How to Deal with Super-Dry Natural Hair

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By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

Moisture is a problem that many naturals find difficult to deal with. Dry hair for many is normal and is not indicative that your normal regimen is somehow lacking. It is not unusual to need to moisturise hair before styling it or to find it getting progressively drier if let alone without products or water for several days.

The idea that you can eliminate dry hair is actually not true for the vast majority of naturals. Some hair will respond to regular conditioning or indeed to using leave in products but for many, dry hair is a regular issue to address.

For this second group it is more important to not stick rigidly to one routine or one product. Sometimes hair requires one or more of the following

-more intensive conditioning every so often to increase softness and repair damage
-a good spritz of water followed by an oil
-layering of leave in products
-a simple mist of water without adding oil
-a change in products e.g using/eliminating humectants, changing leave-ins

The idea of being flexible with what you do to your hair and the products you use is not a sign of a struggle but rather an understanding that your hair needs something different depending on its condition or on how the weather is behaving (more/less humidity).

Often not being flexible can lead to problems with moisture, for example, sticking to the idea of applying a water based product or water before applying a sealing product such as an oil or butter is in general a good idea to increase moisture. However for some naturals, repeating this routine too often actually leads to drier hair as the oil layer builds up on their hair making it more difficult for the water to perform its function. Switching the frequency to once every 2-3 days or once a week and simply adding water in between can actually work better. For others switching from a light oil to a heavier oil can also help.

Dry hair in my view should not be looked at as a problem but rather as a property of some natural hair. In other words, finding your hair dry should not frustrate you. It should just prompt you to try different methods and routines so that you can achieve longer spells of moisture (ideally getting to a point where you do not require additional moisture anywhere from 2 days to 1 week between washings).

Ladies with super dry hair, how do you infuse lasting moisture?

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The Natural Haven

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  • lovelylauz02

    For those of you who are talking about shampoos drying your hair. HAve you tried “the buffer technique”? It goes as follows:

    Shampoo hair – DO NOT RINSE OUT WITH WATER
    SQUEEZE as much of the suds out as possible- DO NOT RINSE WITH WATER
    Cover hair with conditioner, massage into strands (I use a lot of my super cheap conditioners for this step)
    NOW RINSE WITH WATER
    — what you should be left with is hair that does not have that stripped feeling. From there DC and carry on as you normally would.

    This Buffer Technique lets me wash/clarify my hair without the stripped, drying effects of some shampoos. Also, for those of you who are still unbeliever… try a sulfate free shampoo and tell me your hair doesn’t know the difference.

    Happy Healthy Hair to you all!

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    • http://thenaturalhavenbloom.com Jc

      I actually wanted to talk about the pros and cons of this technique, thanks for the reminder.

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    • Dolores

      I’m going to try this. I’m using an everything free moisturizing shampoo (Organix Tea Tree and Mint) and my hair feels stripped like no ones business.

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  • luminous

    I stopped shampooing… huge difference in moisture retention. My hair is shiny and I can even see a curl pattern that clumps together (not just frizz). I currently use ACV and a mud wash to clarify/cleanse my hair.

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    • Odee

      YES I stopped using shampoo too! Major difference!

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  • surVIVEr28

    The layer of leave-in products has worked for me.
    1. A leave-in spray of Aloe Vera juice/water mix
    2. Add Kinky Curly Leave in
    3. Seal with a shea Butter mix (shea butter, coconut oil, vitamin E oil).

    a. I have also added pre-poo treatment of coconut oil to my regime.
    b. Increase my water intake.

    FOR ME, this has worked. I’ve noticed a big difference.

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    • Bluethenaturalmami

      This is my EXACT routine (products and all!) and its working perfectly for me AND my daughter!

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  • Natalie

    My hair has been dry recently and Zanthe, above, mentioned clarifying your hair.

    I did an ACV rinse then used my shampoo bar and deep conditioner. I then applied KCKT, my own oil mix and my own moisturiser my hair was silky smooth the next day. I had to have it trimmed and the hairdresser commented on it been in good condition.

    Sunday I was out all day in the sun with no sun hat. That evening I spritzed with a gel mix I made from that seaweed you can make a drink out of, I bought it in St Lucia, then I added my oil mix and moisturiser and plaited my hair. On Monday I did not apply any product to my hair and it felt great all day.

    Monday night I plaited it up for bed and this morning, Tuesday, it still felt smooth and moisturised. I just do a tuck and pin style for work most days.

    Clarifying my hair has made such a difference, I’ve been using the LOC method for months now and it was going great until I stopped clarifying with ACV so give it a try if you find that you have a problem with dry hair.

    I’m a vegan and drink 2 litres of water daily so I know it wasn’t my diet that was causing the dry hair.

