I know it may seem like having dry hair is just a part of being a 4C queen. Worry not! There are tried and tested solutions for this. Without a doubt, kinky hair textures often suffer from dryness because the shape of the hair strand makes it difficult for sebum to travel down the shaft to moisturize the hair. Finding a moisturizing routine that works for you is going to be the start of a healthy journey for your hair.
The Big Question that most 4C queens always have is, how do you keep 4C hair moisturized? Here are 10 effective ways to keep your hair moisturized:
- Water is your friend, spritzing water on your hair regularly
- Hydration, drink enough water
- Use a good Moisturizer
- Conditioning your hair
- Deep conditioning your hair
- Lock in the moisture using the LOC method
Minimiseexposure to heat
- Keep your hands off your hair
- Sleep in a satin Bonnet
- Wear protective hairstyles
1. Spritzing water on your hair regularly
One of the best things I learnt recently about my 4C hair is that it loves water, this is contrary to what we were told as we were growing up. I keep a simple routine of ensuring I keep my hair moisturized using pure water. I use a spray bottle to spritz the hair until its dump but not wet.
2. Hydration, drink enough water
If you are not well hydrated, it will reflect on your skin and hair. Drink as much water as your body can handle on a daily basis. The recommended amount of water for an adult is 2l a day. So, try you best to stay hydrated all the times.
3. Use a good moisturizer
For most 4C queens, dry hair has always had them staring at themselves in the mirror disappointed because of trying moisturizers that don’t work. I know the struggle, I have gone through it myself. Finding a good moisturizer and a good sealant is always not a walk in the park. Trying out different moisturizers that do not even have water as first or second ingredient sure do damage the hair.
4. Condition your hair regularly
Conditioning your hair helps to add back the moisture to the hair shaft that the shampoo has stripped. The shampooing process also leaves the cuticles raised and thus it is important to use a conditioner to lay the cuticles flat. When selecting your conditioner, aim to get one that has natural ingredients.
5. Incorporate deep-conditioning in your regimen
One of the most important ways to moisturize natural hair is a consistent deep conditioning routine. Consistency is always key in natural hair growth. Natural deep conditioners sit in your hair long enough to penetrate the strands by packing your hair with the moisture and nutrients it needs to thrive. Deep conditioning means applying and leaving it in for a minimum of 30 minutes to give it time to penetrate deeply. A deep conditioner must contain a deep penetrating ingredient such as Olive oil. This is one of the factors that makes deep conditioning different from regular conditioning. After the deep conditioning, style with your normal products, enjoy the results and repeat every 1-2 weeks!
6. Minimize exposure to heat
Avoiding heat at all costs should also always be on your To-do list. Flat irons and blow dryers will strip the moisture out of your hair, leaving it dry and brittle. Once you lose the moisture, it takes a while for natural oils to re-moisturize your hair thereby leaving it at a higher risk of damage
7. Keep your hands out of your hair
Sometimes you may want to feel your curls every time they are in perfect shape or when they are fresh. Touching your hair too frequently will make it dry out faster.
8. Sleep in a satin bonnet
At night, cover your hair with a satin bonnet or scarf to retain moisture while you sleep. 4C queens need to protect their hair at all times whether it’s during the day or night.There are two types of cover-ups we can use for the hair. One from silk and another from satin. Silk is an animal protein fiber, while satin is a fiber weave. There are differences between the two, but either one will prevent moisture loss overnight, along with normal snags and split ends from friction.
9. Wear protective hair styles
Wearing your hair in protective hairstyles works to protect your hair from over exposure to the drying elements. The styles keep your hair and especially the brittle ends well tacked in. When wearing the protective style always remember to keep re-moisturizing.
10. Lock in the moisture using LOC Method
LOC method is hands down one of the best methods to keep natural 4C hair moisturized.
It consists of hydrating the hair with water or a water-based product which is your liquid, sealing in the moisture with an oil and then applying a cream to close the hair cuticles to prevents moisture loss and hair damage through breakage.
Liquid – L stands for leave-in or liquid, as both are used by curlies to provide the moisture that will be sealed in. I would recommend applying a true moisturizer. A true moisturizer has water as the first or second ingredient in the leave-in conditioner or liquid (that you plan on using) to cleansed hair. The liquid opens up the hair cuticles to allow the moisture to enter your hair strands. Once your cuticles are open, the oil is able to penetrate your hair shafts. This enables hair to become softer and shinier while aiding in moisture retention which helps to reduce damage through hair breakage.
Oil – The O step in the LOC method requires you to choose an oil to seal in the moisture you just added to your hair. Good oils to use in the LOC method are those that can penetrate the shaft and seal in/ lock moisture to be retained for a few days which in turn keeps the hair healthy. These oils include: olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
Cream – Lastly, the cream locks in the moisture of the oil so your hair will be moisturized for a longer period of time and this means you won’t have to do the LOC method every day. Applying cream to your hair further locks/seals in the already retained moisture by the oil. Most styling creams will help define your curls and keep them from falling throughout the day. Some people may need additional holding products to help hold and define their curls like curling cream, twist and define cream; moisturizing
Many people with 4C hair choose to prepare their hair for the LOC method by co-washing their hair to avoid losing moisture and to keep their hair manageable.
The LOC method can be done at night or in the morning, depending on what you prefer. It is so easy to incorporate into your routine because it involves using products you probably already own and simply changing the order in which you apply them to your hair
What are the benefits of the LOC method?
Moisture retention is the top benefit of using the LOC method. Moisturized hair leads to less breakage meaning less damaged hair because the hair is more pliable for manipulation, which in return also means less shedding.
