Moisturizing and sealing are important parts of natural hair care. Proper moisturizing and sealing will ensure that your hair retains moisture for as long as possible. We all know that all hair needs moisture in order to survive and keep from breaking. Here is a very basic method of moisturizing and sealing the hair.
Spritz your hair with water
It helps my hair to absorb products much better when I spray it with water first. This is actually my moisturizing spritz, a mixture of water and conditioner. It mostly depends on your hair's porosity. Read more about porosity here. If you have hair with low or normal porosity, the cuticles are very compact and may resist absorbing moisture if you do not open up the hair cuticles. Warm water will help the hair cuticles to open best, and it might help naturals with hair that isn't very porous (low porosity) to open their hair cuticles using warm water. My hair has normal porosity, and I find that using room temperature water works just fine. If your hair has high porosity, you may not need to spray your hair with water before using products, since your hair will readily absorb products. It doesn't hurt to try though.
Use a water-based moisturizer
Any product with water as the very first ingredient, whether it be a cream or a liquid, is a water-based moisturizer. For those of you who do not dampen your hair before applying products, you should be sure that your moisturizing product has water as the first ingredient.
Seal with an oil
Molecules of oil are much larger than molecules of water. Once the water from the water-based moisturizer is inside your hair shaft, the oil will act as an outer barrier to keep that water from coming out of your hair shaft, evaporating, and leaving your hair dry. This is called sealing. Sealing is a very crucial step in the moisturizing process because it ensures that your hair stays moisturized for as long as possible.
Seal again with a butter-based product
I like to seal my hair with a butter, like shea butter, or a butter-based product, which has a butter as the very first ingredient. This seals my hair ultimately. I find that my hair stays moist for longer when I seal again with a butter rather than just sealing with oil. Plus, butters make my hair feel so soft! Of course, you don't have to seal again with a butter. Your need to seal twice may also have to do with your porosity. If you have very porous hair, moisture may easily escape your strands and you may want to seal with both an oil and a butter to ensure the moisture stays in for longer. Play around with sealing to see what your hair likes most.
These four steps of sealing won't always work for everyone. Here are some alternatives to this basic four-step method.
- Spray the hair with water, then seal with an oil.
- Spray the hair with water, then seal with a butter.
- Use a water-based moisturizer, then seal with an oil.
- Use a water-based moisturizer, then seal with a butter.
- Use a creamy water-based moisturizer that contains an oil or a butter less within the first five ingredients after water.
All of these will work perfectly fine for some. As you can see, the most important thing is to use water or a water-based product in your very first step, then use an oil or a butter in the very next step to seal. You should avoid just wetting the hair with water or using the water-based product without sealing as the water will evaporate soon after. You should also avoid using an oil or a butter before using water or a water-based moisturizer. The oil or butter will just block out the moisture and leave your hair dry.
The last one is the easiest. Because the product is water-based, it will moisturize your hair properly. Because it contains an oil or a butter within the first five ingredients after water, it may also be enough to seal your hair as well. These type of products really kill two birds with one stone because your moisturizing and sealing is done all in one step. Of course, if you feel like the oil or butter is not enough to seal, or if the water it contains doesn't feel moisturizing enough, you can add the two optional steps of either sealing with an oil, a butter, or both after using the product, or spraying your hair with water first to give the hair a bit more moisture and help the hair absorb the product.
How do you moisturize and seal your hair?