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  • http://thetenthmuseplus.wordpress.com/ Jordan

    i feel my hair is dry these summer days&& I’ve learned to learn thru trial & error. Actually every time I do something It’s trial & error. Oh welly I still enjoy my hair! =)

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  • TrueL

    I am I newly natural and big chop August 3. I believe this is what I’m experiencing now. Im going though the whole trial and error thing :( so frustrating. But I curious to know what moisturizers you use

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  • http://AfroCurls.wordpress.com BlackAngelPlayah

    I switched to a SLS free shampoo. It took a minute to find the right one. I’m using L’Oreal EverCreme right now and it makes my hair soft.. REALLY soft and doesn’t strip it.

    I condition over night. No matter what type of conditioner I use, I keep it in under a plastic cap over night. Right now, I’m using Tresemme Naturals. The moisturizing formula, of course. And fyi, it is WAY better than the silicone ladened versions.

    I use curl activator. It really does make a difference. I tried a creamy curling cream last week, though the petroleum in it might have been part of the problem, I don’t see a creamy product holding my curls. So I know i need a gel for styling, just be sure it’s alcohol free (drying alcohol that is.) So from now on creams are for extra moisture AFTER I’ve used my gel on day one. My activator of choice is Long Aid.

    Moisturize and seal at night. I do this almost every night before I cover my hair with my satin scarf. I spritz with water or a combo of conditioner and water, and seal with oil. Currently vegetable oil. I was using coconut oil, but decided to revisit an old favorite. So far so good.

    I recently tried Cantu Curling Cream and I really don’t care for it. Greasy but still leaves your hair hard and dry feeling. Plus it only enhances curls while it’s wet. Soon as it dries, nothing.. I wont’ buy again. I’m testing out Sof n Free’s Milk Protein and Olive Oil Strengthening Cream. It has potental as a great sealer. But that remains to be seen. I do like it though.

    I don’t spend much money, or branch out much because my activator takes care of most of my moisture and styling needs.. BUT, I would like to find something that doesn’t leave my hair WET so long!!! Thus the Cantu adventure.

    But that’s another story. :)

    So far my hair is pretty moisturized. But there is always room for more moisture. LoL!

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  • Chadette

    Try shampooing with a moisturizing shampoo, rather than a mineral oil and paraben laden poo. Shea Moisture has a great product. Check out a review here: http://un-ruly.com/review-shea-moistures-raw-shea-butter-moisture-retention-shampoo/

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  • Terri Fletcher

    I’ve never had a relaxer. I have always been a press ‘n curl girl. This summer I am doing the natural thing. I am forgoing the use of heat and embracing my curls. It’s not working:-( My scalp is flaky and my curls are a combination of super straight and crunchy coily. This is not going to be a good summer…

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    • Joyce

      It’s probably heat damage that’s leaving you with straight bits. I would recommend aphogee protein treatment, it’s really good

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  • http://BlackGirlLongHair Chachamusicgirl

    For my hair, I wash every other day alternating between Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo and Terax Miele Hydrating Shampoo and Redken Smooth Lock Butter Silk and Joico Moisture Recovery Balm.

    I always leave my conditioner on for a minimum of ten minutes. Then I detangle with a wide tooth comb and rinse in cool or lukewarm water and wrap my hair in a towel until damp.

    Then I apply either Circle Of Friends Marisol’s Melon Leave In Conditioner or Circle Of Friends Pia’s Pineapple Leave In Conditioner. I use a serum on top- either Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Pure Oil Treatment or Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil.

    I then finger comb my hair and pull it back in a bun. I am one year post relaxer with just a few relaxed ends left in the front. My hair is still too short to do anything with so it goes in a bun.

    My second day hair stays nice and soft unless I have accidentally put too much product in my hair. I never cowash, use styling products like gel or go longer than two days without shampoo as I believe product build up can cause the hair to feel dry and I have an oily scalp.

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    • anonymous

      I agree with you about product build up. Every conditioning agent and moisturizing shampoo contains ingredients that have to be clarified in order to remove. The one concern about shampooing frequently is sebum. But sebum will only go so far with our hair. I think shampooing should be done as frequently as necessary but as infrequently as possible, if that makes sense. I think it is best to find a good mild cleanser with just a few ingredients. I likr Shikai. Btw I started using mineral oil and put vaseline on my ends. I have much less damage now than ever in my life and am hoping for less as my hair is gradually trimmed off. Personally I do not want to experiment anymore because the more you put on, the more you have to wash off. Plus you might use a product that your hair hates instantly. Experimenting with regimen is ok to me but not experimenting too much with products.

