Keeping hair moisturised has been every woman's epic battle I believe and winter seems to make it that much harder. I found that starting with a good moisturising regimen and method means my work is half done when it comes to retaining moisture.
Proper moisturising has been abbreviated to the L.O.C, L.C.O, L.O to represent the method of applying products in a particular order.
L - Liquid : water (the best to use), moisturising spray, aloe vera juice
O - Oil: castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, the list is endless. The trick with using oils is to use their pure undiluted form. Meaning if the ingredient list says 'petrolatum, castor oil, mineral oil"..or " Olive oil, paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil), xyz" you are not dealing with pure oil. Oils in their pure form have more benefits as they nourish the strand and do not clog your pores.
C - Cream: eg leave in conditioner, moisturising lotion, shea butter
Now you apply the products in the order of the abbreviation eg L.C.O you could use water, then apply a bit of leave in conditioner, then lastly some olive oil to seal on the moisture.
Here the oil and cream are used to seal in the main moisturising element which is the water. If you like you can apply a moisturiser, then seal it with the oil. However the moisturiser MUST be water based, meaning aqua or water must be the first ingredient. This will cover the L in the moisturing step. Using oil alone or hair food alone will not moisturise hair.
How I moisturise my hair.
1. When my hair is loose
I prefer the L.C.O method because the oil as the last step really does the trick in keeping my hair soft for muuuch longer. And surprisingly my hair prefers it when I just use my leave in conditioner then, apply the castor oil. I have tried to spray a lil water, then the leave in and oil but somehow my hair is dry the next day *siiigggh* So I just do what my hair prefers. Now this works for me because the first ingredient in my leave in conditioner is water, it also contains honey and aloe vera juice which are great and aid in moisturising hair.
I also add some aloe vera which has great moisturising properties (..and nourishes the hair. I can sing its praises high enough. Think i'll have to do a post on my beloved aloe and what it can do) to my leave in as I apply it to my hair. Can you say super soft the next day. It's heavenly.
Since using the L.C.O method I have not experienced dry or dull hair.
2. When in braids/ twists/ weaves
When I wear braids I use an all in one liquid moisturiser such as a braid spray. The liquid moisturiser works because it contains water as the first ingredient and then has some oil and ingredients which are good for the hair. I don't seal with oil, beacuase the oil is already in the spray. Secondly the braids slow the evaporation rate of the water from the hair because of the way the hair is woven together when plaited, so the hair is moisturised for longer. That is why even when I undo my braids, the hair is soft and moisturised. I spray my hair everyday with the braid spray.
For weaves I make sure to spray only the cornrowed tracks and not the weave itself. However iIdon't wear weaves that often, I will explain why in a later post.
*Remember : Everybody's hair is different, what works for me, might not work for you. So please try L.C.O, L.O and L.O.C methods before seeing which works best for you. Also see whether you just need a water based moisturiser or whether you need the full monty of liquid, then moisturiser/cream/leave in conditioner and then oil.
TRUST that after moisturising with this method your hair will thank you. It will definately be more soft and less dry which is good. Our hair loves moisture.
Kick it up a notch this winter
-Winter is harder on the hair so you may have to moisturise it every day instead of every two or so days. And if your hair is really dry, maybe even twice a day. I moisturise mine every day to keep dryness at bay.
-Use thicker oils and butters. Oils like castor oil which are very thick and viscous seal the moisture in more effectively ( I personally use it all year round). You may also want to use a hair butter like shea butter, cocoa butter (the real deal not lotion lol). However if a creamy product incorporates the butter do by all means try it!
The best thing about the L.C.O , L.O.C and L.O methods is that they work or relaxed and natural hair. It's just a matter of finding the right type of oils, and products. Everybody wins :-)