Hair Growth Tips Part I: Moisturizing

June 15, 2011 Oyibo Princess
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This is Part I of my weekly hair growth tips series. As I said before, it should really be called the anti-breakage series because most of the tips focus on preventing breakage which promotes length, but would you read the posts if they were titled the anti-breakage? Maybe. I am not trying to mislead anyone, but preventing damage/breakage is the first step to achieving long, healthy hair.  Here are some tips on moisturizing which should help to prevent breakage.

Moisturize daily

Moisturizing is highly important for kinky/curly hair.  Moisturizing is really important for all hair because dry hair is prone to breakage. However, kinky hair and curly hair tend to be drier than other hair types, so moisturizing is highly important for us if we want to retain length.

Now, how does one moisturize?  Well it’s quite simple. With water.  You can either moisturize with a water-based moisturizer or simple H2O. I just spray my hair with water in a spray bottle. Aloe Vera juice or gel is also good because it moisturizes and protects the acid mantle of the hair by giving the hair a desirable pH balance, which prevents breakage.  Some people recommend using a moisturizer or leave-in everyday, but that does not work for me and a lot of women who have kinky long hair also use water or a water mixed with some kind of plant-based fat or aloe vera juice everyday instead of the manufactured moisturizer.

In the summer just plain water is good for moisturizing, if you live in a humid climate.  In the winter and spring, because the climate is drier, I use water/castor-oil mix in the winter and spring.  Other ladies use a water and vegetable glycerin mix.  In the dryer months and climates, when and where the dew point, not to be confused with the temperature, is between 35°F or 50°F (1.7°C to 10°C), one wants to use a humectant with their water, which brings me to my next point.

Control the Moisture

After moisturizing it is important to control where the moisture goes.  When the dew point is between 35°F to 50°F (1.7°C to 10° C) , in other words when the weather is more arid or dry, you would want to use a humectant when moisturizing your hair.  Humectants are ingredients or substances that attract moisture. Water can move in and out of these ingredients.  Examples of humectants are Vegetable Glycerin, Castor Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil. Honey is also a humectant, but I only recommend putting this in your deep conditioner which you should plan to wash out, because it is sticky and sweet and you would not want to attract bees or insects.

When the dew point is above 60° F (15°C) or in humid weather (in the summer if you live in the south eastern part of the US,  the rainy season if you live in a tropical area such as southern Nigeria, never if you live in Arizona or San Fransisco), you want to use an anti-humectant, also known as an emollient or sealant, on your hair after moisturizing. Anti-humectants prevent the moisture from going in or out.  In other words, these substances seal in the moisture. This important because in humid weather, the hair is more prone to frizz. Examples of anti-humectants are shea butter, cocoa nut oil, olive oil (which I only use as a pre-poo and I explained in my washing regimen and is also found here).

The products you use in certain seasons and weather are important. For example, I tried using shea butter in the winter (lower dew point) and it just looked like snot on top of my hair. Gross! However, I used shea butter in the summer after spraying my hair with water and my hair was beautiful.  Using humectants in humid weather can also cause frizz.

Season-specific spray bottle mixtures:

Dry season/winter/harmattan -dew point between 35°F to 50°F (1.7°C to 10° C)

  1.  Water only (“seal” ends with jojoba oil)
  2. Water and Castor oil (I use this)
  3. Water and Vegetable Glycerin
  4. Water and Aloe Vera Juice/Gel (“seal” ends with jojoba oil)
  5. Water, Castor oil, and Aloe Vera Juice/Gel
  6. Water, Vegetable Glycerin, and Aloe Vera Juice/Gel

Wet season/summer/rainy season – dew point 60° F (15°C) or higher

  1. Water only (seal with shea butter)
  2. Water only (seal with cocoa nut oil)
  3. Water and Aloe Vera Juice (seal with shea butter)
  4. Water and Aloe Vera Juice (seal with cocoa nut oil)

Warnings:

  1. If you buy aloe vera gel or juice in a bottle, make sure to refrigerate it after opening.
  2. To my American peeps, I found most of these products at Whole Foods, but it might be cheaper to buy them online.  You can find Pure Shea Butter at Super Walmart for about $5, but I get one scented with Lemon Grass.
  3. To my Nigerian peeps, I am sure you can find most of the anti-humectants (shea butter, cocoa nut oil) easily and the aloe vera gel, because they all come in raw form in West Africa, but make sure to heat or filter the water you use, if you can, because the water in Nigeria tends to have a high salt content, which can cause breakage. You probably will only need to humenctants (jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin, and castor oil) in the dry season or in the Northern part. I am not sure so you might want to check the dew point yourself.
  4. Avoid moisturizers or leave-in conditioners with mineral oil or petroleum. They are not moisturizing. They are supposed to seal in the moisture like the anti-humectants, yet they dry the hair over time and dryness is not something you want.  They also prevent the humectants from doing their job (attracting moisture).  I would avoid these especially in the winter.
  5. When moisturizing, focus on the ends of your hair, because that is the oldest part of the hair, meaning the part most prone to breakage.
  6. Moisturize daily
  7. There are other vegetable fats (hemp oil, avocoda oil, grapeseed oil, amla oil, flax oil, palm oil, etc.) which I have seen used by other curlies in the natural hair community. However, I have not experimented with them, nor do I know whether they are humectants or anti-humectancts. Feel free to research these and share your findings with me.

Thank you for reading my blog post. I hope you have found this information useful and if you have any questions, as always, please email me at oyiboprincess@gmail.com O dabo! =)

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Entry Filed under: Breakage,Hair,Hair Growth,Moisturizing

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. 癌症  |  July 30, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Mind-boggling posting, I share the same views. I wonder why this amazing scene really does not just think similar to us along with the blog site owner 😀

    • 2. Oyibo Princess  |  August 13, 2011 at 1:53 am

      what does your last sentence mean? sorry just seeing this because wordpress marked your post as spam but i approved it. thanks for reading this blog. please stay tuned for more.

  • 3. Graphics  |  July 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Greeeeeeeeat Blog Love the Infomation you have provided me .


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