Hair that looks and feels good is what most of us hope and work for. Most people always try their level best to ensure that their mane looks healthy and has the desired sheen. A very basic routine that will break or make your hair is a hydration treatment. In this article, you will learn about, (i) what a hydration treatment in hair is, (ii) types of hydration treatments and (iii) what to consider when choosing a hydration treatment for your hair.
What are Hydration Treatments in Hair?
Hydration treatments are types of hair treatment that improves the ability of the hair to absorb and retain moisture in order to keep the hair moisturized, improve manageability, prevent dryness and give an overall good look. The products used in a hydration treatment should have the ability to deeply penetrate the hair shaft to give the hair the much needed moisture.
Hydration Treatments and Methods for Hair
1. Hair Steaming
Never had I ever imagined that hair too requires steaming and that steaming would double up and be beneficial to both my hair and skin. To be honest most of us are used to steaming our faces and the benefits of steaming to our face. But then, people have been steaming their hair for a long time, just as they’ve been steaming their faces.
Hair steaming is the process whereby moist heat is used to help open up the hair follicles and pores on your scalp to allow better absorption of moisture.
This is one of those methods that is simple and not time consuming. The method can be applied using handheld or a hooded steamer. The aim of this is to allow water particles to soak through your hair and scalp. This improves your hair’s health making it look and feel good. It also opens up your scalp pores which promotes hair growth.
If you choose to steam your hair, be very cautious not to overdo it. 15 to 20 minutes in a steamer is an adequate amount of time to achieve great results. If you can’t afford or don’t have a steamer there is the Greenhouse Effect. This involves sleeping with a shower cap over your hair or wearing it for some time in order to encourage a steamy, warm environment. There is also the Baggy Method – this process is done by using your own body heat, a plastic cap, and a conditioner or moisturizer. Unlike the greenhouse effect there is an option to do the baggy method on your ends or your entire head which will get you the same results without spending a lot.
Generating body heat, will take a bit more time than just twenty minutes. Lastly, if you don’t have a steamer you can also make your own steam room in your bathroom by running the shower and having the bathroom fill up with steam. All free of cost.
2. Hydration Masks
Using hydration masks to moisturize hair is not difficult which makes it a very common method since you can make the masks yourself. With hydration masks you can easily mix up your own masks at home, using products that are available locally. Honey is highly recommended as a major ingredient in the masks because it’s a good sealant.
The ingredients you choose for this treatment all depends on your hair’s condition; you could use various ingredients. If you are likely to have greasy hair, an egg mask can work wonders. Use just the whites, which have protein enzymes that help remove excess oil and mix it with lemon juice and your mask is ready to use.
These DIY masks helps in soothing an irritated scalp, they do away with dull hair, and restore dry and damaged hair. To have shiny, lustrous hair you never even have to leave the house as you can easily use what is in your kitchen.
Other common ingredients in hydrations masks include yogurt for protein or avocado which is rich in oils. You simply mix yogurt and honey in a bowl, heat it up in the microwave and apply on your wet hair. Cover it with a shower cap and leave it for about 20 minutes before rinsing. Different ingredients serve different purposes hence will offer different results or benefits, alongside hydration.
3. LOC Method
The LOC method comprises of three steps which will require a Liquid, Oil and Cream. These three products are applied on natural hair in that order. This is a method commonly used by most of us knowingly or unknowingly.
- First step: Use water to moisturize your hair. You can also use any liquid based hair product. Water the most important component, as is a hydrant for your hair. But, 4c hair does not have the capacity to retain moisture for an extended period of time and this is why the other two steps have to follow.
- Second step: After the water application, oil is applied to lock in moisture. There are various oils in the market that you can use for example coconut and olive oils. Most of us know that oil and water do not mix and this is why you need cream to get your hair gleaming. The two cannot form a single substance hence they can end up just sitting on your head, this is why the next step of using creams is necessary.
- Third step: Creams basically act as sealants. Styling your hair after this treatment becomes easy and it gives your hair the sheen you really desire. The sealants hold in moisture and keeps it on your hair unlike the moisturizer which just brings it that is why each and every step in this process is important.
