By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom

One of my friends recent­ly decid­ed to become seri­ous about her hair health. Her goals are to increase the full­ness of her hair by min­imis­ing break­age and increase her length reten­tion. She dili­gent­ly did her read­ing up on the inter­net and came to me with ques­tions about mois­ture. I real­ized on speak­ing to her that mois­ture can be a com­plete red her­ring for some nat­u­rals. There is the per­cep­tion on nat­u­ral sites that elim­i­nat­ing dry hair is the path to full and long healthy hair. I think that this is only a par­tial truth, there are cer­tain aspects of han­dling nat­u­ral hair where mois­ture has no role. This is my break­down of what mois­ture can and can­not do.

1. Moisture will not help your hair to grow

This is per­haps one of the biggest mis­con­cep­tions about mois­ture. The lev­el of water in your hair has no influ­ence on hair growth. The growth rate of your hair is deter­mined genet­i­cal­ly and can be influ­enced by diet. In gen­er­al even a poor diet will still allow your hair to grow at a nor­mal rate, it is usu­al­ly in star­va­tion or depri­va­tion of pro­tein when your hair will slow down, stop grow­ing or fall out. Hav­ing mois­turised hair will not help your hair to grow faster.

2. Moisture can play a role in helping retain growth

The real role of mois­ture is in mit­i­gat­ing dam­age to hair dur­ing han­dling. This has a valu­able role in ensur­ing that hair growth can be retained as less dam­age to the strand means that the hair can con­tin­ue to be present for more years.

Han­dling hair is not restrict­ed to just wash­ing and comb­ing, it is also cru­cial when styling both free hair and hair in a pro­tec­tive style (e.g braids and twists). A lit­tle bit of water helps to make hair more flex­i­ble allow­ing it to be manip­u­lat­ed with­out break­ing. Dry hair will tend to snap eas­i­ly even with gen­tle force, there­fore mois­ture is impor­tant even in a pro­tec­tive style.

3. Moisture can help your hair look and feel better

I do not real­ly need to explain this point too much. The look and feel of mois­turised hair is much nicer than very dry hair which has a ten­den­cy to look dull and brit­tle.

4. You cannot eliminate dry hair

If your hair is nat­u­ral­ly dry, it will always be dry because added mois­ture is tem­po­rary. For some nat­u­rals, hair can be dry as a result of using cer­tain prod­ucts e.g a dry­ing sham­poo and elim­i­nat­ing that pro­duct is able to restore mois­ture. How­ev­er, the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple with nat­u­ral hair, will tend to have nat­u­ral­ly dry hair. The rea­son why the term mois­ture rou­tine exists is because adding water to hair and keep­ing it around and in the shaft with oils and mois­turis­ers is a task that has to be repeat­ed sev­er­al times as hair switch­es from its mois­turised state to its default dry state. The only way to influ­ence the lev­el of water trapped inside your hair or on its sur­face with­out phys­i­cal­ly adding water to it is to change the exter­nal envi­ron­ment — i.e high humid­i­ty = mois­ture heav­en.

5. Moisture and shrinkage go hand in hand

If your goal is to show­case as much length as pos­si­ble or if you are aim­ing to stretch your hair, you have to bear in mind that added mois­ture brings in shrink­age. Some styles require that you use less mois­ture for exam­ple if you are main­tain­ing a heat straight­ened style or some nat­u­rals who wear twists as a pro­tec­tive style, may find it eas­ier to main­tain the style for longer and reduce meshing/ mat­ting by reduc­ing shrink­age due to fre­quent water addi­tion.

6. Moisture routines vary

There is no set for­mu­la for main­tain­ing mois­turised hair. There is no rule book that you have to apply water, oil or a mois­turis­er every day or every oth­er day. For some nat­u­rals, it is suf­fi­cient to sham­poo, con­di­tion and apply a leave in once a week. For oth­er nat­u­rals, it is a rou­tine involv­ing mist­ing hair once or twice a day and using an oil or but­ter to help main­tain the mois­ture for longer. For oth­ers it is a rota­tion between sham­poo­ing and con­di­tion­er wash­ing. In oth­er words, a mois­ture rou­tine has to be indi­vid­u­al and you have to exper­i­ment to find the prod­ucts, wash­ing and mois­tur­is­ing rou­ti­nes as well as fre­quen­cy that work best for your hair.

Ladies, do the­se 6 facts ring true for you? How does mois­ture play a role in your reg­i­men?

