How to Moisturize Curly Hair
Moisture’s a must when it comes to curls and coils. Curly hair hydration isn’t optional if you want bouncy, healthy curls that stay shiny. Keeping your hair moisturized helps to protect it against long-term damage, and skipping steps when it comes to hydration can leave you with brittle, lackluster curls that are prone to breakage and frizz.
Need some tips on how to take care of your curls? We got you. Here’s how to keep those curls moisturized and healthy.
Wash your hair with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo
Harsh chemicals like sulfates can strip curly hair of its natural oils, which already find it trickier to make their way from root to tip when it comes to curls and coils. This can lead to dried-out, brittle hair that’s big on breakage and low on shine. Harsh ingredients can also mean a dry scalp, flakes and frizz too.
Sulfate-free shampoos make sure that your hair and scalp are clean and healthy without upsetting their natural balance. Our Sulfate-Free Shampoo won’t strip or dry out your curls, leaving you feeling fresh and clean until wash day.
Apply a deep conditioner 1-2x a week
Deep conditioning helps to infuse your curls with intense moisture that helps to strengthen, nourish and hydrate your hair. This leaves you with hair that’s bouncier with more stretch and less breakage. Adding moisture back into your hair reduces frizz and tangles too, plus it fortifies your hair from within.
Our Deep Condition & Repair blends shea butter, moringa oil, avocado oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil and rosemary oil for a deep-penetrating boost of hydration. It’s super moisturizing and gets your curls bouncy, soft and frizz-free, while keeping it healthy and supporting hair growth. Apply it from root to tip on wet hair after washing. Leave it on for 15 minutes, unless your hair’s extra damaged or dry, then leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse right out with cool water.
Use a leave-in conditioner to prevent breakage
When it comes to curly hair hydration, leave-in conditioner’s your anti-breakage bestie. It’s ideal for boosting your curls between washes, keeping your hair protected and detangling knots. It also helps to reduce the friction between your curls, minimizing breakage and damage from daily styling.
Our All-in-One Conditioner gives you maximum results with minimum effort so you can hydrate, repair and style in one step. It comes in three different formulations depending on your curl pattern: Wavy, Curly and Kinky-Coily.
Use a hydrating curl cream
Curl creams are the one if you want to add definition and hydration into your curls, coils and waves. They help to press pause on dryness and frizz while adding a little light hold to lock the moisture that they add to your hair. They’re a little heavier than a regular leave-in so they tend to help define your curls even more.
What does this mean for your hair? Defined curls that are healthy, bouncy and last until you want to change up your style.
Dry hair with a diffuser to lock in moisture and curl
Drying your hair with a diffuser’s a game changer for locking in moisture and defining your curls without frizz or messing with your curl pattern. A diffuser works by dispersing air flow more evenly, meaning less heat directly on your hair. This means slower, gentler drying that helps to preserve your natural moisture.
Plus, the design of a diffuser encourages curls to form and sets their shape while lifting them gently while drying. This means curl definition while your curl pattern stays intact. To get the best results and beautifully defined, bouncy curls set your diffuser on a low heat setting and move it in an upward motion. Slow and steady’s the name of the game here.
Apply hair oil on dried curls
Applying hair oil to your curls after you’ve dried them seals the deal, quite literally. It adds a little extra hydration, helps to combat frizz and seals in moisture while protecting your hair from humidity. Plus it adds shine and softness back into your curls.
Choose lightweight oils so that they don’t weigh your curls down, and gently scrunch a few drops into the ends of your curls or lightly through your strands to distribute the oils evenly. The Elixir Oil is a beautiful blend of 7 pure oils and vitamin E to add moisture, softness and shine back into your hair, skin and nails. It isn’t greasy but it hydrates with avocado, grape seed, jojoba, black cumin seed, rosemary, alma and moringa oils.
