2 Simple Ways To Boost Your Hair’s Moisture Level

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A few years back when I first created my YouTube channel chronicling my natural hair experience I said some things that many people resonated with except for one. I stated that water isn’t a lone source of moisture and therefore isn’t moisturizing. I received a fair amount of flack for that statement, but since my hair was long, people trusted my word and the controversy blew over. Fast forward a few years and I am now enrolled in cosmetology school and have read as much literature on natural hair as I can get my hands on, and I have the words to explain what exactly I meant.

My belief now is that water will reflect the true characteristics of your hair, whether it be soft, rough, prone to tangling or damaged. I also believe that water is a partial moisturizer, as it needs additional products to be effective.

Understanding this, here are two simple fixes to help you boost your hair’s moisture level.

1. Use Distilled Water
As you continue on the quest to familiarize yourself with product ingredients in order to achieve your best hair, have you noticed that the water most used in hair products (especially more recently) is distilled or de-ionized water vs. ‘regular’ water? This is because our water supply typically comes from the ground and municipal water can contain varying amounts of magnesium, calcium, fluorine and chlorine, depending where you’re located in the world. Water that contains these dissolved minerals is classified as ‘hard water’. Hard water can cause buildup in pipes, around the bathroom tub and also on your strands. And, if you frequently mist or wet your hair with tap water, this buildup comes long before a once monthly clarifying shampoo treatment.

If you are like me and have thin strands that are pliable (mold very easily and fragile), you are more vulnerable to the effects of hard water. A very simple and cost effective solution is to purchase distilled water and only use that on your hair. A shower head filter (which will cost anywhere from $30 to $90) is also a great fix.

2. The LOC Method
Good moisturizing technique is also important. If you clarify once per month, skip the conditioner after shampooing and continue with the L.O.C method. Conditioner will coat the strand for an appearance of healthier hair, but if your strands are desert dry, then it’s a good idea to forego that and get the moisture as close to your strands as possible. L.O.C is the acronym for Liquid, Oil, Cream. After you wash your hair place the oil of your choice onto it, then a cream, which acts as a heavier substance that keeps the oil in place. If you don’t have a cream, try using a leave in conditioner as part of the LOC method, instead of applying it directly immediately after a wash. You’d be surprised at how a simple switching of the application order can soften up your curls and make your hair fun and easy to style without worrying about breakage!

Ladies, have you tried either of these tips? How do you boost the moisture level in your hair?

For more of Domineque check her out on Instagram @lhdc2011 and YouTube, Longhairdontcare2011.

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64 thoughts on “2 Simple Ways To Boost Your Hair’s Moisture Level

  1. water is a moisturizer and therefore is moisturizing, but it doesn’t make your hair SOFT the way that oil and emollients do. It is that soft feeling that women are looking for, and thinking that water is not moisturizing because of that. Do not mistake the softness for being moisturized, it is important to SEAL IN the moisture you have put in, but it is not a sign of moisture itself.

  2. The LOC method huh? Well, what if creams don’t absorb into your hair? Like mine?? Anytime I use a cream, it just ‘sits’ on my hair and I have pretty white-snow-flaked hair all day…oh and it stays wet too! Soooo, any other suggestions? Maybe my hair’s porous-ness is off??

    • I dont think the creams are supposed to be “absorbed” its supposed to keep the moisture in. Which, from what ur saying, is true. I dont know about everyone, but normally when I use deep conditioners along with glycerin after I rinse out the deep conditioner my hair stays moist and its also soft. You can try that I guess. Everyone’s hair is different, so I cant really say it’ll work for you.

      • I suppose the LOC method won’t work for all. I just know my hair feels ‘rough’ after cowashng. I love my banana hair mask, but feel like it’s not enough. Ah well, good article but may not work for me, :)I might add the glycerin with my conditioner next time.

    • LOC method is better for women with high or even normal porosity hair. You sound like you have low porosity to all of it would just sit on top of your hair. This is just from what I’ve read of articles and different experiences with the method.

        • Or maybe try the LCO method instead, that’s what I do. But you have to find a butter that is not so thick, maybe something creamier, or maybe even a hair milk, and then apply a little oil. My hair is low porosity so I understand your plight :)

          • My hair is the same way. I just learned about low porosity. I agree we both have low porosity hair. Take a strand of your hair out of your hair brush and put it in a cup of water if it floats you have low porosity hair.

