Via Curl Please

I received an email from a young lady who was frustrated with the fact that her hair was so dry and asked me for advice about what products to use to get and retain moisture in her tresses. I could totally relate because when I started my second natural hair journey in 2010 [my HEALTHY natural hair journey]  I encountered the same issue of dryness. There are more causes of a dry mane than bad product choices. Such as:

1. Excessive shampooing.

Shampooing hair multiple times a week, especially with shampoo containing Sulfates can strip hour hair of its natural oils causing dry and brittle hair. Try switching to Sulfate free shampoos, or if you MUST use a shampoo containing sulfates, try a two in one conditioning shampoo (I use Aussie Moist 2 in 1 Shampoo) or make your own by mixing one part shampoo with one part conditioner. You can also skip the shampooing all together and Co-wash only. Co-washing, is the same process as shampooing except with conditioner only. You’d be amazed at the lather and cleanse you get from co-washing. I alternate between Herbal Essence Hello Hydration and Aussie Moist Conditioner for my co-washes.

2. Not sealing moisturized hair with oil.

It makes no sense to go through all of the trouble of conditioning if you are not going to seal in the moisture with an oil.  WATER, moisturizer, conditioners or leave-ins without an oil to seal them in will only EVAPORATE from your hair. My favorite oil is grapeseed oil, I have also used coconut oil and sweet almond oil to seal my hair. Say it with me now…CLEANSE…MOISTURIZE… SEAL.

3. The environment.

The environment in which you live could also take a toll on your hair moisture. Think about it, if humidity can ruin your sleek hair style, don’t you think the hot sun and harsh wind can suck it dry? In extremely hot and cold months, help protect your hair from the elements by wearing hats, beanies and protective styles that have the ends of your hair tucked in.

4. Sleeping with no Protection.

Not wearing a satin scarf or bonnet while sleeping can also lead to dryness. to refresh you hair before bed spray it with a moisturizing spritz or leave-in and apply a small amount of water based moisturizer and seal it with and oil or butter such as olive oil or shea butter.

Ladies, have you experienced any of these “moisture robbers”? What would you add to the list?

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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40 Comments on "4 Things that Rob Natural Hair of Moisture"

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Been natural for about two years now and up until three months ago I had super dry hair…. I was co washing three times a week and adding moister every day but my hair was still dry…. came across a article about silicones and how they work on you hair and decided to stop using anything with silicone in them…. three months later and my hair has never been happier….. so try using silicone free products

I was doing the loc method on my hair but I could not get past the fact that I was layering stuff on my hair so much on days when I had no time to co-wash. I also feel like it was weighing my fine hair down making it look lifeless. I tried to go back to the conditioner/oil method, but as usual, it failed me. My hair came out severely dry. Then one day I thought about something. My hair tests as low porosity, and no doubt my hair does not absorb hair products. But when I get my… Read more »
Brady Hyatte

The healing qualities of Shea butter are due to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols, namely oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids. These oil-soluble components are nonsaponifiable, meaning they do not undergo saponification, or convert to soap, when introduced to an alkali. Shea butter possesses a significantly greater nonsaponifiable fraction than most other nut oils and fats, which lends the substance greater healing potential for the skin.,”‘;

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nikki alston

my hair is transitioning from relaxed and its always super dry. I moisturize with water and castor oil mix but I need something more…


I love the vegan shampoo system called FC5, shampoo and nourishing conditioner along with the hydrating Seasource hair mask!!! These products are made without chemicals that my hair loves! You can use the Intelligence Scalp revitalizer for healthy scalp and the Seasource 5 in 1 oil to seal in moisture…the Shea Butter lotion works great too..,these products are what I use for me and my girls hair…


Your hair remains moisturized via two routes just like your skin. What you put on top of it and what is going on deep beneath. Yes the same things apply like eating a good diet,drinking lots of water but lack of nutrients like minerals for example low levels of iron which is very dominant amongst black women, which can be due to problems like endometriosis, fibroids and heavy peroids etc can also apply.Low levels of hormones,illness, allergies, intolerances,stress,environmental factors can all contribute to the lack of moisture of the hair.


