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By Chinwe of Hair and Health

After finding a great conditioner and a good moisturizer, what more can you do to increase moisture retention?  The following are four tips that have helped me – and will hopefully help you in your natural hair care journey:

1. Wash your hair regularly and sufficiently

The drenching of the hair with water (a natural moisturizer in and of itself) can replenish dry strands. Washing with a cleanser also removes dirt, pollution, and product buildup that may block moisture penetration. Even though we have historically been taught that regular washing leads to dry hair, it is more so the TYPE of shampoo that translates to moisture loss. Stick with gentle shampoos that leave your hair feeling clean but not stripped.

2. Mix glycerin and aloe vera gel with your sealant

Sealing the hair with an oil and/or butter helps to ‘lock’ in the moisture (i.e., water) from washing and conditioning. However, sometimes we need a little more beyond sealing.  If you are a mixtress, try incorporating glycerin (a humectant), aloe vera gel (a moisturizer), and a little water into your sealant mixture for extra moisture retention.  (Use the appropriate preservative, if necessary.)  If you are not a mixtress, you may alternatively benefit from applying a heavy cream after sealing with an oil.

3. Choose the right material and weave for your bonnet

I work with polyester and silk regularly and have come to learn that there is such a thing as “good quality” polyester as well as “poor quality” silk.  Not all polyester is bad for our natural hair, and not all silk is luxurious.  Bonnets and scarves that are fabricated from polyester charmeuse (or, better known as “satin charmeuse”) or silk charmeuse are generally good quality.  Why is this? Well charmeuse is a type of weave that yields a softer-than-satin finish and a silk or polyester made with this weave may help with moisture retention better than any other weave.

4. Air-dry in medium twists or braids

Twists and braids force my hair to trap and better absorb the moisture in my strands. After a few days or more in twists or braids, I can wear a loose hairstyle that retains more moisture than had I worn the set for just one day. In my experience, protective styling is not just reserved for the mechanical protection of the ends. It has the added benefit of helping your ends absorb and retain moisture after a washing session.  Medium or small twists work better for me then big or jumbo ones.

Ladies, how do you increase moisture retention?

Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more!
http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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62 Comments on "4 Ways to Keep Your Hair Moisturized Longer"

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Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post!
It’s the little changes which will make the most significant
changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

anonymous

Please….for me none of this works. To keep my hair moisturized longer I rotate some light cleansers and just use mineral oil as my leave in. Then I clarify once a month. If I add anything to the equation my hair rebels. I do not “moisturize” my hair I just wash it when it needs to be washed.

Andreja

Mineral oil is terrible for hair. Have you tried castor oil to seal your hair? I only really use water and a sealant oil. Very rarely, I use a high quality leave in conditioner before the oil seal.

Shana Scott

I have tried aloe and it makes my hair dull. Shea butter, it makes my hair dull. Coconut oil dries my hair out and then breaks it off. Silicones don’t work after the second day. If you look at the ingredients in natural hair care, it’s hard to find something free of all theese ingredients. So I started using pure lanolin in grease form mixed with a little sweet almond oil and twisted my hair while it was still damp and my hair has been so healthy and shiny.

shoniegee

Can you substitute aloe vera gel for the juice?

visit me @ http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWaYou54I1mk_Bq6kZrzcxw

Mitchell

To any person out there considering work in the security industry, my advice is go ahead! You’ll meet terrific individuals, learn lots and never look back. So a lot better than a dull 9-5er!

najuma

The point is not how long can the hair stay moisturized because different textures require more or less trying time. I think that if you keep moisturizing tools and accessories nearby, you can use them whenever needed. I do a through drench in the morning, oil and or shea butter my scalp and extend to the ends of the hair. Towel dry excess water lightly and go. By mid-day, I pull out my spray bottle and use it with a quick five minute massage and I am on my way. Peace.

Janelle

I’m currently shopping for a decent sized workdesk for our office. Just not sure if I should buy a standard one or to find something that is more bespoke with the rest of our Somerset.

Rosalee

Would the glycerin and aloe vera gel mix work well with organic virgin coconut oil, and how much of each would you say to be the recommended amount?

Andreja

It would work. As for amounts, you will have to see what works well for your hair. Everyone is different. I know for myself, I apply aloe juice then seal with coconut oil, then if it’s winter or I know I won’t be able to reach my hair a lot, I seal with a heavier cream or castor oil.

michelle

Oh, and it’s super moisturizing.

michelle

Lo-po ladies try the Giovanni leave in. It’s the first leave in cream conditioner I’ve used that doesn’t leave my hair oily. It also has excellent slip.

rrstyles

@Chinwe…this is a great article,very informative on a basic level which is what I think we need to see more of because there are more and more ladies going natural and don’t know where to find that bottom line basic info that’s the foundation of them keeping their hair together and healthy…dont forget to keep those ends trimmed ladies!! lol

nappy headed black girl

I do all of these except the glycerin/aloe vera tip. Since I wash often, I don’t think I have a problem keeping my hair moisturized.

