Many people who choose to wear their natural, ethnic hair may struggle to combat dryness. Although adding and retaining moisture may be more challenging, it does not have to be an ongoing struggle once you learn more about your unique hair needs.
Know Your Hair
The more you understand about your hair, the easier it will be to retain moisture. In general, the more textured your hair is, the dryer it will be since natural oils have a harder time reaching the full length of the strand. Additional factors will affect moisture retention, such as hair porosity. You can test your hair porosity by tossing a clean, dry strand of hair in a cup of room temperature water and seeing if it floats or sinks. If the hair floats on the surface, it is considered low-porosity, whereas if it sinks, it is high-porosity.
This test is not necessarily conclusive, so you should consider how your hair behaves. For example, people with low-porosity hair may notice their hair takes forever to dry or does not easily take color. Porosity dictates how easily your hair will absorb moisture and how easily the moisture can leave your hair. People with low-porosity hair will generally have a harder time getting moisture into their hair, but their hair will stay moisturized. Those with high-porosity hair will have hair that readily absorbs moisture, but the moisture also quickly leaves their hair. It is also possible to have normal-porosity hair. The use of chemicals, such as hair color, and heat can also affect hair porosity.
Be A Minimalist
Try to keep your hair care routine as simple as possible. Many people with textured hair find it is not necessary to wash their hair frequently, which can make their hair dryer. Some people with looser textures and an oilier scalp may only need to wash their hair every two or three days. If you have more texture to your hair and a drier scalp, washing your hair weekly or every other week might be fine. Your wash schedule can change depending on how active you are and during the warmer months when you tend to sweat more.
Using shampoos that have more natural ingredients will not strip the natural oils from your scalp and hair as much. Every few washes, you may want to use a shampoo that does a better job at stripping your hair if you use many hair products that can cause build-up. You should always follow-up with a conditioner. People with hair that is finer and not especially dry may find thinner, rinse-out conditioners work well for their hair. If your hair is thicker and more prone to being dry, try a leave-in conditioner for added moisture. When you use a leave-in conditioner, use a water-based conditioner, since water is the only product that will add moisture to your hair. Oils in your conditioner will serve as a way to help retain moisture, especially if you have high-porosity hair and need to work harder to retain moisture.
Use Finishing Products
There are many products on the market that can be used as a finishing step to add moisture to your hair or help seal-in the moisture. Hair polishers are one option. These products can add moisture and some offer protection from heat or the elements if they have silicones. Many hair polishers can give your hair a nice sheen and may help camouflage dryness or brittle, damaged hair. Finishing products can also take the form of oils. Everyone will need to experiment to find which oils work best for their hair. Start with lightweight oils, such as Argan or jojoba oil, and only use a small amount.
Some people, especially those with thicker hair, may find that heavier oils and butters work better. Some other options include grapeseed oil, shea butter, mango butter, or coconut oil. During the cooler months, especially if you live in a frigid environment, sealing your hair with a lightweight oil can prevent the low humidity from taking additional moisture from your hair. To minimize the chance of an unusual white cast on your hair or flaking from your oils during the colder months, use products that stay liquid at lower temperatures.
Adding and retaining moisture in ethnic hair requires developing an understanding of your unique hair characteristics. A combination of your texture, porosity, and the use of chemicals or heat will affect which products work best for your hair. For more information, contact a company that sells products such as 8 oz ethnic hair polisher.