By Fran of HeyFranHey.com

I like to keep my beau­ty reg­i­mens clean and sim­ple. The less pro­duct I apply in one styling ses­sion the bet­ter. This doesn’t mean I’m not a pro­duct junkie! I’ve tried and own every nat­u­ral hair brand out! But I’m a min­i­mal­ist when it comes to mix­ing them to achieve a desired look. In my mind, being “nat­u­ral” means low main­te­nance. I always pic­ture myself strand­ed on an island, hav­ing to fig­ure out how to make my hair and skin work. Scary thought con­sid­er­ing the mini Wal­greens that is my bath­room, but a goal nonethe­less! I’ve found, through tri­al and error, that my scalp and strand health thrive best with the less I use. Now I sim­ply wet, apply leave-in and seal. Here’s how I came to under­stand that apply­ing mois­ture could be done in 3 sim­ple steps:

Before I start­ed tak­ing good care of my hair, my every­day style was the quick wash & go. I would wash it dai­ly because I was unaware of how to pre­serve the curl pat­tern. My hair was suf­fer­ing due to the con­stant wash­ing and styling: dry­ing out, break­ing and stuck at what seemed a forever shoul­der length. To make mat­ters worse, I was using mousse and gels that were load­ed with alco­hols and syn­thet­ics. I soon real­ized I should switch to prod­ucts with a lighter hold (for the sake of my crispy, dried out curls) and more nutri­ent-based ingre­di­ents, to restore some mois­ture. I imme­di­ate­ly had soft­er more volu­mi­nous hair (good­bye gels and alco­hols!) with more shine and def­i­n­i­tion. Dry­ness solved!

The next step I was hav­ing a hard time fig­ur­ing out was how to retain the mois­ture I applied with­out con­stant­ly wash­ing it. I felt like I had to re-apply the prod­ucts dai­ly or it wouldn’t look right. I jumped on youtube to see what oth­er nat­u­rals were doing for main­te­nance, but all I saw was lots of re-wet­ting and dai­ly wash­ing too! Mean­while, every oth­er nat­u­ral tex­ture was retain­ing mois­ture and pre­serv­ing styles for weeks at a time. Grant­ed, dif­fer­ent tex­tures have dif­fer­ent reg­i­mens and expec­ta­tions, but I began to won­der if fin­er haired nat­u­rals were miss­ing out on a cru­cial step dur­ing the pro­duct appli­ca­tion process. As I kept watch­ing videos and read­ing posts, I real­ized I was miss­ing out on the “seal­ing” method. Instead of con­stant­ly re-wet­ting, it made more sense to seal the water and leave-in with oil on wash day. It’s a method that is sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly based, not just tex­ture based, yet I feel fin­er nat­u­rals avoid it like the plague, assum­ing it’s not for their “hair type”, in fear of being weighed down or pro­duct buildup, or, in some cas­es, because they don’t real­ly know much about it.

No one with type “3” hair was doing it online but I still want­ed to test the method for myself. The first time I tried it, I washed my hair as usu­al, applied my leave-in to soak­ing wet hair and then sealed with olive oil. It was way too heavy. I tried coconut oil but was left with brit­tle, frizzy hair. Jojoba oil gave my hair a flat, “wet look” for days. Noth­ing was real­ly work­ing so I thought, ok, I guess this is why…lol. But know­ing it was an impor­tant step for retain­ing mois­ture, I didn’t want to give up so eas­i­ly. I fig­ured try­ing some­thing that wasn’t an oil would get the job done. But what was con­sid­ered a good sealant yet not an oil?

I had a bot­tle of Aloe Vera in my fridge for a cut I was heal­ing so I decid­ed to give it a try. It was all nat­u­ral, so why not? It turned out to be the per­fect, watery, light yet effec­tive con­sis­ten­cy for my hair type. I’ve been using it as a sealant ever since. Here is a pic­ture of an exper­i­ment I post­ed a few months ago show­ing the dif­fer­ence between my sealed and non-sealed hair. On the right side I fin­ger-combed Pure Aloe Vera by Aubrey Organ­ics over my Curl Souf­fle leave-in by Curls. On the left side I just left the leave-in with­out seal­ing. See the dif­fer­ence? Major!

I’ve seen com­ments with nat­u­rals say­ing they don’t see the need for seal­ing. I per­son­al­ly don’t think it’s a step that HAS to be done, but I’ve found it to be extreme­ly help­ful. It helps me retain more mois­ture and shine, which in turn pre­serves my styles a lit­tle longer. Being able to keep them in longer means less manip­u­la­tion of the strands, which results in improved hair health and growth. In oth­er words, why not seal? In this video I show my 3 quick and basic steps for retain­ing mois­ture:

Do you swear by or skip out on the seal­ing method? If not, what turned you off? If so, what have you found to be the most effec­tive leave-in/sealant com­bi­na­tion?