I would add “remember to clarify your hair occasionally”. I add a small amount of baking soda to my shampoo every now and again to clarify. Helps my hair retain moisture.


If you need moisture then use Pro Naturals products. Seriously, BEST MOISTURIZING PRODUCTS EVER.

I started off with their Moroccan Argan oil and it was working wonders, but then I stopped using it and went back to heat styling so my hair became dry and damaged. I didn’t want to use argan oil pure anymore so I got their hair mask and wow, major difference. I love this brand now, I’m browsing right now to get their shampoo and conditioner! 🙂

Annie L.

Great list! For me I would add:

CLAYS and Ayurvedic powders – I’ve noticed the alkalinity/acidity strips too much natural oil/slip and exposes my hair
HUMECTANTS – certain formulations react differently to parts of my multi-texture hair

MUCILAGE/SLIP – An abundance of slip, certain types of slip ingredients and high slip leave-ins just coat my hair like glue, usually doesn’t contain enough oil and let no moisture in, i.e. KCKT which was fine as a rinse-out but not a leave-in for me.


Question: My hair is not oil friendly, so after I wash, I usually add a leave-in and then some shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie; is that considered sealing?? I mean, it does have coconut oil in it…

if I add pure oil my hair will be limp and immediately feel like it needs a wash, regardless! which is why I don’t “seal”


Yes! I never seal the whole hair strand with oils/butters because I use oil/butter-rich water-based moisturizers (SM Curl & Style Milk or SM Deep Treatment Masque). I think of those products as “moisturizer-sealant hybrids”. Adding oil on top of such a moisturizer would be overkill for my hair…


Thank you ladies! Appreciate your input 🙂

Rachel R.
I would said Yes it would be considered as sealing… Reason I say this is after you shampoo or co-wash your hair and you use a leave-in plus if your product provides the oils you need then yes. But with that said most products do not provide ENOUGH percentage of oils in the product thats why most of us add EXTRA for sealing. To solve all of that I just add the oils I like to my product and continue with my two strand that I like. As long as your is not frizzy and it feels soft to the… Read more »

I think that diet is a huge factor as well. Truly healthy hair and skin starts from the inside out. People always tell me how healthy my hair looks and compliment my skin–I tell them I don’t do anything special, but exercising a couple of times a week, drinking lots of water, and eating healthy overall. I am by no means a vegan or vegerarian and I do eat sweets and drink sodas on occasion. It’s all about balance!

Annie L.

+1 I found external remedies did nothing until I came to grips with the fact that my body, like a plant, needed moisture and nutrients to display healthy results.

Number 2 should be not sealing heavily enough (depending on your hair). Just sealing with an oil still leaves some of us with dry hair. I get some more success with Castor oil while EVOO, coconut and the oils you listed are almost like doing nothing. The LOC (liquid, oil, cream) sealing routine is the only thing that helps keep my hair moisturized. I use water/conditioner then castor oil or grapeseed oil then put a shea butter mix or mineral oil on top. It’s made a BIG BIG difference in retaining moisture for me. Taking time to figure out what… Read more »
Lillian Mae


I recently did my BC and I’ve noticed that my hair is dry and greasy despite the fact that when I washed, I used my liquid and creamy leave in, then followed up with my shea butter. In the am, I took my twists down with castor oil.

I noticed in your method you used castor oil; did it leave your hair greasy or moisturized? Because I don’t want greasy 🙂 so I’m trying to balance the greasy and moisturized feeling.

Thanks for you input!


Castor Oil only makes my hair greasy if I use too much otherwise it just moisturizes my hair and leaves it shiny. I think your idea of using a shea butter mix is a very good one. Definitely try it for a couple of weeks and see if there’s a difference. Good luck! 🙂

Annie L.

Castor oil alone leaves me greasy as most oils do. Castor oil in pomades or butters works great for me. Maybe you don’t need the oil step, just either a pomade or butter. I don’t use leave-ins either, is it possible one of those is contributing?

Lillian Mae

I’ll try just using just my shea butter mix without the extra oil…I’m hoping that will decrease the greasiness.

