Ask the Experts: Secrets to Conditioning and Moisturizing Hair

Whether relaxed or natural, read on for expert advice from Ken Burkeen, founder of Huetiful Hair Care, on how to kick dryness to the curb and finally achieve healthy, hydrated hair for good.
Nicole Marie Melton Jan, 24, 2012

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If you’re wondering if your current conditioning and moisturizing routine is working, check the ends of your hair. “Breakage and split ends are tell-tale signs that your hair is lacking moisture,” says Burkeen. “Split ends and breakage are direct byproducts of dry hair or damaging processes that put too much heat on the hair.”

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Although no woman wants to become a “product junkie,” it’s essential not to give up on your search until you’ve found the right conditioner for you. Burkeen has found that a lot of his clients are big fans of Karen’s Body Beautiful and Shea Moisture brand conditioners. “Both companies are small brands that make their products in small batches with a lot of love,” says Burkeen.

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Not only do you need the right products to hydrate the hair, there are also great tools on the market that can help with the conditioning process such as the Huetiful Hair Steamer. “As a marketer I always wanted to find a solution for dryness, especially for women who don’t always have access to hair salons,” revealed Burkeen about creating his steamer. Another fan favorite for deep conditioning is the Hair Therapy Wrap.

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Once you’ve found a conditioner you love, take note of the mix of ingredients it contains, which will give you a good idea of the best formulas for your hair type. “The one thing I have learned in developing a product is how much oil and good stuff is in a product. That differs from manufacturer to manufacturer,” says Burkeen.

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Mastering your hair regimen should be a personal journey, so don’t be surprised if your BFF’s favorite brands may not work for you. " Finding the right conditioners depends on the type, the texture, and the current state of the health of the hair," says Burkeen. “All hair isn’t created equal and different products will work well for some and not others.”

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There’s a big difference between moisturizing and hydrating hair according to Burkeen. “When we refer to moisturizing the hair, we really mean adding the oils, creams and conditioners, but to properly hydrate the hair, you must start with water. During the deep conditioning process, it’s important to lift the cuticle to allow water, moisturizers and conditioners to get deeply soaked into the hair shaft.”

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After you’ve washed and conditioned your hair, lock in hydration by “sealing” the hair with oils or butters. “Olive, jojoba, and argan oil are great for the hair,” says Burkeen. “I also recommend moringa oil, which is a precious, nutrient-dense oil.”

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What you’ve heard about healthy hair starting from within is true. “Maintaining moisture in the hair is part dietary as well,” says Burkeen. “Think about eating healthier and especially drinking more water. Most of us could drink a lot more water. Sweet tea doesn’t count.”

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The scalp is where healthy hair is born, thus it’s vital that it be properly nourished and maintained, too. “One thing a lot of us don’t talk about is scalp health,” says Burkeen. The best way to make your scalp a haven for healthy hair is through frequent washing and conditioning to clear any buildup and keep it moisturized and supple.

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Before hair damage starts to appear, take the necessary steps to prevent it altogether. “I’m a firm believer in being proactive,” advises Burkeen. “Even if you do have healthy hair, do the things you need to do to maintain it. Don’t wait until you have the signs, because the damage has already set in.”

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