Fran is the author of HeyFranHey.com. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @heyfranhey.

I’m a nat­u­ral hair, nutri­tion and fit­ness blog­ger from New York City. Bat­tling a kid­ney relat­ed ill­ness that doc­tors couldn’t seem to fix, I became obsessed with alter­na­tive med­i­cine. After months of research­ing and final­ly cur­ing myself, it became quite evi­dent that healthy resources in our urban com­mu­ni­ties were lack­ing. I began my health & well­ness tum­blr in Dec of 2010 as some­what of a jour­nal, hop­ing to shed some light on my jour­ney to health as well as our dis­con­nec­tion with healthy liv­ing. It’s been my goal to cre­ate a safe haven where our well­ness con­cerns could be shared and hope­ful­ly cured, as nat­u­ral­ly as pos­si­ble.

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29 Comments on "Moisturizing & Sealing 3B/3C Hair"

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[…] Novem­ber 18, 2015 · by gwcrownof­glo­ry · Book­mark the perma­link. · Hap­py #WearY­our­Crown­Wednes­day Beau­ties! This week we have a great arti­cle on how to mois­tur­ize and seal your hair for our ladies with a 3B or 3C curl pat­tern. We here at CoG are wish­ing you a relax­ing pre-Thanks­giv­ing week!!   http://blackgirllonghair.com/2012/04/moisturizing-sealing-3b3c-hair/ […]

jeri
Inter­est­ing. I watched the video and I could not believe what I saw. I also have 3b hair but when I tried using aloe vera gel on my hair I had adverse effects. When my hair gets in con­tact with the aloe vera gel, any mois­ture in my hair just drips out! Its so bizarre. I have tried it sev­er­al times using dif­fer­ent prod­ucts and I get the same results.  I wash and con­di­tion, apply leave in. At this point my hair is wet but not drip­ping wet. When I apply the aloe vera gel all the water comes out… Read more »
LittleWar

same here, bought aloe vera think­ing it would solve my prob­lems but on my hair just worsten the frizz

Ashlea

I have 3b/3c curly hair and I use almond oil or car­rot oil to seal my hair. I cur­rent­ly am using the LOC (leave-in,oil,cream) methord on my hair which seems to hold my curls for more than a day so I can just refresh the next day! Although I also use fan­tasi­as mois­tur­iz­ing gel on the first go around, my hair is always left soft and defined.

Erika

I am hav­ing the same issue you were, so I’m def­i­nite­ly going to try the aloe. I also use the Curls Souf­fle and love it. Seems like our curl type is the same.

Angela

I love coconut hair for my body but it’s ter­ri­ble for my hair. EVOO works best.…ingesting pro­tein is great..for deep con­di­tion­ing! Awful! 3b/c hair, super fine, very dense! Any mois­tur­iz­ing conditioners/shampoos that would work?

Elysia

I use jojoba oil for my 3b hair. My hair loves it! Coconut oil made me break out. My hair loves red­ken all­soft even though it isn’t 100% nat­u­ral.

jjac401

I find that grape­seed oil works very well in my hair. I also have fine strands.

judi ahwan
HELP!! Ive been relax­ing my hair for over 20 years and am ashamed to say that my reg­i­men only con­sists of wash and blow dry (at a salon because i cant blow dry my own hair!!)and oil­ing my scalp (when i remem­ber) and some­times putting in mois­turis­er. Now im grow­ing out my relax­er (10 months so far)and ive become obsessed with all things nat­u­ral. I had no idea (and again im ashamed to admit this)that ive been NEGLECTING my hair for prac­ti­cal­ly all of my adult life!!! How­ev­er im now real­ly con­fused as i have two types of hair ad… Read more »
jeri
You should start by find­ing a reg­u­lar sham­poo and con­di­tion­er that works for your hair. You need sham­poo to get rid of pro­duct buildup. Its good to sham­poo in between cow­ash­ing. A lot of peo­ple swear by organ­ic prod­ucts but if your bank does not allow that then just buy what you can. If you sec­tion your hair, it will help with wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing. For a curly it is rec­om­mend­ed to leave a tiny bit of con­di­tion­er on your hair after wash­ing. Use a styler like hair milk, to help style your hair and yes you can seal at… Read more »
Mari

Oh wow! So fun­ny to see some­one with the same CG issue. I’m a fin­er 3b in the front and c in the back kin­da girl., but my edges????? I can do my co wash slick and curl doo, but I have always had to tie my edges down. They’re not bad, they just don’t seem to match the rest of my hair. As far as my sealant, I have to say I use the EVOO. My Ethiopi­an dad swears by it.

norma

My hair is thick and frizzy. I need some­thing that will keep it mois­tur­iz­ing and tame it down to a curly wet look. how do I do this?