    • You may be low porosity. Creams just sit on my strands too and take forever to absorb or never absorb at all. I tend to only out creams on at night but in the morning I usually have to wet my hair to thin the cream out ( i only do wash and go’s so the white flakes would be highly visible)

    • Sounds like you have low porosity hair. Heavy creams and products don’t absorb into your hair. Instead, the products sit on top giving a dull whitish residue on the hair or it leaves little white balls. Very annoying, I have the same issue. What has worked for me is to put Long Aide Activator on my hair followed up with a cream. I’ve had success with Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream for natural hair. Something about the glycerine in the the Long Aide that helps with the absorbtion of the the styling cream. You can try it, I can not promise it will help you…alot of this is trial and error. Low porosity hair requires certain combination of products to “bully” the moisture in the hair. Don’t rinse with cold water..it will only exascerbate your low porosity issue closing the cuticle shut without any hope of moisture getting into the strands. Warm water rinse and heat helps tremendously for deep conditioning. I also like mud washes like Terressentials because it is alkaline base and it helps open the cuticle so the moisture can get into the hair. I also think coloring my hair to get rid of the grey helped with my porosity issue as it opened up my cuticles helping with moisture application. I hope that helps.

      • Great advice mlank64 and I also think that a steaming treatment would really help for those with low porosity. I did one the other day and wow, my hair has been holding moisture like you wouldn’t believe. I can’t remember when my hair stayed moist this long.

        • Absolutely, I do steam my hair as well and it helped me retain moisture much longer during the week. Sometimes I feel like I have an abnormally tight cuticle because it has taken me almost 2 years to find products and a technique that works for my low porosity hair.

    • I have fine strands with medium density hair and mine can get weighed down easily by some creams. If a cream is too heavy and is leaving you with a greasy mess, try to forgo the cream and just seal with an oil your hair likes. Sometimes after I’ve washed my hair, my only leave in on DAMP hair is a little jamaican black castor oil. I apply it sparingly to my hair, because its thick, in sections; then braid it and let airdry. my hair air dries so soft.

      THere are no rules in hair care. Maybe it’s just the “LO” method for you. Lol. You can also try sealing with a light hair lotion instead of a cream or butter. It’s your world, hunty. Hope this helps!

    • I have the same issues with creams. Pure aloe juice or gel has worked wonders on my hair. I use it after washing and I made a little mix of aloe juice, sunflower oil, peppermint and lavender essential oil that I use throughout the week. I even added this mixture to my leave in and eco styler gel for a holding/ styling cream. I can put either one on dry hair and instantly my hair wakes up. It even de-tangles my knots if I have any. I don’t think I will ever use anything eles

    • I have the same issues with creams. Pure aloe juice or gel has worked wonders on my hair. I use it after washing and I made a little mix of aloe juice, sunflower oil, peppermint and lavender essential oil that I use throughout the week. I even added this mixture to my leave in and eco styler gel for a holding/ styling cream. I can put either one on dry hair and instantly my hair wakes up. It even de-tangles my knots if I have any. I don’t think I will ever use anything else

  3. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE LONG HAIR DOESN’T MAKE YOU ANYONE’S EXPERT. VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE FACT THAT YOU ARE WRITING BLOGS FOR THIS PAGE. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO EMBRACE YOUR TEXTURE YOU’RE TOO BUSY BEING ADDICTED TO HEAT

    • sounds a bit harsh dont you think? she actually started off with just above neck length hair and has been on a journey for about 5 years making her hair waist length. i’d say we would all appreciate her knowledge because she has come so far. yes she tends to blowdry her hair but that is a personal choice and she doesnt do it that often anymore.

    • Who p*ssed in you oatmeal? good advice is good advice regardless of whether someone follows the same hair practices or not. What Dominique’s written isn’t controversial – using non-tap water and the LOC method, which works for many naturals. This is bglh.com not tinasmithchooseswhoseopinionisvalid.com

      • That natural nazi is back again i see – whether it be on threads like this one or even in the comment section in videos, she’s there most times making smarmy remarks about people and then everything is capitalized. probably just came back from vacation. Ever heard of “free will” if you haven’t you should learn the term. We all have the freedom to do what we want with what’s ours.