Applying products through the LOC method allows your hair to remain moisturized for longer periods of time without the need to refresh the style. When it seems like your hair dries out after one day, the LOC method can provide up to 2-3 days of hydrated hair if applied correctly.
We cannot talk about keeping 4C hair moisturized without talking about Hair Porosity. So let’s dive into the subject of hair porosity and how it affects hair moisture.
You might be wondering why your hair doesn’t
But while porosity is mostly genetic, factors such as heat, environmental stress, and chemical treatments can cause hair aging and significantly alter its structure causing it to lose water faster rather than retain it. Knowing your hair’s porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny. There are three types of hair porosity
- Normal/ medium
- Low porosity
The hair cuticle is flat and dense and doesn’t allow much moisture to pass through, making your hair feel oily on the scalp but dry through the hair shaft. Water and products applied to low porosity hair often sit right on top and take their sweet time being absorbed. It also takes your hair almost too long to dry completely.
1. Low porosity hair
When hair is considered low porosity that means that the hair cuticle is flat and closed, making it nearly impossible for moisture to pass through. This is why low porosity hair takes so long to saturate and it’s why products often sit on top of the hair and on the scalp rather than being fully absorbed. 4C queens whose hair is of low porosity hair tend to have difficulty when applying oil on their hair since most of the time the oil/ product just sits on top of the hair or scalp thereby causing discomfort and disappointment to her. Low porosity hair requires moisturizers rich in emollients such as Shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil. It also benefits from products which attract and hold moisture to your hair. Lighter liquid based products such as hair milk are highly recommended since they won’t sit on your hair and leave it oily and greasy
Regimen for LOW porosity hair
In terms of texture, the curlier and kinkier your hair is, and the denser it is. The density of your hair determines how much moisture is being absorbed. When choosing products make sure to note the ph. Products that have a lower pH are more acidic causing the cuticle to close and create a tighter bind. This is exactly the opposite of what you want in this case. Instead, stick to conditioners that are pH balanced (with a pH of 7). They are more alkaline than the natural pH of the hair (between 4.5-5.5 pH), and will loosen and lift the cuticle, permitting moisture to pass through.
- Make sure that you use products rich in emollients to help soften the cuticle and aid in moisturizing the hair. During the warmer months, humectant products are beneficial because they attract the moisture from the air into your hair.
- When conditioning, use products that are protein free. Protein has the tendency to build-up on low porosity hair, causing the hair to be even less porous and to feel stiff. Using protein-filled conditioners only damages the hair which is what we want to stop.
- Always deep condition with heat. Heat is another agent that helps open the cuticle to allow moisture to penetrate the hair that is least porous. Therefore, whenever you deep condition, cover your hair with a conditioning cap and sit under a thermal heating cap for at least 15 minutes. Also, always use sealants (carrier oils) AFTER deep conditioning and moisture has penetrated the shaft.
- The use of warm water when washing your hair opens up the pores of your skin and the cuticles of your hair to not only get enough moisture but also get whatever conditioners or treatments to work.
- Once done washing out your treatments, switch the temperature to cold water. This will seal the hair cuticle and lock in moisture and shine. This is a sure guarantee to more healthy hair!
2. Medium/normal porosity
When your hair is of medium porosity it means that it holds moisture and shine for extended period of time. The hair has a looser cuticle layer, allowing for a steady but moderate flow of moisture in and out of your hair preventing too much from escaping .Medium porosity hair stands up well to styling, coloring, and chemicals- and often requires the least amount of maintenance. However you should be careful! Overtime, frequent treatment can slowly damage and increase the porosity of your hair, making it more difficult to maintain such styles and treatments.
The use of deep conditioning treatments with protein conditioners occasionally can benefit medium porosity hair, but proteins should not be included in your daily regimen.
3. High porosity hair
High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which allow too much moisture into and out of your hair quickly. Highly porous hair is prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather and can also experience extreme dryness in dry weather. It is important to note that highly porous hair can be as a result of genetics, damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage, aging( when the strands turn silver) or just be part of the problems faced by transitioning hair(combination with normal and low porosity hair.
Simple activities such as swimming, bathing, and shampooing can leave your hair highly damaged through breakage due to the sheer amount of moisture your hair can absorb. You have to be careful while engaging in such in order to protect your hair
To protect your highly porous hair from damage you will need to consider the following:
anti humectant(anti-humidity) products which act as is moisture blocker and therefore decreases the potential for frizz and damage. The products will act as a sealant by sealing your cuticles and prevent them from absorbing too much moisture. The recommended seal in moisture include raw shea butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil andpalm oil
- Leave-in conditioners and moisturizers will provide your hair with moisture throughout the day, but use a sealer such as Avocado Oil to retain moisture and prevent dryness. Since highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily, it’s important to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers
andsealers. Layering these products will help your hair hold on to the moisture you’re giving it. You can even follow up with a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and further protect your hair from losing too much moisture.
- Extra protein is also recommended. For healthier hair, you also need protein. For some, a protein treatment or protein-heavy conditioning treatment one or two times a month is a must. For those of us with finer hair, choosing conditioning products that also contain some protein is key to help in the restoration of that extra shine and reduce damage to the hair.
Minimisethe exposure to heat. Heat from blow-dryers, irons andthe sun are part of heat sources that can seriously damage your hair. Stay away from hot styling tools, and if you need to use a blow dryer, always do so on the coolest setting, and use a diffuser.
Do you have any other ways that have worked for you in keeping your hair moisturized? We would love to hear what has worked for you in the comment box below.
As always lots of love.