Good Morning Naturals!
I wanted to talk about dryness today, because when I first began my transition it was headed into the fall season. With that being said, I live in Texas (Austin) so the humidity is not as heavy as my hometown (Houston). We all know that the winter months can be hard on natural hair especially us curlies. There are 5 contributors to lack of moisture in natural hair. So let’s get started.
1) Washing & Rinsing Your Hair in hot water. I can surely attest to this one, because I did for the longest in the beginning stages of my transition. As I said I started the transition process headed into fall so there were some cool temperatures. I am also one of those people who thinks that lukewarm means cold, so my showers and baths include really hot water. This can contribute to dryness with your natural hair. The hair cuticle is already raised if your hair is high porosity. So the point is to get that cuticle to lay down so that your hair will maintain moisture. The way to do this is use cool water to rinse your hair at least. As for washing you should definitely lower the temperature as well. In my experience I have found that washing my hair in warm water and then being sure to rinse with cool/cold water seems to work just fine.
2) Speaking of porosity, another contributor to dryness is when your porosity needs to be corrected. As you know porosity is the hair ability to absorb and maintain moisture. This is important because it will determine what products will work for your hair and which ones will not work. If your intent is to avoid the product junkie stage you will want to keep reading this. Porosity relates to the cuticle layer of your hair as we discussed a bit above. There are three levels of porosity:
a). Low porosity or resistant hair does not allow moisture to enter or leave the hair, which means you may need a more alkaline solution so that moisture can penetrate and saturate hair.
b). High porosity or overly porous hair has a cuticle that absorbs and releases moisture easily. This type of porosity normally comes from overprocessing, use of harsh ingredients, or even sun damage. This hair porosity type is normally dry, brittle, and fragile. This hair type may need to have products that have a low PH, so as to prevent further overprocessing.
c). Average porosity or normal porosity hair does not allow moisture to leave the hair shaft. It readily absorbs product and retains it. Don’t we all want this type of hair porosity? If only I had a genie! This is how you can check porosity if you want. Take a strand of several hairs from four different areas of the head (front hairline, temple, crown and nape). Slide the thumb and index finger of your other hand down each hair strand from end to scalp. If it is smooth, you have normal porosity. If your fingers move very fast up the hair strand and it feels exceptionally slick, dense and hard, you have low porosity. If your fingers “catch” going up the strand, feel like they are ruffling up the hair strand, or if the hair strand breaks, your hair is overly porous.
3). Use of products that contain mineral oil and petroleum. Using products that contain mineral oil and petroleum clog the pores and do not nourish your hair. Your scalp should be able to breathe after shampooing. This can lead to breakage and will not contribute to length retention. If your scalp is dry try using oils and what may help is to massage them in, something such as an oil rinse.
4). Using products that contain sulfates. Sulfates are chemicals that are found in most store-bought shampoos. They help in cleansing the hair but remove all moisture as well. You can find sulfate free shampoos that will clean your hair but will allow the moisture to remain. Another method that I highly recommend is co-washing (conditioner washing) instead of shampooing all the time. Now if you just have to shampoo, find a sulfate free shampoo that agrees with your hair but only use it once a month. For the other three-week or how ever many times you wash your hair, co-wash. This has worked very well for me. It may not work for everyone but it sure helped to remedy my dryness.
5). Not deep conditioning your hair. Deep conditioning is something that I was not doing in the beginning of my transition process. It something that I now know was lacking and helped me to remedy the dryness I was experiencing with my hair. After I deep condition and complete my regular regimen my hair is soft and moisturized. I just love it! So finding yourself a great deep conditioner and then remaining true to it will help your hair to retain length and to grow healthy and strong.
All of the things that I have touched on above are things that I was not doing in the beginning of my transition and once I did begin to do these things I saw a huge difference in how my hair retained moisture, how shiny it looked, how there was not much shed hair, and how my hair reacted much better to the products that I used. So if you have chronic dryness with your hair you may want to try some of these suggested remedies.