    • Errrr angry much dude? Very few people have PhDs in natural hair…most writers encourage you to decide what works for you

    • I don’t understand your comment. Where did she say that she was anyone’s expert? Also, she obviously had to start from somewhere, do you think she was born with this much hair? At some point she was where you are now! Apparently what works for her has paid off. It’s fine that her techniques does not work for you, so there is no need to knock her methods…And what makes you think that those who stretch their hair whether its with heat, braid-outs, bantu knots, twist etc do not embrace their true texture? Have you ever thought that maybe it is an attempt to minimize single strand knots, tangles, breakage, dryness etc? For many women these methods are for convenience, style longevity and manageability. It’s all about understanding your hair and working with it…Someone with a different texture may suffer greatly from using her method but yet her hair continues to thrive. These youtubers are normal everyday people documenting their trials and errors as they continuously go through the learning process just like the rest of us. So don’t assume and don’t put them on pedestals. Think before you speak/type.

    • I forgot to mention that another reason why some people use the stretching methods I mentioned in my first comment is because some women have a desire for longer lengths and for some us the shrinkage prone, tightly curly/coiled, naturally dry and or thin strands can get in the way of certain length goals so these methods can be used as one of the few ways to retain most of their potential length. So as mentioned before its all about practicality, the convenience and manageability in order to attain one’s goal.

    • Who are you talking to and how does this relate to the topic at hand? Do you work this hard at being a bi…. or does it come naturally? I thought the moderators booted your negative a….off this site a while ago if not, your 15 minutes were up.

    • Ah TINA SMITH! I was wondering where you have been. I can see that your anger is as seething and potent as ever!! Score from our judges….A big ole 10 out 10 on the venom meter. Keep it up girlfriend!

  4. @ Andi..ever tried using a steamer??? this would help to open the pores on your hair strands. Learned that from YouTuber Haircrush… video is called HAIR POROSITY 101!

    • Great advice indie, steamers are the TRUTH! My hair has always been dry and fragile, but after using the steamer for the first time a few days ago, my hair feels better than it has in probably years, seriously!

  5. So this has nothing to do with the post but just wanted some feedback.. So I’ve been 100% natural for 5 years but I wore weave or pressed my hair. January 1st I started embracing my natural hair texture.. Which I adore, everything seemed to be going well and it was flourishing and growing… I bun a lot because I am an avid runner (reason I was trapped in weaves so long).. Anyhoo yesterday I notice that one small section probably about 1/4 of inch wide broke off and is like 2 inches long (where I out the ponytail holder and brush to smoove), the rest is between 9-11 inches… I couldn’t believe it, I can certainly cover it but should should I chop again or just nurture that section.. Just need advice because I’m annoyed.

    • Cut it if it’s damaged. Take it from someone who’s been there, those splitting/breaking strands will only move up the strands.

      • I agree with cutting it, I tried to hold on to my damaged ends, and it wasn’t good, it just kept splitting and I saw in on my sink, on the floor, and in my comb everyday :)

    • Nurture that 2-inch section. What would cutting it do, when it’s already so short, anyway? And I certainly wouldn’t chop off a 9-11 inch section of hair to match a 2-inch, damaged section of hair.

      What I would recommend, instead of chopping the hair, would be to reconfigure your regimen so that you are no longer damaging that 2-inch chunk. Evaluate your technique and handling strategies.

      Unless you get to the root of the problem and adjust your actions accordingly, all that you would be doing would be delaying the inevitable–more breakage, etc.

      • Thanks so much Ashley, I did trim the end off that section as soon as I saw it.. It’s where I out my elastic for my bin so I know to switch it up and not pull too tights.. Thanks for the feedback my husband though I was crazy, he’s like I can’t even see what you are talking about and you talking about cutting all your hair off.. Thanks really appreciate this forum.. Oh and I realized I have been forgetting my monthly protein treatment for a while

          • Also, if you’re wearing a bun b/c it’s hard to keep a style with all the running, try the Nike dry fit scarf. I run as well and at first my hair was suffering b/c I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. The dry fit absorbs most of the perspiration from your hair. Once you remove the scarf, I would suggest not touching it until you hair completely dries. I’ve maintained a wash and go for 6 days through 4 runs with the scarf.

