Water is the best moisturizing ingredient for natural black hair. Many in the natural hair community still believe that water dries out the hair. This myth prompts many naturals to put off washing or wetting their hair for weeks at a time.
Water on it’s own will not cause dryness, instead it is the use of harsh shampoos that contain sulfate detergents that causes dryness.
In addition to water, humectants promote moisture absorption in the hair fiber. They work by drawing in moisture from surrounding air to nourish, freshen and restore the hair. Ceramides and emollients are another range of ingredients that support moisture absorption. They work by forming a breathable water barrier around the hair cuticle. These ingredients are not as heavy as traditional oils and nourish the hair’s cuticle.
When buying moisturizing products to add to your hair care regimen, look out for the following moisturizing ingredients:
List of moisture boosting ingredients in hair products
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Pyrrolidine Carboxylic Acid
The ingredients listed above are routinely used in shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and deep conditioning treatments for hair and appear in high concentrations in Dominican hair products such as BoeBiotina. If you suffer from dry hair, then apart from using products that contain humectants, emollients and ceramides, it may be worth using a sulfate free shampoo to cleanse your hair. Another alternative to using a sulfate free shampoo is conditioner washing your hair. Conditioner washing is also called co washing and involves “washing” your hair without shampoo, using only a light conditioner. A watery conditioner with a lotion like consistency is usually recommended for co washing.
Co washing may sound like a strange idea at first. After all how is the hair meant to be cleansed using only a hair conditioner? Conditioner washing is effective at cleaning hair because they have gentle cleansers in them, and combined with a bit of massage can lift dirt and debris off the scalp and hair strands leaving your hair clean. If co washing is done on a regular basis, it is important to use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month to remove product build up from the scalp. Over moisturized hair can also lead to hair breakage, so always alternate a moisture based conditioner with a protein based conditioner to preserve your hair’s moisture protein balance and avoid hair breakage.