4. LCO Method
This method is just a rearrangement of LOC method, as the only thing that changes is the order of application. In this case the first step is the liquid application, followed by the cream and lastly oil is used as a sealant.
To increase penetration of moisture on your hair you can also massage the head with a water-based cream. Unlike the LOC method in this process oil is the sealant as it also gives the hair a nice shiny finish.
5. The Maximum Hydration Method (Max Hydration Method)
The Maximum Hydration Method is designed for natural hair that becomes excessively dry and brittle even after it has been moisturized. Its aim is to bring moisture to your natural curls and keep the moisture locked in.
This method is advanced compared to other hydration methods. It takes more time and requires more hair products. The routine is supposed to be done for seven consecutive days. The aim of this method is to reduce coiling and increase curling.
Maximum hydration gets rid of dry and fizzy hair as it leaves your hair with so much moisture even when you’re not using products on it. Those who have experimented on this method end up with better curls, that is why its recommended for those who want more defined or visible curls.
In summary here is the 5 steps to achieve the Max Hydration Method:
- Cleanse and clarify your hair with Apple Cider Vinegar rinse
- Co-wash & detangle using a sulfate-free conditioner
- Apply a clay rinse, you can use Bentonite clay for this
- Apply your leave-in conditioner and immediately apply a botanical gel on soaking wet hair to make your curls pop
This article will give you more details on the Maximum Hydration Method.
One of the cons of this method is the constant daily manipulation of hair which may wear out your hair increasing breakage especially for fine, porous hair. There is also hygral fatigue from constant expansion and contraction of the hair fiber. It consumes a lot of time. If you are a working mother, or your schedule is normally tight, this routine can be hard to pull off. Some products recommended for max hydration can not only be hard to get but are expensive.
What to consider when choosing a hydration method
There are various things that you should consider when choosing a hydration method. You may not instantly find one that is perfect for your hair. You will have to try several methods before settling for one that eventually suits your hair. There are a number of things you should look into when finding a method that will be effective enough to bring you desired results. These include:
1. Hair Porosity
Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and hold moisture. Porosity generally indicates how easily moisture can penetrate your hair. It is determined by the structure of your cuticle which is the outer layer of your hair. There are 3 hair porosity types. There is low porosity hair which has a tightly bound cuticle layer, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate or to escape, once it’s in your hair. High porosity hair has holes and spaces in the cuticle, permitting moisture to easily pass in and out. There is medium porosity hair which has a looser cuticle layer, allowing for a steady but moderate flow of moisture in and out of the hair.
Genetics is what determines porosity, but can be altered by external factors like heat or chemical processing. It is important to understand your hair porosity to avoid hair products sitting lazily on top of your hair, instead of penetrating your hair shafts, after performing a hydration treatment. Some hydration methods work perfectly for high porosity hair while others are structured to cater for low porosity hair.
2. Products Availability
You have to know if the requirements needed for the particular hydration method are available in your locality or region. Sometimes you might check out products online and want to experiment on a hydration method, we rush to our local stores only to realize most of these products are not available. Therefore, you should try out certain methods using readily available ingredients that would give you the same results that you really want to achieve.
Hydration methods vary in terms of time used in the different processes. The busy schedules in our lives will influence the choice of a method of hydration that is quick or saves time. The long-routine methods can be done on holidays or weekends. If you think that you can only use products that are not in your locality and can take time to be shipped to your country or region, it’s advisable to try out other hydration methods that can work for you because you would not want your hair to stay dry as you wait for a specific hair product.
Key Tips to Remember about Hydration Treatments for hair
- Hydration treatment is essential if you want to maintain healthy hair. The aim is to keep your natural hair moist even after washing and drying.
- Remember to use products that work on your hair and scalp effectively.
- Generally, you can try out different methods to find out which one works for you and be consistent hydration with a particular routine.
- Having good hydration treatment without taking care of other elements and factors like water intake, conditioning, protecting your hair from abrasion while you sleep, and guarding your hair from harsh climates can be a waste of time, hence you should also put these factors into consideration.