And I only use glycerin certain times of the year anyway.

imani

I have been questioning if sealing is good for me bc if oil seals in my initial moisturizer…I dry out over the week so I have 2 reapply throughout the week. I find there’s a diff in my hairs abaility to absorb the moisturizer during the week and I’m thinking its bc I’ve sealed my hair so I’m keeping additional moisture out…I find when I don’t seal ,as I reapply through the week,my hair responds better.

Ochogo

Am keen to see what other naturals are experiencing.I have always wondered about this. Can your hair absorb any products after sealing with heavy oils like castor?
I hope someone responds.

AnonSince87

I read on the ‘natural haven’ blog that sealing does not prevent moisture from entering (as least not completely). Have a look through her archives, it’s somewhere there. Only thing is I think she was answering a question in the comment section of a post, so that’ll make it lil harder to find (sorry!). But try google and see what comes up! 🙂

Deb

yeah, i thought it was only silicones and mineral oil/petrolatum that completely sealed out moisture.

rrstyles
@imani…I definitely have to moisturize through out the week. This is my simple regimin to maintain moisture. Shampoo weekly and almost always apply heat to conditioners. Steaming is great also. I usually do 12 flat twist. Keep it twist for 1 or 2 days but spraying with an oil/water mixture every night when its twist down. After 2 or 3 days if my hair looks dry I will retwist it using the same parts which are easy to find. Usually take 20 minutes to do. I lightly mist before twisting, when finish I mist again heavier. Each time I twist… Read more »
Jenelle B.
I have kinky hair that is low porosity and I have tried aloe vera gel last summer when I made my made my shea butter mix. I love it and it worked great and I will return to it this summer again. Glycerin on the other hand has worked greater for me when I use it with oils before I wash my hair so that when my hair gets to the water, the glycerin is already doing its job. I have tried it after washing and my hair was quite dry and was a fuzz ball. I’m thinking of trying… Read more »
closetnewsresale

What perservatives should be used for the mixtures

Jenais//BombshellHairAffair

To keep in my moisture I have to use ample oil and air dry. My natural texture is very wiry in some areas and supple in others, fine strands here, thick strands there. Lots of hair at my crown, not as much around my perimeter. I have very small spirally curls that don’t keep their shape very well. I think I’d be a 4b if I had to type my hair. I wash my hair once a week, sometimes biweekly, sometimes longer. I’m usually in a wig or extensions so that has a huge effect on what I prefer.

Melanie

Re: washing/shampooing, you have to keep a balance…I find that if I wash my hair too frequently, it of course feels stripped…but OTOH if I go too long I loose all them moisturization I had from the previous conditioning…if that makes sense. :p

Courtney

Glycerin and my hair doesn’t get along AT ALL. I avoid using products that have glycerin in it meaning styling creams,lotions, puddings, or anything. I love Aloe Vera though. I mix it in my shea butter recipe

Ochogo

I need suggestions for my ends which seriously frizz up. They dont last long in stretched out styles. I guess I could use an anti-humectant but I do need to re-moisturise often so this will work against me.
If I sort out my ends I believe I would sort my single strand knots or keep them under control.
For this week I will try using castor oil….

naturalrocks

Have tried the baggy method?

-You do a bun and on the ends apply an oil like olive or castor oil
-Apply plastic bag over it and for maximum results keep it over night.

For day wear you can wear a pony tail piece n have it underneath.

Ochogo

thanks. I will try this

Charlotte
My buddy 1ballerina has a strategy for wrapping your ends at night to stop the single strand knots. Type in 1ballerina on YouTube. I have a lot of tips for reducing them overall. See my youtube video on deep conditioning your hair with coconut oil. In that video I talk about ways to reduce split ends and knots. Essentially you want to get away from wash and go’s and stick with braid out’s. It’s also helpful to wash your hair in sections. I tend to unbraid and rebraid sections while washing to keep my hair smooth. If you like your… Read more »
Ekene

Some people are glycerin sensitive- and I’ve also read that Aloe Vera may not be the best for Low Porosity naturals.

Glycerin works well for me (I have a very kinky 4-inch twa) but I’m going to try the Aloe Vera still, just to see how it goes.

A question, Chinwe- by mixing Aloe Vera and glycerin into a hair butter for sealing, is this what you mean? Or I have to put them on over the oil or butter?