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24 Comments on "6 Ways Moisture Impacts Hair Growth and Length Retention"

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[…] is any­thing like Vir­ginia, the most impor­tant thing to keep in mind is the best way to main­tain mois­ture. What are the ben­e­fits of mois­tur­iz­ing your hair?  Well, for starters, it’s impor­tant to […]

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[…] 6 Ways Mois­ture Impacts Hair Growth and Length Reten­tion […]

arb

Mois­ture is very impor­tant to hair growth. I was wear­ing a weave, and my hair was braid­ed. I washed my hair every two weeks braid­ed, and put the weave back in. After six months I took the braids out to wash and re braid and my hair was the same length of the weave. Sham­poo and con­di­tion­er was the key to my hair growth.

KitKat
I was sur­prised to see peo­ple dis­agree­ing with the post­ing and stat­ing that water “grows” their hair. My hair is def­i­nite­ly health­ier when I water it often, co-wash and seal with olive oil. I’m able to retain more length. The only thing that seems to affect the rate of growth is what goes inside of my body. I have to add iron to main­tain a nor­mal rate (great for my eye­brows, too!) and biotin/protein, fish oil and greens seem to help. Per­haps drink­ing water helps. But how could some­thing applied top­i­cal­ly affect the rate of growth instead of the amount… Read more »
12Gauge
One very impor­tant fac­tor that is list­ed in the arti­cle that most peo­ple don’t like to hear…is. “Genet­ics.” I have long said that genet­ics plays a key role in hair growth, hair loss, receed­ing hair­li­nes, the works. It doesn’t negate the fact that healthy hair care reg­i­mens can still grown hair, but it is still very true. I look at a lot of the videos on youtube and wom­en grow­ing their hair and most are very stead­fast on their views that genet­ics had noth­ing to do with their hair growth. Then how do Indi­an wom­en have hair to their waist… Read more »
lea
se as brasileiras ou indi­anas tem cabe­los com­pri­dos e porque elas sabem como cuidar deles e nos as africanos temos um tipo de cabe­lo difer­ente. tambem ha negras em africa com cabe­los bem lon­gos… as negras tem que apren­der a cuidar dos seus cabe­los indi­vid­ual­mente e ver o que fun­ciona mel­hor e devo diz­er que a genet­i­ca nada tem a ver so te diz a cor dos teus cabe­lo o tipo de cabe­lo que iras ter mas nun­ca te diz se iras ter o cabe­lo com­pri­do ou cur­to.… e as vezes essas brasileiras e indi­anas que ves tem o cabe­lo… Read more »
Reece Wynter
google trans­la­tion-whether Brazil­ian or Indi­an has long hair and because they know how to take care of them and the Africans have a dif­fer­ent kind of hair. also black ha in Africa with very long black hair … the have to learn to take care of their hair indi­vid­u­al­ly and see what works best and I must say that genet­ics has noth­ing to do so tells you the col­or of your hair the kind of hair iRAs have but nev­er tells you if anger have long or short hair .… and some­times the­se Brazil­ian and Indi­an ves who has long… Read more »
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[…] set your expec­ta­tions about mois­tur­iz­ing. Black Girl Long Hair has a great arti­cle on what mois­ture can and can’t do. In sum […]

Nina
Well, Good arti­cle but I beg to dif­fer with some points. It’s a well writ­ten arti­cle but it’s a bit to ‘harsh’. I got a bit dis­cour­aged when I read your arti­cle. #think­ing. Liv­ing in South Africa, water is a MUST. If u say water does­nt grow hair, and I stop spritz­ing my hair with water, my hair would be fried by the sun because its quick­ly evap­o­rat­ed. So i don’t look much for length (since you say water caus­es shtink­age. True, but going nat­u­ral , one has to expect that). Oh well, keep up your flaw­less work. I’ll keep… Read more »
Nina

*shrink­age

Bdmartins

That’s all good. Thanks for all that guys

Candice

Water is def­i­nite­ly your hairs best friend, despite con­trary belief. Love this arti­cle about mois­tur­iz­ing hair too: http://www.exoticallure.com/black-hair-tips/Moisturize-Hair-for-Fast-Black-Hair-Growth.htm

Michelle

When I use oil and water as mois­turis­er, my hair looks amaz­ing but I get shrink­age. When I use oil straight-up (either coconut, or olive, or brand-names like ‘Africa’s Best’ and the like) my curl pat­tern loosens up like nobody’s busi­ness, you wouldn’t believe it’s the same hair…I don’t believe that it’s MY hair!!!! My hair still looks amaz­ing BUT plain oil tends to be sweat­ed out faster and the amaz­ing results are usu­al­ly short-lived.

