Of all the challenges that a curly girl may face on her journey to optimal hair health, how to maintain moisturized hair is at the top of the list.
It’s important to note, that the challenge is not only moisturization and hydration but sustaining the moisture levels of curly hair.
After 3 or 4 days moisturized hair requires rehydration, refreshing, a co-wash or light shampoo. Basically, moisture needs to be added back to the hair. The key to keeping hair moisturized and eliminating dry frizzy hair is to go through the re-moisturization process. Miss or avoid this step in your regular hair care regimen or routine and your hair will suffer.
One of the myths to debunk is that you can moisturize your curls once for the week and that’s all that’s needed. It’s not true if you’re a curly girl, you have to be committed to keeping hair hydrated so that your curls are soft and defined. Whether you wear a wash and go, twist out, braids, weave or a long-term protective style moisturization is key to length retention and growth.
Moisturization is the process of adding liquids or water to hair. However, when hair is curly it’s not only when you moisturize, but how you moisturize that’s important. See our post Moisture And Curly Hair Growth there is great information about the steps required to moisturize and hydrate curly hair.
Firstly we have a few questions:
What is your moisturization method?
How do you maintain the softness, bounce, and definition in your curls before the next washday?
How do you lock in and retain moisture levels in your curls for at least 2 days?
L.O.C – An Acronym For Liquid, Oil, & Cream.
LOC is a method of application of ingredients or products to hair that supports locking in moisture to curly hair strands.
- Step 1 – Liquid
Applying liquid or water to dry or conditioned hair. Add water, a liquid leave-in or refresher, essentially a water-based product that’ll provide hair with needed hydration.
- Step 2 – Oil
Oil is added after the liquid to seal in the moisture. There are a variety of oils that can be used e.g. coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, castor oil or a blend of oils. The type of oil you use will be specific to your hair type and what works for your curly hair.
- Step 3 – Cream
Cream the final step in the moisturization process. The cream provides additional moisture and definition to curls.
Each step of the LOC method can work independently. But if the goal is to keep hair moisturized longer, the steps complement each other and work best together.
The amount of product applied to the hair at each stage is important and very dependent on hair type, thickness, and density. Follow product directions for the correct application when using the LOC method. You’ll find that hair is moisturized for at least 1 to 3 days, then refresh within 2 to 4 days.
L.C.O – An Acronym For Liquid, Cream, & Oil
LCO is an adaptation of the LOC method, where the cream is applied before the oil in the moisturization process. Effectively the last two ingredients are transposed. For some curly girls LOC works best and for others the LCO. There really is
Products For Moisturization
The products you can use for moisturization are:
- hair refreshers or mists
- crème moisturizers
- homemade moisturizer
The products listed above can be used in varying combinations or alone to achieve a specific hairstyle, maintain a style, or to improve the condition of curly hair.
It’s important to ensure that products used have quality ingredients and do not cause flaking or build up. Ideally the products should penetrate the cuticle layer and condition the hair.
For some hair types, oils and butters work really well to seal in moisture. And for others oils and butters are too heavy and will weigh curly hair down.
If a method of moisturization doesn’t work it’s important not to give up on getting your moisture game right. Change the products, the application or the timing until you get it right. And you have moisturized hair for at least 3 days.
How you shampoo and condition your hair is equally important in the moisturization process. In order to ensure hair is soft, flexible, hydrated and strengthened. Co-washing, conditioning or deep conditioning at least once a week is necessary. For some curly girls conditioning more often 2 or 3 times a week is optimal. Remember continued conditioning without clarifying at some point can lead to build up. The right balance is determined by how your hair feels.
How you dry, conditioned curly hair will have an impact on how much moisture is retained. Drying hair with a diffuser or hooded will speed up the process. Air drying is another method that can be used but it’s dependent on hair length, porosity, and density it can take several hours. Limited manipulation of curls when it’s drying is key to preventing the cuticle layer being raised that leads to frizzy, dry undefined curls.
Porosity is another factor that will determine the method of moisturization. If your curls are high, low or normal porosity, the type of product, the way it’s applied and the order of application will be driven by your porosity.
The type of curls you have will determine how you maintain the moisture for an extra day or two:
- Type 2 Curls
Require lighter hold gel products and creams
- Type 3 Curls
Require stronger hold gels and creams
- Type 4 Curls
Require gels, heavier butters and creams
Hair Care Processes
There are practices that should be avoided or reduced in your hair care routine, so you don’t experience drawbacks and your hard work is for naught.
- heated styling tools should be avoided
- combing and brushing hair should be reduced
- avoid ingredients in products that are harmful to hair and health
- extended exposure to the sun at high temperatures without protective hair covering
- reduced chemical processes
Let us know about any methods of moisturization not mentioned in this post, in the comments section.