Moisturizing Vs. Sealing Natural Hair – What You Need to Know

If you have low porosity hair, moisture retention is probably your holy grail. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your hair moisturized and sealed.
If you have naturally curly or kinky hair, retaining moisture is very likely your hair care priority. Not only do we want to constantly introduce moisture into our strands, we want our products to keep it from escaping. Depending upon the hair type, sometimes getting moisture into the hair in the first place is a challenge; sometimes keeping moisture locked in the hair shaft is the problem. For people with low-porosity hair, just getting water into the hair shaft in the first place requires lots of effort – and sometimes lots of product.

Low porosity hair is hair strands with tight cuticles that water molecules struggle to penetrate. However, once the moisture has penetrated into the shaft, the hair structure tends to hold on to that moisture fairly effectively. Nevertheless, it’s still important to keep the internal structure of the hair shaft supple, which is only possible when it’s properly hydrated.

You often see the term “moisturize” used in natural hair tutorials when oils are discussed. However, moisturization only occurs when water is introduced into the hair shaft. Oils are not moisturizers – they’re lubricants. They help to keep the hair shaft slippery and aid in water retention, but they do not moisturize.

Certain lubricants, or oils, help keep water molecules from escaping the hair shaft, and these are commonly known as sealants. These oils include mineral oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil. Oils that are capable of penetrating the hair shaft include coconut oil and olive oil. Penetrating oils are a good supplement to water when it comes to keeping the hair shaft supple and less susceptible to breaking and cracking.

Oils can help keep your hair healthy, but it is essential that you clarify your hair regularly to mitigate the effects of product buildup.

Regularly washing product buildup from the hair not only restores your hair’s shine and manageability, it removes the oils and dirt that have accumulated on your hair. When allowed to remain on the hair, buildup can lead to significant damage, because it prevents ambient moisture from absorbing into your hair shaft. This can cause your hair strands to become brittle and eventually break.

Moisturizing and sealing are important parts of every natural hair routine. Once you know how to find the right balance for your hair and lifestyle, you’ll have the tools you need to reach your hair goals!

AK Hair & Healing specializes in natural hair care and protective styling. For more details about our services, please visit our information page.
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