Hair that is maintained in its natural state, with natural products, needs to be moisturized. This is true whether the hair is fine, thick, kinky, curly, wavy or straight. The ingredients used in conventional cosmetics will not be used in natural cosmetics. Therefore, the effect will be different. And the hair routine should be tweaked. Here are a few elements to help you do just that.
What is moisture?
Let us put things very simply. Moisture is humidity and humidity comes from water. Scientifically, when referring to moisturized hair, what is in question is the level at which the hair has retained its water content over a period of time. Commonly, when talking about moisture we think of how supple and soft the hair is. And really, these two things go together.
How does the hair become moisturized/hydrated?
Simply by adding water to it; or most water soluble liquids: aloe vera juice, hydrolates also known as floral waters (steam distilled plants and flowers). Hydration per se does NOT come from oils. It comes from H2O.
Hydration is also achieved through humectants; that is substances that have the ability to attract moisture. This is the case for glycerin and honey for example.
How does hair stay moisturized?
THAT is when oils, butters and waxes come into play. Oils and butters are emollients. They will make the hair more slippery and supple by coating it and lubricating it. Waxes, which are more resistant to the heat of the body, will form a stronger protective layer around the hair shaft. This will prevent the loss of moisture from the hair and its release into the atmosphere.
That is why petroleum is considered one of the best “moisturizers”. It coats the hair and the skin so well, that the natural loss of moisture will take much longer to happen. In other words, it does not add moisture to the hair but it prevents moisture to be lost.
What to do then: tweaking the routine
Curly and naturally dry hair needs to be infused with moisture every time it feels dry. This does not mean the hair should be soaked in water every day or every other day. Sprinkling is enough. After that, the hair needs to be coated (that is the part commonly known as “sealing”). This is achieved with an oil, a butter or a creamy product that contains waxes (this includes emulsifiers). Here again, much is not needed. No one likes greasy hair, even if it is clean.
As for damaged hair, it needs the help of ceramides and proteins (wheat/rice/quinoa, etc) to make it less porous and better able to naturally keep its moisture content.
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