It’s no secret that hair needs moisture to stay hydrated, soft and healthy, but it’s a far lesser-known fact that textured hair needs a lot more of it.
Curly, coily and kinky hair needs to be moisturized much more often, due to the bends and twists in the hair shaft. Unlike straight hair, the natural oils in textured hair don’t travel down the hair strand at a normal rate, so it takes a lot more effort on your end to keep your curly hair soft and hydrated. Many times, you may find that it isn’t enough to simply moisturize your hair with a cream or custard – after feeling soft for a few hours, your hair goes right back to its perpetually dry state. If this is you, then it’s important to know that the key to having moisturized hair that stays hydrated for days, or even weeks, is sealing.
Sealing your hair – what is it?
The term ‘sealing’ refers to the process of sealing or trapping moisture into your hair. Sealing is a key component in the natural haircare regimen of every textured girl, as it ensures that moisture stays within your hair’s cortex instead of evaporating from it within one or two hours.
When it comes to the ways of sealing moisture into your thick, curly hair, there are a few trusted methods that have worked for textured girls for years. These methods are scientifically proven, and for the most part, you don’t need expensive products or tools to do them! Here are four of the best ways to seal moisture into your hair, increase your hair’s hydration and have softer, healthier natural hair.
Oils and Butters
One of the most basic ways that you can up your hair’s moisture retention is by incorporating the use of natural oils and butters into your regimen. These oils and butters don’t just help to nourish and lubricate your hair strands, but applying them to your hair creates a barrier between your strands and the air. This barrier slows the process of evaporation, meaning that you lose moisture more slowly and are able to keep your strands hydrated and supple for longer periods of time.
As oils and butters are vastly different in thickness and heaviness, it’s best to experiment first with oils if your hair is fine or tends to be weighed-down easily. Some great oil/butter choices for sealing are almond and jojoba for lighter oils, castor oil for a heavier oil and shea or mango butter for a thick, nourishing butter choice.
You can seal your hair effectively whether its 3A, 4A or 4C by following the LOC method for textured hair. This method entails a Liquid to moisturize, Oil to seal the moisture in and the Cream, in this case the butter of choice, to add a final boost of sealing power. You don’t need a lot of each to seal, either – an 8 ounce bottle of castor oil can last you more than a year.
When taking a shower, do you rinse your hair with cold water? If you don’t, then you’re missing out on its amazing sealing effects. Cold water doesn’t work in quite the same way as oils. Instead, just like hot water or warm steam opens up the hair’s cuticles, cold water closes them, allowing them to lay flat against the hair shaft. This reduces hair’s porosity and locks moisture into the hair shaft, resulting in shiny, moisturized hair that stays hydrated and bouncy for days.
Hair’s pH is often forgotten in the talk of products and treatments, but here’s a fact – using products formulated for your hair’s pH level helps its cuticles to lay flat! Hair behaves best when at its optimal pH level, anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5. It grows more, breaks less and stays moisturized for much longer.
However, when we use products that aren’t formulated for our hair’s ph or even disrupt it (I’m speaking to you, baking soda!) we can throw off this crucial balance and then become lost as to why we aren’t retaining moisture. To get the best shine, hydration and softness from your locks, opt for products that are specifically pH- formulated, or try naturally pH balanced products like aloe vera juice and apple cider vinegar to lay your hair’s cuticles.
Keeping your thick natural hair moisturized can seem like an endless battle, but by using any or all of these sealing methods, you can be guaranteed to notice a change in your hair within as little as a week. When it comes to moisture, you only get out what you put in, so keep moisturizing and sealing. You’ll be seeing softer, healthier and more beautiful hair in no time.