  6. Totally, I noticed that FL water is so much worse than NY water on my skin, hair and internal body (I don’t even drink it; I fill up gallon jugs). The difference is very evident in my strands and though I haven’t used a filter yet, I believe in the method. Water, cream, oil, that’s how I keep the moisture in.

    vertmoot.blogspot.com

    • Truth! NY and tri-state water is generally soft and neutral pH 7, we are extremely lucky to have some of the gentlest and most hair and skin and nutrition friendly water on the planet. It makes having distilled, spring, well, rain or heat-’sofetened’ water unnecessary IMO as it has never been on the radar of any natural or hair lover I know here.

      HOWEVER, when I travel to Europe or the UK or other parts of the U.S., I see the difference in my hair and skin immediately and it’s not good! And when my friends arrive from other states and Europe where there is hard water, they experience their hair in a way they never did before, they never want to leave!

      Great article, loved that she brought up hard vs soft water variations! Water is my only moisturizer and oil is a good sealant that works well for me.

    • Truth! NY and tri-state water is generally soft and neutral pH 7, we are extremely lucky to have some of the gentlest and most hair and skin and nutrition friendly water on the planet. It makes having distilled, spring, well, rain or heat-’softened’ water unnecessary IMO as it has never been on the radar of any natural or hair lover I know here.

      HOWEVER, when I travel to Europe or the UK or other parts of the U.S., I see the difference in my hair and skin immediately and it’s not good! And when my friends arrive from other states and Europe where there is hard water, they experience their hair in a way they never did before, they never want to leave!

      Great article, loved that she brought up hard vs soft water variations! Water is my only moisturizer and oil is a good sealant that works well for me.

  7. I’ve heard people refer to the LOC method as Leave-In -> Oil -> Cream. I’ve tried LOC with Leave-In and have had wonderful results.

  8. I want to buy a shower filter in the future ’cause I think it’s benefit the health of my hair and skin.

    I moisturize with leave-in conditioner topped off with a moisturizing cream. I only oil my ends ’cause otherwise my hair would get greasy.

    Another technique I use to boost moisture is weekly pre-shampoo deep conditioning with conditioner and oil (coconut oil or castor oil). I find that this sets up the “base” for my hair moisture level throughout the week as well as makes my styles come out better.

  9. omg Domin! do you know how long I’d seen the acronym and figured it had something to do with locs, so I’d just sorta skip over it?? [Locs are cool on some, but I don't think I'd be patient enough for that...] anwyay, ::sigh:: talk about a ding moment! lol I think I already do something like this, but with leave-in… and I do the oil last tho, but tomorrow I’ll try oil first– olive. I just got some of the good stuff from southern france too!

  10. I have always used filtered water (chlorine free) on my hair but my experience with using water mostly and avoiding products was that my hair got really damaged. What I think is that while water is what hydrates your hair, water cannot nourish or strengthen your hair. As a matter of fact, incorrect usage of water can weaken your hair and make it frizzy. With all of the products and natural ingredients you use, knowing when and how to use them is important. Also, not every natural ingredient is for everybody. Incorrect usage can do much more harm than good.

    I started doing the loc method literally last night. I just wrote a blog post on it if anyone is interested, I really need some visitors on my blog. I have been blogging for a year and need more following.

    I am mixed and was initially warned by an African American woman that my hair was too fine for the loc method. I do not have what ppl classify as “black” or even “mixed” hair by appearance. My hair is curly and definitely thick but it has an appearance of being much more like the curly hair of someone from a different nationality. Anyhow, apart from that deception, my hair is extremely dry, and while it looks healthy, it is suffering breakage. My hair is low porosity, and long, and breastfeeding seems to have made moisturizing my hair even more impossible, though I continue with it, I just made some dietary adjustments and drink more water. I was Paleo before and now I feel like a semi vegetarian, though I am not into the vegetarian beliefs, I do need more plant foods in my diet and was open to brown rice since it is gluten free, it is supposed to be good for your hair.

