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.
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?