When I’m in the guise of my alter ego, “Hairscapades”, I often receive or read cries for help that go something like this:
I came across just such a question this past
weekend on CurlyNikki’s Facebook page and I did my best to answer it.
As I wrote the response, I realized that my answer to this frequent
query might be helpful to other … so this post was “born.”
Now, here are a couple of disclaimers before
we get started. One, my hair is a mix of regular and high porosity
strands, you may need to modify some of these steps if your hair is
under-porous. Two, my suggestions here are for hair that is
really in need of moisture. It is not for hair that is over-moisturized
and in need of protein to help it retain hydration. For more on dry,
brittle hair that may be a result of over-conditioning caused by regular
co-washing, overnight baggying, protein avoidance, etc., check out my
posts: Moisture and Protein: Finding the Balance and Can I Over-Condition?
6 Steps to Building Sustained Moisture
When, I see inquiries like the one above, I rarely make product
recommendations for “daily” moisturizers. This is because, I think building sustained moisture starts on wash day.
I think the importance of this day can sometimes be underestimated.
Therefore, the advice I offer is related to techniques (and the
products) that I have found successful in hydrating hair so that it will
sustain moisture level between wash days. This is not to say that a
moisturizer will not be needed between wash sessions. However, by
building hydration levels on wash day, re-moisturizing sessions during
the week may be more effective and required less frequently.
So, here we go. These are the steps that I take to hydrate my hair and seal in all that “moisturiffic” goodness;).
|“Naked” hair (left); hair with leave-in (right)|
1. Start with a pre-poo (on dry hair) prior to shampooing.
Coat hair with a penetrating oil, like coconut, olive, avocado or Vatika
(coconut oil base), which has the ability to enter the hair shaft and
reach the cortex to moisturize the hair from the inside out. Leave oil
on hair under a plastic baggie for a minimum of one hour up to overnight
What I Use: Right now, I’m loving Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose
(moisturizing) or GPB Conditioner (protein) mixed with Vatika oil as a
pre-poo. I alternate moisture and protein as needed.
2. Wash with a non-stripping, sulfate free shampoo.
What I Use: DevaCare No Poo (diluted with water in a dye bottle for easier application and slip).
3. If necessary, apply a moisturizing, cheapie conditioner to thoroughly detangle hair.
What I Use: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH). Best detangler I’ve found for my hair so far.
4. Deep condition (DC) for 15 minutes to an hour with heat.
Then, this is key, COOL and SEAL. Cooling and sealing was a game-changer
for me. The short of it is that you remove the heat source and allow
the DC to cool in your hair for 10-15 minutes. Then, you dilute a
regular daily conditioner in cool/cold water and apply it directly over
the DC prior to rinsing everything out with cold water. For more details on this technique, check out my post: Deep Conditioning Tricks … Cool & Seal.
What I Use: I’m really feeling Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm
to deep condition right now (the Sally’s GVP version is good too). But,
I’m also a fan of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing
Conditioner, JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment, Shea Moisture Raw Shea
Deep Treatment Mask and Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Smoothie. I use HE HH
or Aussie Moist as my “sealing” conditioner.
5. After rinsing the deep conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner thoroughly to wet or damp hair.
What I Use: I’ve been getting really good results with Aubrey
Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner as a leave-in. But, I also often rely on a
modified Kimmaytube leave-in recipe (2 tbsp Kinky Curly Knot Today, 2
tbsp aloe vera juice – whole leaf, 1 tsp of oil [mix of EVOO, JBCO and
6. Seal in the water, leave-in conditioner and any stylers/moisturizers used with an oil, butter or oil/butter blend.
What I Use: JBCO/EVOO mix. Doing these things on wash day enables my hair to hold onto moisture
throughout the week and between wash sessions. Oh, and if my hair is
feeling a little dry a few days into the week, I simply apply a
moisturizer (with water as the first ingredient) and re-seal with an
oil. Happy hair!!