rt
Add prod­ucts to soak­ing wet hair as she said. I add my leave in con­di­tion­er, and seal with hair serum. It’s a real­ly good seal­er. I haven’t tried aloe though. I may. I add both serum and leave in to soak­ing wet hair, then wring the excess water out, and blot any excess with a tshirt. It tames it a lot, because it soaks up every­thing while dry­ing. The pro­duct dries into each strand. I try to tell peo­ple add their prod­ucts to soak­ing wet hair all the time instead of the water bot­tle spritz method. Your curls will look… Read more »
Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

Total­ly a swear by-er here :-)

I seal with Jojoba oil though. It’s light and doesn’t weigh the hair down. I only use AV to make my leave in con­di­tion­er recipe. Then, after apply­ing that I seal with the Jojoba Oil. I can go up to 5 days with­out mois­tur­iz­ing and I have 3c hair as well. My hair also man­ages to main­tain a nice amount of shine.
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Camille Cadenhead

Does aloe vera gel work as well, or is pure aloe vera best?

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[…] way. What prompt­ed this devi­a­tion? This post and video on blackgirllonghair.com by HeyFran­Hey: Mois­tur­iz­ing & Seal­ing 3B/3C Hair. In it, Fran explains how using oils to seal left her hair flat and life­less, because they were too […]

OnceUponaTime

Using coconut oil as a sealant also makes my hair brit­tle and dry, but when I oil rin­se with it, I have soft, pro­tect­ed hair. I find that I have mois­ture for up to a week using this method.

Caramel

You may­be pro­tein sensitive.My hair is and I stay away from coconut and wheat pro­tein found in any hair prod­ucts, unless they are going into my mouth!

Nia
I swear by seal­ing I also have curly “3” hair. If I don’t seal in with an oil or but­ter my hair dries out very quick­ly, with­in a day usu­al­ly and then I have to resort to co-wash­ing. You do have to be care­ful to add just enough oil and not go over­board — to avoid that greasy look also. I’m very selec­tive about what oil I use — I dis­like coconut oil because it tends to sit on top of my hair instead of seep­ing in, if you know what I mean. But I def­i­nite­ly agree seal­ing is one… Read more »
nelle

thank you! I have 3b hair every­where and 4b hair around the perime­ter. It’s tough to find a reg­i­men that helps my 4b hair but wont flat­ten my 3b hair into a life­less limp. I find more help for 4b than 3b, so thank you!

Chica

Sounds like my daughter’s hair, only oppo­site! The front and back is about 3b-c and the rest is a mix of 4s! She wants to wear it down, but its a hot mess try­ing to get it all uni­form.

Jo Somebody

That sounds real­ly weird! I’d love to see how your hair looks!
(hope you don’t find that offen­sive!)

Alexandra
Thanks for vid Fran. It’s fun­ny how this video comes out at a time I was think­ing about stop­ping to use my oils. I’m cur­rent­ly doing the Con­di­tion­er method and noticed that my hair is soft­er, lighter, bouncier and culier since I start­ed this. I too use only Aloe Vera juice for seal­ing but I spray it on my hair before i add my leave-in con­di­tion­er (and no, my hair is not soak­ing wet, lol).  When I use my Coconut Oil (my usu­al go to) I noticed that my hair has been feel­ing heav­ier or coat­ed so I thought about using… Read more »
Gia
I don’t seal since but­ters and oils dry my hair out. I’ll add grapeseed/jojoba oils to my dol­lar store rin­se out con­di­tion­ers and I use water based DC’s and leave ins with but­ters and oils includ­ed in the ingre­di­ents list. After my leave in I’ll use flaxseed gel mixed with aloe vera juice and my hair stays mois­tur­ized for days.  My hair is also low poros­i­ty so find­ing prod­ucts that pen­e­trate my strands and mois­tur­ize my hair is tricky. For some rea­son when­ev­er I use but­ters and oils by them­selves to seal or do hot oil treat­ments my hair turns out… Read more »
Rashida

My hair is a mix­ture of 4’s but I think my hair just doesn’t take to oils very well — I nev­er use much but my hair feels so greasy through­out the week. It could also be a low poros­i­ty issue. I def­i­nite­ly want to try aloe vera as a seal­er and see how it works!

Dawn

yeah, aloe vera works for me but not for long. i might try it again, though.

Nicole

I am think­ing about try­ing aloe juice as a seal­er, but I have one ques­tion about how to lay­er the mois­tur­iz­ers. So is it water, leave-in, aloe? What about a styler? Water, leave-in, aloe, styler?

IrieDiva

I swear by aloe vera for my hair. it is a mir­a­cle plant! i use cas­tor mixed with argan oil to seal and use aloe as my leave-in. im more of a 3c/4a i think…but who knows/cares! i just big chopped so its still short but this mix works fine for now.

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