Ask CurlyNikki: How Do I Get My Hair From Brittle to Beautiful?

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Calling all naturalistas! Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you're in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums! Submit your questions by emailing them to BeautyEditors@essence.com.

READER QUESTION: When I leave my hair out for any length of time, the ends get really dry. What can I do to get moisture back and avoid brittle ends?

CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE:  Make sure you’re properly sealing. Sealing is locking moisture in the hair, specifically the ends. To do so, apply a leave-in conditioner with water as its first ingredient (try Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee), and then seal with shea butter or an oil. The molecules in most butters/oils are too large to pass into the hair, so they stick to the outside of the shaft, trapping in the moisturizer!

When sealing after your regular washing routine, apply your leave-in conditioner to damp hair in a downward motion. Then apply your butter or oil, concentrating on your ends, and style as usual. When doing so mid-week, follow the same steps, focusing on the ends.

Also, try protective styling! A protective style is one in which your hair isn’t loose. Whether your hair is twisted, braided, bunned or cornrowed beneath a weave, your strands are woven together and more resistant to breakage – plus, they hold on to moisture very well.

As with everything, less is more! So make sure your protective style of choice isn’t stressing your edges, you don’t leave it in too long, and you continue to moisturize your hair even while it’s protected.

If you notice your hair dries out fast it could be that your strands are highly porous. Most curly hair is highly porous, which means it has an open cuticle that allows moisture to easily escape and leaves you open to breakage . To tell if your hair is porous,  place a couple of hairs in a cup of water. If it sinks in less than a couple minutes, it’s porous.

Finally, always protect your hair at night with a satin cap. Over time, sleeping with your hair out will result in loss of moisture. It’s not the sexiest look for nighttime, but the payoff is worth it! You may want to reassess your wash day products as well. Our hair tends to the dry side, but if you find the right product combo, your moisture should last for days, even while wearing your hair out.

I hope this helps! Help her out ladies! What tips do you have for maintaing moisture?

Nikki Walton, founder of CurlyNikki.com, is a successful psychotherapist and creator of the most credible online source about natural hair care, maintenance and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. She's the author of the book Better Than Good Hair.