Hydrated Hair Isn’t Moisturized Hair.
Yes, sis, you read that right. Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Okay, so hydration. What is it? I've talked about moisturizing hair, touched on some general dry hair tips, and moisture retention on my social and the blog, but not the difference between hydrating and moisturizing hair. Or, why hydrating your hair is so important when you're trying to keep your curls poppin'!
What's hydration? Hydrated hair essentially means hair that is containing water and is fully absorbing the H2O.
When you look up the word “hydrated” you can see its definition ranges in various ways explaining that when something is hydrated, it is pulling in, combining, absorbing, containing, water.
What's moisturizing? Take a peep at my previous blog posts that go over some oils that help lock in moisture and assist with moisture retention, or the hair's ability to hold on to moisturization to keep from drying out too quickly.
Hydrating vs. Moisturizing
Just like our bodies, our hair needs water in order to stay healthy. And, we need lotion on our skin if it's dry. So if we think of our hair "drinking" water, it's going to go into the depths of our hair, to keep it hydrated. While moisturizing products are like lotion.
Moisturizing products or oils can cover the cuticle or outer layer of the hair and lock moisture in like lotion helps keep our skin from drying out.
But without water, moisturizing your hair won't be enough to keep it from drying out.
No matter how much lotion you put on your skin, if you stop drinking water your body will decline—it's the same for hair!
How do I hydrate and moisturize my hair?
I've been straightening my hair a lot lately, so this topic popped into my mind. And, as I go throughout my curl journey, whatever I learn about that helps me, I want to share with y'all!
The last 3 or so months I've straightened my hair a couple of times and before straightening I feel it's important to figure out if my hair is at it's healthiest curly, otherwise, adding heat to my hair will only damage it more if it's already fragile.
This made me make extra sure I was hydrating my hair and retaining moisture, so it wasn't dry and prone to breakage. So I'm going to share several methods I find helpful in hydrating my hair, to keep it the healiest it can be!
Hydrating your hair doesn't have to be hard! Some methods I recommend are...
1. Using a steam cap,
2. Hot (very warm, not scorching, lol) towel over your hair
3. Or, sitting under a hair dryer
all while deep conditioning. It's a game-changer! Having the heat there helps open up your hair shaft and penetrate the hair. It's like how saunas help open our skin's pores, but this time for the scalp and hair.
I like to detangle with the deep conditioner and then lightly twirl my hair under a shower cap, using one of the three methods.
But the trick is to (after doing your regular wash day, then deep conditioning, rinsing) that you find a moisturizing and sealing oil or product (sometimes oils don't work for all curlfriends—only a few oils work for me) and apply that to your hair, to lock in the water and retain moisture.
This will help your hair stay hydrated or retain water, allowing your hair to "drink" while also adding some "lotion" to the outer layer.
It locks in the hydration so the water doesn't immediately evaporate.
This can help with moisture retention because you're giving your curls TWO ways of preventing dryness, rather than one.
How do I know my hair isn't hydrated? Dry hair equals fragility. If you find your hair is breaking off, isn't bouncing back, lost it's shine, or just seems a bit lifeless it may be in need of a drink of H2O!
After trying out one or all the methods to help retain water and lock in moisture, and you still find your hair is dry or breaking, I recommend speaking to a professional about possible health or habit-related reasons your hair isn't popping back like it used to.
Some additional tips!
If you have naturally oily hair (from sebaceous glands) I recommend you clarify first (!!!), then wash your hair, as usual, deep-condition, use a steaming method, rinse, then add a moisturizing and sealing product/oil.
If you have product build-up adding more oils, butters, anything moisturizing or even trying to hydrate your hair will not be helpful unless you remove the current layer of build-up.
It would be like adding lotion to your hands while wearing gloves. You wouldn't get the amazing benefits of the lotion, unless you remove the layer of clothing on top of your skin.
Your scalp being 100% clean and clear of old products and dead skin can help you really accept the water into your hair and the moisturizing product.—And SIS—You'll SEE the difference over time because proper hydration to curls adds shine, bounce, and enhances overall curl health!
Until next time,