by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals
1. Cleanse or Co-wash
3. Moisturize with a water based moisturizer
4. Seal with oil
Note that moisturizing and sealing can be done with one product that contains both water-based ingredients and occlusive agents, or with two separate products.
If your hair is fine then you’ll want to use lighter, thinner moisturizing lotions that don’t weigh your hair down, but are effective at moisturizing. Lighter oils like fractionated coconut oil or avocado oil can be used over heavier oils such as olive oil. For thicker hair textures, products with heavier oils and butters are more ideal over lighter moisturizing lotions to effectively soften and moisturize the hair.
Recommendations for humectants have suggested they be used in moderate climates instead of those where it’s extremely humid or extremely dry. I would go a step further to assess the actual moisturizer formula and choose a product based on the following guidelines.
In extremely humid conditions:
• Minimize or reduce the extremely hydroscopic humectants such as glycerin, agave nectar or honey.
• Reduce or avoid the use of moisturizers with the above ingredients as the top 5 ingredients.
• Choose products with humectants that are lower on the ingredient list, hydrolyzed proteins such as hydrolyzed silk or panthenol. These are usually included in a formula at a low percentage.
In lower humidity conditions:
• Products with humectants located in the first 5 ingredients may be used providing the product also contains occlusive ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, tucuma butter or other butters that can minimize evaporation of water from the hair to the environment.
• Thicker moisturizers may be effective at preventing dry hair, even for finer hair textures.
These are guidelines and each person’s hair responds differently to an ingredient or product in a unique way.
In order to find your perfect product you’ll need to try different ones based on an understanding of their ingredients and the formulation. A formula can look great in terms of the ingredients but when it’s applied to your hair it does nothing to improve the condition of your hair or add moisture. So much of finding the correct products for you will be trying them but always with an understanding of the overall formula of the product.
What is the most effective moisturizer for you?
Do you change products and your regimen based on the seasons?
I've said it before and I'll say it again... the top 5 ingredients are what matter most. The vast majority of my effective instant conditioners contain nearly the same 5 ingredients (including water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearyl alcohol, or other similar fatty alcohols), as do my most effective stylers. I can tell by looking at a new product's ingredient list whether it's likely to work or not on my curls. I can also tell when a product's label is writing checks it can't cash ('now with Argan Oil!', but it's like 80 ingredients down the list) If you're mindful of this, you'll save yourself a ton of money and time!