Moisture, moisture, and more moisture! LOL. Okay, some of ya’ll may know exactly what I am talking about when it refers to the battle of obtaining and keeping moisture into those natural locks of hair. You may have won a few wars but the battle is never over. Many naturals can attest to the gruesome effects of having dry hair. It looks dull, it breaks easily, and it feels like straw. The exact opposite of having moisturized hair is having hair that looks shiny, encounters little breakage, and feels pliable and soft to the touch.
This brings me to my next point which is that moisture is ultimately water or anything that is water-based. In other words, using good ole’ fashion water can help remedy some of the dryness that naturals face. However, many naturals believe in the Liquid, cream, oil (LCO) or Liquid, oil, cream (LOC) method, of using water or a water-based product which is then followed up with a cream or oil to lock in moisture. On the other hand, there has been some controversy about this. Ultimately, you should try out different methods and then stick to the one that works for your hair.
I have found that using Giovanni’s Direct Leave-in Conditioner coupled with either Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus styling cream or Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream gives my hair definition, moisture, and softness. I didn’t find any difference in applying an oil to my hair and in actuality, it made my hair look drier and more frizzy. At the same time, there are naturals who have great success with the LOC and LCO methods.
Another vital step in taking care of your natural hair is found in your wash day routines. To begin, I believe it is necessary for naturals to wash their hair at least every other week by co-washing (with a conditioner) or shampooing. Washing your hair gives your hair the opportunity to obtain moisture and remove build-up or impurities from the scalp and hair. At the beginning of my journey, I co-washed my hair a lot but I found that it weighed my hair down and my scalp itched quite a bit.
The very first time I clarified my hair, I remember it being soft, bouncy, and having life I had never seen since going natural. Clarifying is important but can also be deceitful. Due to this, I then began clarifying my hair every week and began getting dry hair. I learned that I still needed to incorporate co-washing into my routine and to clarify no more than twice a month, if I wanted to have healthy moisture levels. In essence, find the balance!
Two other underrated but highly beneficial wash day routines are pre-pooing and deep conditioning. The moment I stopped pre-pooing, believing it wasn’t really helping my hair was the moment I began getting more shedding and breakage than before. Pre-pooing is essentially using a natural oil, such as coconut oil on the scalp and hair before it is washed. I would give the hair at least an hour or two to soak up the oils sufficiently before washing it.
Deep conditioning is the bomb.com! No questions asked. I like to section my hair, apply conditioner, comb it out gently, and then twist it to further lock in my conditioner. Afterwards, I make sure I wash with cold water and thoroughly get all residue out of my hair before styling. Personally, I like to do this for a few hours but many people suggest less time especially if you are applying heat to the conditioner.
Last but not least are my beloved protective styles. It just seems that when I found protective styling, I had no desire to go back to wash and go’s. It was nothing short of a godsend for me when it came to feeling like I was owing my naturalism. It gave me moisture for days, an eccentric but fly look, and the healthy hair I had envisioned before my big chop. For those naturals who are suffering with dryness and curl definition, then try protective styles because I guarantee that you won’t regret it.