the heat dam­aged ends will be gone. Go fig­ure, right?

Dawn

yeah, the last three months sans the flat iron have done won­ders for my hair. it’s now touch­ing my bras­trap where­as three months ago it was just at my armpits. it’s tru­ly made the dif­fer­ence. now i’m not sure when i’ll flat iron again- prob­ly nev­er mwa ha ha!

Cla

Sor­ry, but num­ber 1 makes no sense to me. As far as I can fath­om, water does not trav­el from your body down through your hair­shaft. There are no ves­sels in hair, and hair is dead mate­ri­al. If I’m wrong, please explain the mech­a­nism of how drink­ing water keeps your hair hydrat­ed.

curls
I think the point of num­ber 1 is that you being hydrat­ed from the inside gives you a head start. Lack of hydra­tion will mess with the hair that grows from your scalp just as much as it will mess with your skin.  If you are dehy­drat­ed it can lead to your hair fol­li­cle get­ting neglect­ed as your body choos­es to send water to more impor­tant parts of your body. Which caus­es the fol­li­cle, sebum, and seba­ceous glands to not per­form at their peak. Which can then lead to thin/brittle/fragile strands.  So instead of start­ing with your hair at the max­i­mum… Read more »
Veronica

Curls, thank you for that respon­se! That state­ment made sense to me [it’s like the light­bulb final­ly came on to why water is sooo impor­tant]. I have also read that at least 8 hours of sleep is also impor­tant b/c the body will try to work twice as hard to keep more impor­tant are­sa func­tion­ing prop­er­ly instead of hair… so destress your­self with rest.

mangomadness

+1

It doesn’t make sense to me either. Folks should stay hydrat­ed but I don’t think drink­ing water mois­tur­izes hair. Water, con­di­tion­ers and…moisturizers mois­tur­ize hair.

caribbeancurl

How does one know when they have high­ly porous hair? What are the attrib­ut­es or char­ac­ter­is­tics of this? Just ask­ing because some peo­ple may go out and pur­chase this poros­i­ty cor­rec­tor when porp­si­ty MAY not be the prob­lem.

Dawn

to my under­stand­ing it’s when your hair can­not hold mois­ture for long. for exam­ple, my hair is uber porous. no soon­er than i step out­ta the show­er, it’s already dry. that’s part­ly because my hair is bleached blond. so i haf­ta con­stant­ly re-wet it just to make it through a sin­gle detan­gling ses­sion

caribbeancurl

Just for clar­i­fi­ca­tion… If my hair dries quick­ly but my scalp remains wet/moist for a while does that still mean that I have/don’t have porous hair? Also when I look at my hair in its wet state, the water or what­ev­er pro­duct I have app­plied sits on the hair strands as small beads. How does that fac­tor into the poros­i­ty issue?

Mina

It sounds like you have low poros­i­ty hair like me. If your hair takes a long time to get wet and is nev­er real­ly soak­ing wet then you most like­ly do. I find with my hair it is ini­tial­ly dif­fi­cult to mois­turise but once mois­turised it remains so for long peri­ods of times.

Sakeenah

Putting coconut oil on my scalp & hair works well for me. I use Vatika from the Indi­an store. Para­chute coconut oil is even more pop­u­lar, that’s what the Indi­ans use to grow their hair long, shiny, and healthy.

Dandelion

Some­times I don’t both­er to cov­er my hair when I go to sleep. I usu­al­ly sleep with a sat­in pil­low­case. I don’t see the point of doing both unless the hair cov­er­ing is prone to fall off. But if you wear a sat­in bon­net and it doesn’t stay on, why wear one in the first place?

bzcitybeauty

I think the bon­net is to keep the hair out of the air which will dry it out! The silk/satin pil­low­case replaces the dry­ing cot­ton one that absorbs the mois­ture in your hair…I read that some­where and it stuck with me..but it makes sense.

misha

isn’t evap­o­ra­tion nor­mal? if your hair has more water than the envi­ron­ment, it will lose water… if it has less water, it gains water. you can lit­er­al­ly walk from a dry home into a humid night out on the city and have the mois­ture con­tent in your hair change.