anon25

My hair is nat­u­ral­ly very dry & extreme­ly tight coiled like the spring In ball point pens. I have to wash at least every 7 days as my hair is very porous, more if I exer­cise a lot in the week. Dur­ing the week I’ve now realised a water spritz & cas­tor oil appli­ca­tion before re twist­ing works to replace mois­ture & curl. Miss Jessie’s But­ter­cre­me works best to retain mois­ture but I’d need a tub a mon­th if use twice a week min­i­mum. Where­as my friend has stopped wash­ing her hair and it remains soft with­out oils, etc.

hazel pedersen

Any tips for Euro­pean hair, limp and thin­ning

Stephanie Tabva

TRY pro­tein treat­ment Like aphogee two step pro­tein treat­ment every two weak.limit heat as well

LoveCurls

All of the research I’ve done, includ­ing con­sult­ing a nutri­tion­ist, dis­agrees with this post. My expe­ri­ence with my own hair does as well.

curlsofnature

When I was iron defi­cient my hair stopped grow­ing. Some of it then fell out and I had notice­able bald patch­es.

3 months after I was ill and had surgery my hair fell out.

When I was severe­ly vit­a­m­in D defi­cient my hair stopped grow­ing.

Research has shown I’m not unique in this as it hap­pens to peo­ple of all hair types. So if your hair isn’t grow­ing and you haven’t been I’ll get your iron and vit­a­m­in D lev­el test­ed.

mangomadness
Every­thing in this post rings true for my hair. I wash and style my hair every 5–7 days so I mois­tur­ize about once every 5–7 days. I always mois­tur­ize before I tran­si­tion my hair style from a braid-out to a puff or bun.  For me mois­tur­iz­ing it using a water-based, oil/butter-rich cream on damp hair (Exam­ple: Shea Mois­ture Deep Treat­ment Masque). With that said, no amount of spritz, mois­tur­iz­er and/or oil/butter will revive my hair if it is in need of a wash. Wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing on a reg­u­lar basis is the foun­da­tion of my hair’s mois­ture. I also find that keep­ing… Read more »
Natalie
I think the points made are very true, I’ve accept­ed that my hair is nat­u­ral­ly dry and will nev­er look glossy and shiny like in the mag­a­zi­nes. When I used to “water” my hair every­day it was not hap­py and the shrink­age was awful I found it very dif­fi­cult to style my hair. So, I used to be mad on mois­tur­is­ing my hair but now I just let it do it’s own thing. I usu­al­ly find that if when I wash it I give it a good deep con­di­tion then I don’t need to moisurise it until the third day. So… Read more »
luminous

Mois­ture has played a big part in length reten­tion for my hair. I stopped using sham­poo and I spray water on my hair and seal with oil or shea but­ter every­day. I usu­al­ly wear my hair in twists and twistouts. Also, my hair is much shin­er since I gave up sham­poo. My hair also blows in the wind now and isn’t so stiff :)

Netta

This arti­cle couldn’t have come more on time. I hap­pened to find it as I was rub­bing coconut oil between my yarn braids. For the moment my mois­ture rou­tine is spray with a water/condish mist, mois­tur­ize w/ coconut oil and alter­nat­ing seal­ing with cas­tor oil and aloe vera gel.
When not in yarn braids, it gets much more com­pli­cat­ed lol.

Bernadette
I used to be obsessed with my hair — lit­er­al­ly. I added mois­ture (with water and a leave in) every oth­er day, washed and twist­ed every Sun­day, etc.  Now that it has reached a cer­tain length, I’ve begun to slack off. And, my main method of slack­ery is to not mois­tur­ize it. I’ve gone the last 2–3 months with­out doing my added-moisture+leave-in rou­tine. And, my hair has def­i­nite­ly suf­fered. It’s crunchier, dri­er, duller, and any oth­er -er you can think of.  This week, I got back on the wag­on and start­ed adding water to my hair and then seal­ing with my mois­tur­iz­er!!… Read more »
neytiri

It plays a big role. I have just learned that after 8 years of being nat­u­ral. This is the first time I am acu­tal­ly try­ing to grow it out know so I have to keep it mois­tur­ized. I ususal­ly use water and then shae but­ter to seal the mois­ture in.

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