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The Natural's Guide to Moisture



We've heard it a gazillion times. It's all over the natural hair care boards, blogs, and YouTube. It's the most important natural hair care rule of all: MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE!!!

The key to healthy hair growth and minimized breakage is moisture. It is vitally important that us curly girls keep our hair moisturized at all times in order to achieve optimal length retention.

Natural/curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair because the sebum, the oil that our scalp naturally produces, cannot travel all the way down the hair shaft due to the bends and curves in natural hair. Because of this, the ends of our hair suffers the most from dryness because it's not receiving the hydration it needs.  

Here are some things to keep in mind about moisturizing natural hair:

1. Moisturizing does not equal hair growth
Moisturizing your hair does not make your hair grow. There is no specific thing you can do to your hair to make it grow, like moisturizing it or cutting it. These things just simply maintain and promote the overall health of your hair. This is a common misconception among women looking to grow their hair longer. Your hair's growth rate is determined by genetic factors and is also influenced by your diet. Making sure to hydrate your body daily with water and eating fruits and vegetables can influence your hair's growth rate. At the same time, someone who has a poor diet will still have a normal growth rate. It is important to remember that having moisturized hair will not help your hair grow longer.

2. Moisture is important in retaining your hair's length
Moisture limits the amount of damage to the hair when handling it. Dry, brittle hair is more susceptible to breakage than moisturized hair is. When washing, combing, or styling dry hair, it is easy for the hair to snap, break, and pop because the hair has no flexibility. Moisturizing the hair adds flexibility elasticity to the hair, allowing it to be manipulated without breaking. This ensures that the length of the hair is retained since there is less damage to your strands, meaning, it stays around longer because there is no breakage. 

Let's look at one example: Your hair has grown about three inches over the the course of four months. However, you have about two inches of split, dry, and brittle ends due to lack of moisture. We all know that the health of your hair is more important than the length of your hair, so it's time to get rid of those dry, scraggly ends. 

Though you've gained three inches of growth, you don't see much of that since had to chop off a significant amount of that growth due to dry brittle ends. Therefore, you haven't retained much length because you had to chop off the little bit of hair you grew. This may be why some naturals feel like their hair isn't growing, because as their hair grows, they have to keep cutting it due breakage. 

3. Seal in the moisture
Sealing in moisture is important! Sealing the hair simply locks in the moisture within the hair strand with the help of an oil or butter. Sealing the hair prevents the moisture that was put into the hair from leaving the hair strand. 

4. Moisture routines vary
There's no set rule on how often you need to moisturize your hair. No two heads are the same, so for each natural, moisturizing routines may vary. If your hair tends to suck up product, it might help to moisturize your hair every day to prevent dryness. Naturals with thinner/finer hair may be able to get away with moisturizing and sealing the every couple of days, as product may weigh down the hair and cause product buildup. Some naturals may be able to get away with moisturizing the hair once a week. It all depends on your hair and what works for your hair. 

And last, but not least...

5. WATER
Water is a natural girl's best friend! Water is the ULTIMATE moisturizer for curly girls! Water can be used as your daily moisturizer, or you can use water-based moisturizers to hydrate your curls and combat dryness and frizziness. You can spritz your hair with water throughout the day as a refresher to give your curls a little kick. Make sure to limit practices that strip your hair of its moisture, like frequent blow drying, flat ironing, chemical process, etc...

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