Dawn

i know right. that’s sci­ence 101

NaturalHairStyles101

As of right now, I am ter­ri­ble with mak­ing sure that I’m tak­ing in enough water. I’ve got to do bet­ter so I think I’m going to do a per­son­al water chal­lenge to real­ly make sure I’m get­ting my 8 glass­es a day. I feel like I need to do this for a health­ier lifestyle not just for healthy hair, though. :)

Ev`Yan

I have a ques­tion:

I sleep with a sat­in pil­low­case. Is that worse or bet­ter than sleep­ing with a sat­in scarf? I always thought that sleep­ing on a sat­in pil­low­case would be just as good as sleep­ing with a scarf or bon­net.

Should I be dou­bling up — so sat­in bon­net & a sat­in pil­low­case — or is one method enough?

Eboni

That’s what I do. If I don’t feel like wear­ing my bon­net I’ll just lay on my sat­in pil­low case — which I nev­er remove from my pil­low.

You don’t HAVE to dou­ble up if you don’t want to, it’s total­ly up to you :)

A silk pil­low case will provide just as much pro­tec­tion as a silk bonnet/scarf.

Ev`Yan

Thank you! xx

Arian
I had my hair bleached last year and I just recent­ly had per­ma­nent black col­or applied to my hair, so my poros­i­ty is quite off. I use Joico KPAK Intense Hydra­tor as my DC because it has both strong pro­tein (hydrolyzed hair ker­at­in) and mois­tur­iz­ing prop­er­ties in its for­mu­la. This is real­ly help­ing my hair to retain its mois­ture and strength. I was try­ing to go the all nat­u­ral route since dye­ing my hair black, but I real­ized since I put a chem­i­cal in my hair, I need chem­i­cals to main­tain its bal­ance until the col­or grows com­plete­ly out of it!
Petula
Wear­ing my hair out and sleep­ing with it cov­ered are my issues. I don’t like my hair up or twist­ed when it’s short so I wear it twist­ed out, wavy or curly fro or reg­u­lar fro. I’ve noticed that it’s more dry by the end of the day. I coun­ter that by twist­ing or plat­ing it up at night. And I’m try­ing to get bet­ter at cov­er­ing it while I sleep. I HATE wear­ing hats, scarfs or any­thing on my head so to have it cov­ered at night is almost akin to tor­ture. I do it ’cause I want my… Read more »
CoCosgoneKinky

A sat­in pil­low case would be help­ful :-) .

Kesha

Just last night I twist­ed my hair and slept on my sat­ing pil­low­case alone. I ususal­ly dou­ble up by wear­ing my bon­net and sleep­ing on the pil­low­case just it case I start sleep­ing wild and lose my bon­net in the process. I say all this to say that this morn­ing my hair was dri­er than usu­al. What the post says about the night air absorbing mois­ture I think is true. This expe­ri­ence will make me more vig­i­lant about wear­ing that bon­net.

honeybrown1976

I can­not tell a lie. Some­times, I “for­get” to wear my sat­in bon­net to bed. :( What’s sad is that I place it under my pil­lows so as to not for­get. But, I do. I have my moments. But, I usu­al­ly get back on sched­ule after kick­ing myself in the butt.

glitterkiss

I tend to sweat in my head and I get too hot wear­ing a bon­net to bed. Instead of a sat­in bon­net, I use sat­in pil­low cas­es… have used them for years and they work for me! Macy’s has some good ones and I also take one with me when I trav­el.

Jenn

You are not the only one. Some­times it’s just too darn hot! I felt like the rea­son I had mois­ture w/ the scarf was due to sweat! But I do some­times just try to tie it loose­ly

BeautyIAM

Yes, LOL, I have been “for­get­ting” to put my sat­in head wrap as of late. We need to work on that.

JJ

A good list of basics, but is it me or are there a lot of spelling mis­takes (retard in place of reduce and con­di­tions in place of con­di­tion­er)?

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