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  • http://blackgirllonghair.com ttita castro

    I gone natural< I work out 4 to 5 day a week and sweat like crazy I have to wash my hair everyday, i think it's making my hair super dry what would you recommend. Thank

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    • anonymous

      I sweat all the time. Shampooing every day is far worse for your hair than sweat. Rinse it off with some water and condition/oil your hair but be sure to use shampoo every few days to avoid build up. I would stretch out the shampooing anywhere from 2 to 4 days with or without sweat. Also be mindful of what kind of shampoo you use. You want a very mild ph balanced shampoo and be sure your hair is well moisturized after cleansing. Cleansing should actually be very moisturizint to the hair in and of itself if done correctly.

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    • Nicole Veazie

      I totally feel you. I was experiencing the same and finally just had to cut back to to washing 2 times a week, WITH SHAMPOO! Good luck :/

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  • Joy

    I love the LOC method and my natural hair.

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  • Dabney

    I live in a very dry place. The San Gabriel Valley. UGH! my hair is drying out a lot. I have tried a variety of different things. So far my Hair is responding to S-curl Spray and a leave in mixed with VO5,Castor oil, Coconut oil and Aloe Gel.

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  • Alesha

    I have psoriasis and my build-up is worse in the winter. I HAVE to wash at least once a week. Is there anyone out there who suffers from this? What is your routine?

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    • http://www.maneobjective.com Christina Patrice

      Hi Alesha! I have psoriasis as well, and I’ve written some articles here and on my blog about what to do for psoriasis. I refuse to use any of the prescription shampoos for fear of hair loss lol. I do an oil or water and conditioner based overnight prepoo, which helps soften the scales to clear the scalp. Then I use a sulfate free shampoo (or sometimes TSal), deep condition, and style. I mainly wear wash and go styles and cleanse my hair twice a week. Using a dropper to apply a 50/50 mix of glycerin and witch hazel (with about 10 drops of sea buckthorn oil dropped in) helps relieve itching and seems to slow plaque growth should you choose to stretch washes. Hope this helps!

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  • candy

    As strange as this sounds…I stopped using products……..yep! you read that right! Im using the “water only method” which is just that, “washing” your hair with water lol! you will DEFINITELY have an “adjustment” period where your hair will be either greasy or dry for a few weeks(if you have long hair it’ll be dry until your natural oils spread through the hair). this period tend to last 6 weeks. the logic behind this method is, of course, to allow your natural oils(sebum) condition your hair, there’s also the belief that after some time of not using products your hair will become “self cleaning”, even though there is no scientific research on this, ive read of plenty of girls who are water only and even those who stopped washing their hair altogether and their hair is fabulous!

    most girls using this method have straight/wavy hair BUT I could find two youtubers with kinky hair which said it worked for them too(just type “water only natural hair” on youtube and you will find “fro tastic” and “therubictulip”) I have curly hair and this method is working wonders for my hair!. its soft, shiny, and feels “protected” thanks to my natural oils!(and no, no smell lol. maybe in the first week or second of doing this you might notice a bit of smell but it’ll definitely go away! and yeah ive asked people :P)

    if you want more info, type on google “water only washing method” and go to the website that says “written for our learning” thats the site with best info on this method ive found so far.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003453232122 Syahda

    it’s organic . However, I try to use siplme products and I use very few. I don’t wear makeup, and I use mostly castile soap, shea butter, baking soda, etc things I wouldn’t be afraid to eat.

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  • NubianPrize

    I wear a wig in winter as protective style. This winter has been very snowy..in fact, a snowy nor’easter is going on right now! maybe 6-10″ by tomorrow! After suffering stress related hairloss in the past year I’ve gone back to old school grease; Dax & Blue Magic. I usually use Qhemet but my workouts & a new hair treatment need me to wash 3x/week & I’d use up the expensive Qhemet in no time but grease is cheap AND IT WORKS ! No more split ends & little broken pieces of hair on the floor. I shampoo, condition & apply leave in. Then apply a fingernail size amount of EVCO & Dax Indian hemp. Just emulsify them in my hands & work it thru my hair. Then divide hair into 10 sections & apply a mix of Dax pomade & shea butter to each section before twisting. Then spray with a mix of S Curl frizz free, aloe vera juice, & avocado oil. My hair dries soft & moisturized & stays that way between washdays. If it starts to feel dry I spray with the S Curl mix. Don’t have to apply any more grease except on the ends which I moisturize & seal daily.

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  • Vera

    Haven’t worn a perm in nearly a decade, and when I do my wash and gos, moisturizing my hair with some oil and leave in conditioner works, but when I fatiron my hair, pomade seems to do the trick better. Wearing a silk scarf or bonnet to bed was one the best things I started doing as well.

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  • Landry

    I spritz my hair daily with water and seal with grapeseed oil before I braid or twist at night, and my hair 4a/b stays moisturized and fluffy without heaviness and/or greasiness. For me, less is more!

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    • Yonnie

      Yeah this works for me too but… UUUGGGGHHHHHH!!!! So. Much. WORK! I just want to go to bed, lol.

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