How to keep your hair moisturised

Written by Rosalyn O

Dryness is a problem experienced by many naturals. Why is it so important to keep natural hair hydrated? More than anything else, natural hair needs moisture to thrive. Well moisturised hair is supple and elastic, which makes it look soft and prevents breakage.  Dry hair on the other hand looks and feels dull and dry. In order to grow long, strong, healthy hair, it is vital for naturals to have a regualr moisturising regimen. Getting water in your hair is easy. Keeping it there, not so much. Follow these steps below for shiny hair that stays moisturised and retains maximum length:

  1. Use water

Water is the best moisturiser out there. Wet your hair in the shower or using water in a spray bottle, working it in thoroughly. Tip: leave the water in your hair for 15 minutes to make sure it completely saturates the hair. You can also try baggying ( baggying is putting a plastic bag or shower cap over your hair for extended periods of time) your hair to combat extreme dryness.

To your water, you can also add one or all of the following:

  • Conditioner : helps soften hair and smooth cuticles to add shine
  • Oils : depending on oil used, nourish hair from inside, seal moisture in, add fragrance
  • Aloe juice : natural conditioner, humectant and helps prevent dandruff by balancing the pH of the scalp
  • Glycerine : humectant; draws moisture from the air

2. Use Humectant

Humectants like honey, glycerin and aloe vera juice draw water from the atmosphere into your hair and make a great addition to your spritzes or conditioning treatments. Warning: They should be avoided in very hot, dry temperatures or wintery conditions as they would then do the reverse and draw water out of your hair and into the atmosphere. Other humectants are sodium lactate, propylene glycol and sodium PCA.

3. Seal with Oil

Now that you have added water into your hair, how do you keep it in? Simple. Apply a barrier over it to stop it from evaporating. The most effective way is to apply oils that do not easily penetrate into the hair shaft over your wet or damp hair. Common sealants are:

  •  Castor oil
  • Almond oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Grapeseed oil
The advantage of using these is that they help lock moisture in longer so you don’t need to moisturise constantly.
You can still use penetrating oils like coconut, sunflower, avocado, olive and Shea butter but you would need to moisturise frequently.
4. Stay hydrated
We all know that drinking water helps flush out toxins and keeps our skin hydrated but did you know the 8-glasses-a-day rule also benefits our hair? One of the best ways to help your hair from the inside out is to drink lots of water so keep those glasses topped up for happy hair.

5. Avoid using heat
Using heat to dry your hair, even on a low setting, leaves your hair dryer than it would be if you air dried it. To stretch your hair without heat, use methods such as twisting or braiding, threading or the tension method.
6. Applying moisture based products to your hair
AfroRiri hair butter locks in moisture in hair strands, conditions hair making it softer and more manageable. It strengthens and thickens hair and protects from dryness. It is made with the best oils for healthy hair growth.

Below is a short and in no way exhaustive list of ingredients which can often be found in a moisturising product

Behentimonium Chloride/BTMS/Cetrimonium Chloride/Cetrimonium Bromide – these act primarily as an emulsifying agent but because they are cationic quaternary compounds, they provide exceptional conditioning properties. This is what makes hair feel soft and easy to comb.

Aloe Vera – known to have anti-inflammatory properties, aloe very is a popular addition as it is also a great moisturiser.

Hydrolysed proteins – hydrolysed proteins usually have a smaller molecule size so they can penetrate and adsorb to the hair shaft. Proteins help strengthen hair by filling in holes and cracks in the hair shaft caused by damage, kind of like polyfiller. They also provide a great barrier on the hair shaft to prevent water loss.

Cetyl/Cetearyl alcohol – these are saturated fatty alcohols, not to be confused with the boozy drying kind. They act as a thickener and impart an emollient feel to the product.

Botanical extracts – this is the concentrated from of botanical matter and is usually extracted using some sort of solvent which can either be water, oil or alcohol. Depending on the botanical used, it can provide a range of benefits for hair and scalp. Popular extracts include nettle, rosemary, lavender and horsetail, marshmallow, amla, brahmi and neem,

Hope this was helpful. xoxo

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