Posts filed under: ‘Moisturizing‘

Update: Dreads and Moisturizing

Mr. Marley says, "Let's get together and moisturize."

Hey all. I think this is going to be a short post. Well it has to be because I am about to work out. This is related to a hair tip I gave previously about moisturizing.  So last night I went to meet a friend I have not seen in 5 years.  She was also meeting up with some other friends from high school.  Out of all of us, the guy who came last  had dreads. We will call him Bob. The other guy that was there and my friend kept talking about how long Bob’s hair had gotten, because he had the dreads since he was a kid.   So I was expecting  hair to be down to his behind.  Keep in mind Bob had not gotten there yet.   When he walked in the Truitt’s Chik-Fil-A, I saw that his hair was as long as mine. What? Should be longer since all hair grows 1/2 inch per month and I had not been growing mine for the same length of time he has. He is 23. He’s been growing his hair for 13-16 years. I have been growing mine for 3 years (but growing it  well for only 6 months).

So I asked him, “Do you  trim your dreads?”

He said, “No. Never.”

Then I said, “Oh. They told me you had been growing your hair for your whole life.  I thought it would be longer.”  [Pause.] OMG. Is that rude, ya’ll? It didn’t sound rude at that time, at least not to me. I really had to know. Sorry.

“Oh yeah.  Sometimes when I sit on the couch they just break off.”

“Do you moisturize?”

“Uh. My stylist does.”

I told him, “With Afro-textured hair you must moisturize every single day.”

He said, “Yeah. I might put some afro sheen on it.”

“Oh no. Yeah. A lot of people think that oil moisturizes. It doesn’t. It only controls the moisture.  You have to moisturize the hair with water (or sometimes aloe vera juice) and then put oil on it.  Depending on the humidity, you might put shea butter or cocoa nut oil if it’s humid or jojoba, glycerin, or castor oil if it’s arid or dry.”

Wizzy says "Don't worry, peeps. I moisturize. hehe. Yeah."

OK. Now you ladies (and guys) know I can be an annoying pest. Ah man.  I didn’t want you to find out like this.  Sorry. The Lord is at work on me. Still working on being tactful. But I just wanted to share this story to demonstrate how hair knowledge and moisturizing is really important for maintaining length.  When I was little, my aunt had long dreads.  I asked her why her hair was so long.  She said because she didn’t comb it. So for the longest time, I was under the impression that the only black people who could have long hair, other than mixed people–please don’t blame me for my misconceptions; this is the world I grew up in now—were people with dreads.  What I did not realize is my aunt moisturized her hair.  (In fact, she now says she used to water it like she would water a plant. She has a relaxer now, because she is trying get a job. I will talk of that later.) Now, from my knowledge of hair and this investigation, I know that dreads can break off unnecessarily if not properly cared for (and so can mixed hair which I know from my own experiences.)  Most hair can get long if cared for well unless the person with the hair has some kind of medical condition. There could have been something else going on with his hair, but from our convo, the moisture thing is def an issue. Don’t get me wrong.  His hair was pretty nice. His mom maintained it well and his stylist maintains it well now. It was just not as long as it could be. Just thought I would update you and reinforce that daily moisturizing is highly important.

All the best on your hair journeys and what not. Please email me if you have any questions at  I am going to post the swimming bonus soon, but I am waiting to get permission from my professor to use a pic of his daughter.

As a treat for your patience, here is Timaya, among the estimated 1% of people with dreads in Nigeria right now. I believe it is the Yoruba who believe dreadlocks are evil because they represent shrines. However, nowadays, Nigerian celebrities and other entertainers wear them. Here’s the video: 

Disclaimer: I do not know whether Bob Marley did or whether Lil’ Wayne does moisturize daily. I do not know either of them personally and know nothing about their hair regimens. However, my mom had a colleague whose daughter went to school with Lil’ Wayne’s daughter so…there is a connection there, but I still do not know what he does with his hair.


Add a comment July 20, 2011

Hair Growth Tips Part I: Moisturizing

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)


  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 O dabo! =)

3 comments June 15, 2011






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