Trim hair frequently to prevent split ends
If you have any type of curs, you need to be getting regular trims. Because curly hair’s more likely to be dry, trims help to prevent damage, breakage and reduce tangles. Over time the ends of your hair become weaker and spit into two thinner strands - this can then travel up your hair and cause breakage, which leads to thinner-looking hair.
Trimming also means better moisture retention as it prevents the ends from becoming overly porous, allowing the natural oils to travel down the strands more easily. This helps keep your curls more bouncy, manageable and less likely to frizz or tangle. Every 8-12 weeks is usually enough to maintain healthy curls and prevent moisture loss.
Why Does Curly Hair Get Dry?
Curly hair gets dry because the twists and turns in every single strand makes it trickier for natural oils from the scalp to travel down the entire length of your hair easily. This means you’re often left with ends that are drier, and it’s your ends that need it the most as they’re the oldest part of your hair. If curly hair’s dry it makes it more prone to damage, breakage and even more moisture loss.
Weather, especially dry or humid conditions, can affect how curls hold moisture. Dry climates can suck moisture out of the hair, while humidity can cause frizz by drawing excess moisture into the hair shaft. Styling products with harsh chemicals or alcohol can strip away natural oils, causing even more dryness. Heat styling tools, especially if used too often or at high temperatures, can dry your hair out too. This leaves you with brittle curls that are prone to damage.
Understanding Hair Porosity
Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. This is determined by the outer layer of the hair (aka the cuticle) and its condition. Low porosity hair has a tightly bound cuticle layer, making it challenging for moisture to penetrate, while high porosity hair has a more open cuticle, allowing moisture to enter easily but struggling to retain it.
Understanding your hair's porosity is essential when it comes to working out what your hair needs. Take a look at the texture of your hair - low porosity hair often feels smooth and resistant to absorbing products, whereas high porosity hair can feel rough or dry due to its ability to absorb products quickly. How fast your hair dries on wash day can help you work it out too. Slow drying might mean low porosity, while quick drying can suggest high porosity hair.
Shea Butter & Curly Hair Moisture
Shea butter’s filled with vitamins and fatty acids that can deeply nourish and moisturize curls. It can penetrate the hair shaft to ensure thorough hydration and suppleness. It helps to lock in moisture without leaving a greasy residue, and keeps dryness and frizz at bay with a protective barrier.
Using shea butter in your curly hair hydration routine can work wonders. Choose shampoos and deep conditioning treatments that contain shea butter to infuse your hair with natural moisture. That’s why we use shea in our 3-Step System for a curly hair routine without the confusion.
Curly Hair Moisture Questions
Is Shea Moisture good for curly hair?
Everyone has different preferences and needs when it comes to their curls. Some people will love Shea Moisture, whereas others won’t be feeling it when it comes to their hair. Not every product is created equal, and every product won’t work for everyone.
How do you know if your curly hair is dehydrated?
If your curls are dehydrated, you might notice extra frizz and hair that feels dry, rough and lacks definition. Dehydrated curls tend to lose their bounce and elasticity too, leaving them feeling limp and weighed down, as well as more prone to tangles and knots. With dehydrated curls you’ll have more breakage and split ends, which means your curls might look dull or dry out really quickly after washing.
How often should I hydrate my curls?
There’s no one answer to how often you should hydrate your hair, as every head of curls is different. It depends on your hair’s porosity, texture and curl pattern. Your hair care routine and the environment you’re in makes a big difference too. You might need to do a bit of trial and error when it comes to working out how regularly you want to hydrate - for some this might mean hydrating every day, whereas others might feel better going a little longer before you refresh.
Why are my curls so dry and frizzy?
Dry and frizzy curls might show a lack of moisture, hair that’s dehydrated or damaged hair. The environment you live in and your hair care routine can have an impact on what’s happening with your hair too. Using the wrong products or not taking care of your curls can leave them feeling frizzy and dry.
What ingredients hydrate curly hair?
