CurlyNikki decodes the dilemma of brittle hair and reveals how to lock in moisture for good.
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: I did the big chop in September. I have thick hair, and it's very hard to stay moist. No matter what I do, by the middle of the day my hair is extremely dry and hard. I'm frustrated and don't know what to do. Can you please help me?
CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE: Hola chica! Sorry to read that you’re going through it. Trust that you’re not alone in your dryness struggles. It’s a common #CurlyGirlProblem that has many different remedies. Using the information that you’ve shared, several recommendations are being offered below. Keep in mind: these are suggestions and should be used as a starting place. Only you know what will and won’t work for your hair! Good luck!
1. Product Choice: Given what you’ve shared, I gather that you’re skipping a key step: MOISTURIZING! You go straight from your instant conditioning and detangling to using the Tui Oil, which provides nourishment, lubrication and at best, is sealing in the moisture from your shower—it’s not moisturizing in and of itself. What would be better is if you add a step in between—a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. It should be water-based and creamy and slippery so it goes on smooth and helps keep your hair detangled. You can then use your oil to seal in that goodness. Adding this step should make a big difference.
Also, to keep things moist between washdays, on an as-needed basis (usually every two to four days), apply water and/or a water-based, leave-in conditioner. You don't need much. Just be sure to evenly distribute. You know it’s water-based because ‘aqua’ will be the first ingredient!
2. Water temperature: You’re right to assume hot water is not helping your situation. You should wash, condition and detangle your hair with luke warm water and rinse with cool water to help seal the cuticle.
3. Deep Treatments: Deep conditioning is essential in maintaining healthy, moisturized natural hair. You can either apply a conditioner to your dry hair before or after your wash session. Either way, you’ll don a plastic cap and cover with a microheat cap, wool hat or towel, to heat things up gently. You can leave it in for 15 minutes to an hour and then rinse. I recommend a deep treatment at every wash session! Many curlies like to mix oils and honey into their conditioner! Get creative!
4. Frequency of washing: Your message didn’t share how often you’re re-washing your hair, but this is something to look into as well. My hair thrives on once-a-week washings… more than that and my hair gets dry, gets product build-up and then goes rigid and really dry. Find that sweet spot and keep your hair moisturized in between sessions with tips from number 1 above!
Remember, healthy natural hair maintenance is all about trial and error. Keep a journal, reassess often and have fun!
Hope this helps!
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 forthcoming book, Better Than Good Hair.