    Anyway, last night I did a banana/avocado treatment, and afterwards, I did the loc method. I know already that lco would not work for me. It has never worked to just out oil over a water based moisturizer for me. So I reversed the order, and I think…um, if I did this consistently it should be next to impossible for my hair to continue breaking. I will say though that I do not skip the conditioner step. I use a heavy conditioner made by 1ballerina on youtube because I can manually detangle my hair with that conditioner in five minutes whereas with Giovanni I am looking at quite a bit more time than that.

    But then I did rinse it and do loc. I am happy with it so far but as with all things I need time to be sure. I don’t really see how this could fail me except that I might have to make adjustments with climate changes.

    Being that my hair was breaking, I have been wearing it completely down all day and night and it has not even tangled yet due to the loc method. Normally I would have knots by now.

    • Thanks for sharing. All of this talk about chlorine-free water makes me really want to get a filter for my hair and skin.

      That said, thanks also for adding the tip that water by itself is not moisturizing enough. Sealing (with oils, for instance) is an integral part of the moisturizing process that simply cannot be skipped if you have drier hair and wish to have long-lasting moisture.

      Even adding a bit of oil, leave-in conditioner, aloe vera juice/gel, or natural gel is better than nothing. These types of products help the curls to clump together and reduce knots and tangling, thereby reducing breakage and keeping the integrity of the hair cuticle intact by acting as a barrier to the elements (hair rubbing on clothes, couches, car seats, pollution, etc.). If you are wishing to grow your hair longer, maintaining the cuticle is the number one concern.

  11. I like the thought process behind why water by itself is not completely moisturizing. Great article! Thank you for sharing!

  12. I did the LOC method last night, my hair is super soft and shiny. I washed my hair using Shea Moisture Shampoo, then wrung it out, added my castor oil and Vatika Coconut Oil mix to my hair then followed up with shea moisture curl smoothie, did about ten flat twists. Beautiful hair in the am! Love it.

  13. The LOC method doesn’t work for me, and actually, IMO of course, it is not even scientifically sound. It would appear that the O (Oodil) block out the C – Conditioner/Creme because the conditioner would not be able to penetrate through the oil. My method of LCO (Liquid (Water), Conditioner, and Oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) works best for me. Sometimes I even just do L-O (Liquid and Oil)

    Everybody’s hair is different, do what works

  14. I have always been natural but never understood how to care for my hair properly. I was teased alot in elementary school about my short thick hair so one day I grabbed an iron used to sauder or solder metal and raked it over my hair: instant relaxed look. I loved it then but my hair has never been the same. That’s over 15yrs. It is lighter now but I find i have some? split ends. My question: do I need to do a big chop?

  15. I love the LOC method! Before I started using it I found that I put way too my h product on my hair and frequently found it necessary to cowash. After using the LOC method for months, I can say that it is truly “hair-changing.” My liquid of choice is of course water, I use whatever oil I’m liking at the moment it’s currently Shea moisture elixir, and either palmers coconut oil formula hair milk or the hair pudding as my cream. Don’t judge me for my use of products with “cones.” I’ve found that my curly, afro texture hair loves thicker silicone based products after much trial and error. At least give the LOC method a try, to the ladies with doubts about its effectiveness. I’ve also found that I just had to play around with my oils and creams to reap the most benefit from the LOC method. Happy experimenting!

  16. I am a cosmetologist and I have found that If you have low porosity hair, it helps to let it air dry after shampooing then apply any moisturizing product. Water already in the hair decreases absorption of other moisturizers (that’s why it is good to wet your hair before swimming in chlorine or salt water). The oils one should use for after shampoo moisturizing should be polar oils such as coconut or jojoba. Also glycerine in the form of “jheri” curl moisturizer is another great after shampoo moisturizer. I prefer Wave Nuveau Moisturizing Finishing Lotion because glycerine alone can be too thick for some hair. But anyone CAN benefit from a good clarifying shampoo followed by a moisturizing shampoo then a an emollient deep conditioner containing pure coconut oil applied with a shower cap and heat for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, rinse. Let air dry about 85% then rub in the wave nuveau moisturizer. After that has dried some, rub some ORS Incredibly Rich Moisturizing lotion through the hair (it goes on light but will disappear as it is absorbed into the hair.

  17. Pingback: Humidity and Healthy Hair | I Write Medical

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