I appreciate your response.

Rachel R.

I agree…you do have to find what oils works for your hair through trial and error. So far coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and shea butter is working for me. I want to try the EVOO but not sure. Maybe when the winter months come I will give it a try. But you are right some oils are lighter and some are heavier. I mixed the both and they seem to work for me.


i do ALL these things and STILL dry i am at a LOSS of what to do I have TRIED EVERYTHING and still crunchy!!!! HELP


Have you rec’d your Quemet products yet, if so, how is your hair responding

I have 4b very dry hair and this is how I keep my hair moisturized. I run my hair under cold water everyday…use my leave-in, spitz with a moisturizer then seal with shea butter. I put on a plasic cap and shower…sometimes I leave it in the plastic cap for a little longer after the shower. This process leaves my 4b hair moisturized and defined. At night I just spritz with disilled water, aloe vera gel, and honey mixture(my moisturizing spritz). then seal with a light oil. Put on my satin bonnett. Its seems like now my hair does not… Read more »

Have you tried the LOC method? It’s the only way I can keep my hair moisturized.


What i have realisedis that KInky textured hairmine especially is dry and that is part of it. I can do my part in followinmg the advice the article gives but the nature of my hair is still the dry type. This leave-in mix really helped me but i gave up mixing it due to time constrainst the recipe is:

2tbsp of Condtioner
2tbsp of Aloe Vera Gel
2tsp of castor Oil
2tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ain't I an African

Yes! I use this recipe as well, but rather than conditioner I use a leave in conditioner. I got the recipe from kimmaytube. It works amazingly on my hair. That is, if I’m sure to use a satin bonnet or pillowcase which I hate doing, but is crucial.

Annie L.

Agreed with everyone else, also have you tried stripping your haircare routine down to bare essentials such as moisture and sealing? Maybe an ingredient or ingredients are amping up the dryness.


Me too lexdiamonz…I do everything and still have trouble maintaining moisture…

Jo Somebody

Diet? Water intake levels?


working on the diet…. and AMPED up the water intake… will keep trying heard about some product called Qhemet and also talked to a lady today who said she had the same problem UNTIL she started using good old fashioned hair GREASE…. will KEEP trying i REFUSE to lose LOL


wanted to add…

make sure you are sealing heavily enough
check your water – hard water completely warped my hair porosity, it can really mess with your hair; Some people get shower filters and some even use distilled water…


I personally use rain water in a spritz bottle with aloe vera gel and constantly reapply my leave in conditioner mix. My hair loves it and stays moisturized even when it is 109 degrees outside.


thanks usually the next day… i ordered the heavy cream HOPING it works LOL


how often is it crunchy?

is it crunchy immediately after moisturizing (water, moisturizer, seal)? or is it the next day?

you might need to dampen (spritz with water), apply moisturizer and maybe seal every day or every other day. i do it now every three days.

maybe you should clarify your hair, then get a good moisturizer (i use qhemet amla olive oil cream). maybe finish with a bit of oil.

you might wanna make sure you deep condition every week. perhaps try not to shampoo your hair.

it took me some time to find the right routine to maintain moisture. just have patience.


Using products that contain alcohol.THAT stuff will make your hair crunch like no other!
ere’s a site where you can check ingreddients its pretty basic.


Deep conditioning may help. Also you may need to get a trim or get rid of any damaged hair. I realised that no matter what I did my ends were always dry and so I got a trim.

Also my hair is naturally dry so I dont expect that anything will make it less dry, I just try to keep it moisturized and when it becomes dry it is simply its natural state.


Winter KILLS me. My hair does, however, thrive in the humid NC summers.

But what the humidity does for NC hair in hydrating it, the 100 degree temps undo by sucking that moisture right back out :-(! I, too, live in NC, and I have put my hair up into twists, which I said I was not going to do anymore due to my hair refusing to stay in them, because the hot air is drying my hair out so badly that not even twice-a-day moisturizing with sealing is helping! The moisture just escapes. But at least if it’s in twists, it’s not losing the moisture as quickly as it would if it… Read more »

Thanks much for this valuable info.!!