What is moisture?
Moisturization or hydration is a primary characteristic of water. BLACK/TEXTURE HAIR NEED WATER. Water is the universal moisturizer, a good moisturizer will always contain water as a first ingredient (Aqua). Maintaining appropriate levels of moisture in textured hair fiber is one of the leading causes of hair breakage within the textured hair community.
Moisturizers generally come in the form of light sprays, creams, lotions, etc. Lightweight products like sprays are suitable for fine and low porosity hair, while heavier creams are best for those with thicker, coarser, and high porosity hair.
Water is always on the move, the hair moisture levels tend to rapidly enter and exit the hair’s cuticle and cortex. Therefore, hair can not maintain moisture for a prolonged period with only using water. Moisturizing formulas often contain humectants blended with emollients and oils to draw additional moisture to our hair and keep it there.
Moisturizers have two primary actions;
- Moisturizers support our hair’s infrastructure by replenishing internal water and other essential elements that have been lost to the surrounding. Those elements like dry air, heat styling, and environmental changes.
- Moisturizers of carefully blended emollients and oil ingredients support and restore the hair and skin’s lipid-rich outer layer to prevent the escape of moisture back into the surrounding environment.
NB: Oils and greases do soften, nourish, add shine, and increase the hair’s pliability. However, oils are not moisturizers.
Greases and oils are hydrophobic substances and repel water chemically. The ability of certain types of oil to penetrate the hair shaft does not confer moisturizing ability. Oil penetration does not equal moisturization but can, however, provide moisture-barrier benefits beyond the superficial cuticle layer based on their chemistry.
Ingredients including, not limited to petrolatum, mineral oil waxes are occlusive agents. If these ingredients are present in high concentrations, they contribute to the greasy feel of some moisturizing products. When occlusive ingredients build-up on black hair and scalps, moisture is unable to enter the hair shaft or reach the scalp skin, this can lead to dryness and itchy scalp.
Selecting a moisturizer:
Water forms the base of any effective moisturizing product but works together with other ingredients to provide a moisture benefit to the hair strands. It is very important to make sure that your moisturizer is indeed a moisturizer. The first three or four ingredients on your product label will give you an indication, they set the tone for the quality of your hair product.
When should I moisturize my hair:
You should make it a habit of moisturizing your hair several times per week or whenever your hair feels dried out. Daily moisturizing can be important for those who are just starting with their healthy hair journey, or regimens and damage hair. I always do proper moisturizing on my wash days, and easy moisturizing every day after my workout.
The best time to apply moisturizing products can be just before bed, before combing, manipulating the hair, on wash days especially those with low porosity hair. Focus moisturizing effort on the ends of your hair where the hair is oldest, trauma and damage are most concentrated.
Moisturizing the hair before heading outside is wise because extreme temperatures can deplete moisture down to zero, leaving hair dry.
Sealing in moisture:
Keeping moisture securely within the hair shaft can be a difficult task. Moisture from products can easily pass into hair shaft but may pass out just as easily if not sealed. Stabilization of internal moisture levels requires external oil layering support. The key is to lock moisture within the hair strands with the help of oil or butter.
The length of time our hair remains moisturized depends on a variety of factors including the hair’s level of porosity, the weather, the type of moisturizer used, the type of oil and your hairstyle.
Highly porous hair will feel dry faster than hair with low porosity. Natural hair may look and feel drier because of its highly textured kinks and coils. Hot and arid climates will dry out hair faster than temperate or humid climates.
Seal and penetrate:
Oils that may also penetrate slightly beyond the outer cuticle layer, but are better to be used as oils to seal, coat, and lubricate the hair to prevent moisture loss and increase softness include but not limited to:
- Olive oil
- Avocodo oil
- Argan oil
- Boabab oil
- Peanut oil
- flaxseed oil
- Safflower oil
Penetrating oils are more likely to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft including but limited to:
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Palm Kernel oil
- Sweet Almond oil
Sealent oils contains bigger molecules lipid chains, and are highly unlikely to penetrate, but they are great to enhance shine, lubricate and help to easily detangle. Oils including but not limited to:
- Jojoba oil
- Rice bran oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Hair stretches easily and returns to normal state.
- Minimal to no breakage
- Easy to style, like twists and twistout.
Too much misture:
- Doesnt retain any moisture
- Hair becomes too stretchy
- Hair feels soft and limp in texture
- Hair doesnt hold stle well or long.
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