Since I’ve started blogging within almost every post I talk about is moisture and natural hair. But, that’s because it’s sooo important! No matter your hair type, natural, relaxed, locs, short or long, moisturizing your hair is KEY to overall hair health and maintenance.
I admit, I wasn’t always the best about this and in fact, it took me a while to understand how essential moisture was to my own hair growth. However, moisturizing became part of my daily regime.
As I researched the best ways to retain moisture I thought it would be helpful to share with others. If you already know the basics then I’m sure you’ve heard of the L.O.C method (Liquid, Oil & Cream) which, is a series of steps most naturally curly women follow to retain moisture.
While the L.O.C. method is great for sealing in moisture, the core of understanding how to moisturize hair for all textures starts with the actual hair cuticle itself. So, I came up with a little acronym to help me remember the basics: O.M.S. – Open, Moisturize & Seal.
O – Open the cuticle
The cuticle is the outside protective layer of the hair strand. Protein scales of the cuticle overlap to help keep in moisture and protect the cortex. Depending on the porosity level of your hair, these scales are either very open or tightly closed. To help open the cuticle mild heat options are suggested such as shampooing with lukewarm water, deep conditioning under a hooded dryer for 15-20 minutes with a Hair Therapy Wrap or steaming! Since I have low porosity hair, using mild heat to further open the cuticle help products penetrate the hair shaft vs. just sitting on the top of my strands.
M – Moisturize
More than likely you’re doing this while attempting to open the cuticle as I touched based on above. If you’re shampooing, of course, you’re getting some type of hydration. Water is the base for a great moisturizing regime, which is of no surprise.
Make a habit of reading the back of labels when purchasing products. It is important to know the difference between water-based products and oil-based products. If water is not one of the first ingredients, that product probably won’t allow you to achieve optimum moisture levels.
Do not confuse oiling or greasing your scalp and hair with moisturizing your hair.
Ever rub your hands through your hair and your hands are suddenly extremely oily? If so, the oils are simply sitting nice and pretty on top of your strands and have not penetrated the hair shaft!
However, there are some naturally moisturizing oils such as coconut, avocado, olive and argan oil. The molecular makeup of these oils allow them to actually penetrate the hair so use in conjunction with water or water-based products.
S – Seal (Close the cuticle)
Now that you have a nice, open, moisturized cuticle it’s time to SEAL the moisture and CLOSE the cuticle and this is where the L.O.C method comes into play. You’ve done all this work, it would be a shame not to reap the full benefits!
If it’s not a wash day, start with lightly misting the hair with water or a leave-in conditioner for your L. Next to seal the moisture, I like to use a mix of several oils including Jamaican black castor oil, jojoba oil & coconut oil, there’s your O – Oil.
And for the C-Cream, to further seal the moisture my favorites are tgin Twist and Define Cream and Curls Twist & Shout Cream. I use both liberally, off and on.
But remember, depending on your porosity, these heavier oils and creams may not work for you, so a little trial and error will happen. To further help with closing the cuticle, apply products using a down-ward smoothing motion, always thinking of those overlapping scales we talked about in the beginning.
The goal is to have cuticles that lay as flat as possible to help with retaining moisture and adding that glorious shine we all love!
How do you achieve moisturized hair?