AC

I second your first statement, I’m low porosity and I really wish there were more tips for low porosity hair in general because humectants and aloe vera are definite no no’s for me, but I do like the other tips.

mlank64
I’m low porosity and glycerin in the only thing that gives me moisture for days. I put it in my hair with a shower cap when I take a shower and my hair is soft and curly. I have low porosity hair and I’ve just about given up on any leave-ins that are cream based. I can’t use butters…they don’t absorb in my hair at all. ALoe Vera makes my hair very dry unless I mix it with something to combat the dryness. I’m willing to try the aloe gel and glycerin together and see what happens.
Charlotte
I am also low po and on top of that, I am breast feeding and my hair is extremely long. Glycerin is the only thing that keeps moisture in, but my hair also loves coconut oil and the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (on the occasion I wear a hair product). The secret for my hair is in even distribution. When I figured this out, I learned that I can get lovely hair any day of the week whether I wash it or not. I can comb or take coconut oil through my dry hair in sections, or I can… Read more »
JojoFree

Have you tried Oyin Hair Dew or Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion? Both are my holy grails and are great for my low porosity hair. Hair Dew has castor oil as a main ingredient which my hair loves.

cyndie

What does it mean to seal the hair? This is one of the most confusing things to me. How to do it, when to do it and how often?

Tess

@Cyndie
When we say “seal”, it’s just another way of saying trapping the moisture within our strands. To seal, you could use a heavy oil (like castor oil) or a hair butter (like raw shea butter). You only need to seal after you use a moisturizer on your hair – it could be water, it could be a leave in conditioner.

naturalrocks

Olive oil or coconut oil also are good to seal hair with.

Charlotte
You are right on about the air drying thing. My hair really gives me no option, I either have to braid it, plop it or blow dry it and I personally prefer not to blow dry. Instead what I do is avoid putting anything on the length of my hair and just coat the ends with glycerin, then French braid my hair. By not putting anything else it dries at a practical speed, so I don’t have to wait forever and a day. This keeps your ends healthy, prevents a lot of frizz and single strand knots. You can always… Read more »
Char
I’ve found that I lose a lot of moisture overnight. I forget where I read this, but lately I’ve been spraying my hair with a water/conditioner mixture before bed. Then I put a shower cap on. (Then I put a satin bonnet on. Then I put a satin scarf on top of that. That’s probably seems very extra, but I have a lot of hair and need to double/triple up in order to keep anything on my head for the whole night.) Since I’ve started sleeping in a shower cap, my hair has maintained moisture much better. I’ve gotten used… Read more »
D.P. to Char

I tried sleeping with a plastic cap on my head and I sweated so badly that I woke up itching my scalp!

The Mane Captain

baggy doesn’t work for me either. I always wake up to a itchy scalp. it’s mostly because the scalp feels suffocated since it’s not receiving or giving off any air. I’m sure there’s a medical risk to this and I certainly won’t recommend this to anyone.
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

jasmine

i heard about the shower cap thing from Naptural85.. love the results, hate the sound while im’ trying to sleep..
lol

Ajima

Do you have any suggestions for loc’d women specifically?

Chicago Chica

Glycerin doesn’t work for natural sisters in low moisture areas. I live in the desert, and glycerin isn’t a friend to my hair.

Bobby

And, it doesnt work well in high humidity either!

Dananana

I live in a temperate area with variable humidity; sometimes it’s drought-like, and sometimes (like now) it rains for a week. I LOVE glycerin. I know everyone’s different, and that’s shown by the fact that it works for me no matter what the conditions are… but I only use it in my spritz, which has aloe gel, water, glycerin, and essential oils. Maybe it’s more effective when mixed with aloe?

Deb

you can just use it before getting in the shower. The humidity from the shower steam It’s just as good and you can seal the moisture in after you get out. This is how I’m able to use glycerin in the winter. Works great.

Madametj

Wouldn’t it make some sense to incorporate the aloe and glycerin in the moisture step before sealing?

jungfrau1010

Glycerin makes my hair huge, so I tend to avoid using products with it. However, allowing my hair to air dry (versus using heat) when combined with the other methods you mentioned, keeps my hair moisturized longer.

Bobby

Good tips but Glyercin scares me, last Summer products with it cause my hair to swell, frizz and look a hot mess!

Boyhead

I agree… but, that’s what humectants do…they draw moisture onto itself…so if it’s on your hair, then any moisture in the air they (the humectant) will be attracted too and will cause what you experienced… best to use humectants when you want your hair to swell when YOU want it to.

rrstyles

I absolutely agree! I will be incorporating glycerin in to my spray bottle mixture to get that extra moisture to puff my hair out more and hide those parts from the flat twist outs. The last few weeks have been my best hair days due to all the rain and moisture we have received. Finding that balance is a little tricky but I have been LOVING my hair lately!!

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