Aloe vera is incredible when it comes to deeply hydrating the hair without weighing it down. Its humectant properties attract moisture to the hair shaft, promoting hydration from within and soothing the scalp.
Shea butter is another ingredient that works well for curly hair. It’s rich in vitamins and fatty acids that deeply nourish and moisturize curls, enhancing their elasticity and shine. Coconut oil is a go-to for its ability to penetrate the hair shaft, locking in moisture and preventing protein loss, resulting in stronger, more hydrated curls.
Jojoba oil closely resembles the natural sebum produced by the scalp, aiding in balancing oil production while hydrating the hair and scalp. Sweet almond oil is lightweight and rich in vitamins, easily absorbed by the hair to soften and nourish curls without weighing them down. Additionally, grapeseed oil is renowned for its non-greasy texture, promoting moisture retention and strengthening hair strands. These oils are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, giving essential hydration to curly hair, reducing frizz, and enhancing overall hair health and manageability.
Does water moisturize hair?
Water itself doesn't moisturize hair; instead, it hydrates by penetrating the hair shaft, swelling it slightly, and allowing moisture to enter. While water is crucial for moisture retention and a little curl refresh here and there, it doesn't provide long-term hydration by itself. To lock in this moisture, it's essential to follow up with hydrating products, like conditioners and leave-ins, to seal the moisture within the hair shaft and prevent it from evaporating.
What are the Best Moisturizing Techniques for Different Curly Hair Types?
Different curly hair types benefit from varied moisturizing techniques. For tighter curls, deep conditioning treatments work wonders, as these curls tend to be drier due to their shape. Leave-in conditioners or creams are ideal for looser curls as they provide long-lasting moisture without weighing down the hair. Additionally, the LOC (Liquid-Oil-Cream) or LCO (Liquid-Cream-Oil) method can be tailored to suit individual hair needs. Experimenting with techniques helps identify what works best for your specific curl pattern and texture.
Can Over-Moisturizing Damage Curly Hair?
Over-moisturizing can damage curly hair. While moisture is vital, too much hydration can lead to an imbalance, causing the hair to become weak. This can result in elasticity issues, making the hair prone to breakage. It's important to strike a balance in your moisture routine and be mindful of how your hair responds to different products and hydration levels.
How Can I Protect My Curly Hair from Moisture Loss Overnight?
To safeguard your curls from moisture loss overnight, consider using a silk or satin pillowcase or wrapping your hair in a silk scarf or bonnet. These materials reduce friction and prevent moisture from being absorbed by cotton or other fabrics. You can also apply a small amount of a lightweight oil or leave-in conditioner to the ends to help seal in moisture while you sleep.
How Should I Adjust My Moisturizing Routine in Winter vs. Summer?
In winter, when the air is drier, go for heavier creams or oils to combat the harsh conditions and prevent moisture loss. Summer calls for lighter, water-based products to avoid weighing down the hair in humid conditions. Additionally, protective styling can help shield curls from the elements in both seasons - but be mindful of the environment, weather and humidity where you live.
Can Certain Hairstyles Help Retain Moisture in Curly Hair?
Hairstyles like braids, twists,or protective updos can help when it comes to retaining moisture by minimizing exposure to external elements and reducing friction. These styles also help to prevent your hair from moving around or tangling too much, helping to preserve the hair's moisture levels for longer periods.
Is There a Difference Between Hydrating and Moisturizing Curly Hair?
Yes, there’s a difference between hydrating and moisturizing curly hair. Hydration is all about the absorption and retention of water in the hair shaft, while moisturizing means sealing in that hydration and providing additional nourishment using products like oils, creams, or leave-in conditioners.
What are the Signs of Properly Moisturized Curly Hair?
Properly moisturized curly hair has defined curls with bounce and shine. It feels soft, manageable, and elastic without being overly dry or weighed down. Well-moisturized curls are also less prone to breakage, tangles, and frizz, maintaining their shape and health for longer periods.