AKAlegal, you can just use oil or use a conditioner or use an oil and conditioner mix … I used Vatika solo for a good year. But, recently, I started using the Aubrey's conditioners (HSR and GPB) as the instructions indicate to use them on dry hair before shampooing. I tried using them after shampooing and they did nothing for me. But, when I used them before, completely different story!! So then, I started mixing them with Vatika oil for my pre-poo to get the benefit of the coconut oil too. However, that's just my preference … for now:). An oil pre-poo alone is fine.
Hope that clarifies it.!
Thanks Shelli for sharing. Question: I am confused with the Pre-Poo. Step one states to pre-poo with EVCO or other similar oil product for one hour or overnight. However, beneath step one you state you are currently using Aubrey's Conditioner or Protein (whichever is needed) . Are you saying we should pre poo with the oil and the conditioner or protein overnight? Or is this a separate process? Basically when/how do you use the Aubrey product? Thank you
I do these steps, this was before reading this, although at step 4 I don't use heat and just use HE HH for 30-45 mins beforehand (to detangle and condition) and rinse that out after shampooing then carry on all the steps like normal. I've been doing it for about 2 weeks, as I wash weekly, and these steps really do leave your hair moisturised.
Awwwww, thank you Sydney!! And yes, it does!! I love it and I love that it seems to work with any DC and regular conditioner that I use!!
Awesome!! Thank you so much for coming back to let me know that it went well!! Yea!!!
I saw it first on your site but the first time I did it was when I bought Ouidad's deep protein treatment. Such a great idea! Your post reminded me of my past experience and I've been doing it ever since. It just works. Thanks for sharing your tips. Your hair is gorgeous!
Thanks Shelli, I read the post and I will definitely be adding this to my regimen. I tried this technique yesterday and had great results even though I accidentally forgot step 3. I used a little bit of olive oil before the kccc (because of course i didn't read your post until afterwards :s) but it still turned out well. Next time though I will do it after. Thanks for your reply!
Shelli, that makes sense. Thanks
I started the process last night and have to say that this is the first time that my hair hasn't felt crunchy after wash day. Thanks for posting the aptly named "cool and seal" method!
I'm transitioning so I still haven't mastered this. Plus I notice my hair is super duper dry since I'm 8 months pregnant. My hormones have my hair dry and I'll be glad when I finally know the normal condition of my hair.
Shelly, was your hair detangled well prior to DCing and then became tangled when you added the leave-in? What leave-in did you use? Maybe that was the problem, b/c a leave-in should provide more slip and help with detangling, not cause more tangles! That's not cool!! LOL!!
Yea!!! Can't wait Tash!!
Hi Natalir! Thank you so much!! When you read the post, you'll see why you've never really seen it anywhere else:). It's on the Ouidad Deep tx and my sister suggested I try it with my own conditioners after she did and it worked!! So, I kind of coined the phrase "Cool & Seal" and putting it out there as a technique to use with any deep conditioner:). Though, have to give my sister the credit for telling me to try it many years ago and Ouidad the credit for putting the instructions on their tx!!
As to your product line-up …. yeah … I hear that KCCC does NOT play well with others. But, since you are using the KCKT and KCCC together, I don't think you'll have any problem sealing with an oil! In fact, you might want to test a small piece and see what happens if you mix a little oil with a little KCCC … see if it creates white chunks. Oh!!! But really, what I would suggest you do is let your hair dry ENTIRELY after you apply the KCCC. Then and only then, use a little oil smoothed over your palms to "seal" and "scrunch out the crunch."
Can't wait to read about your results!!
Hairscapades- It a great peice of advice in ur post.. I do most of the things except for a leave-in. Problem is I live in india and dnt find most of these products here. Loreal absolute repair conditioner is what i use as DC and i keep trying different cheap conditioner for moisurising in btwn washes. However i feel that those conditioners dnt help much as they dnt spread properly on unwashed hair. I have 3c hair. which are barely shoulder length. I am soon going to get married n i realy want long tresses for my wedding. The length hardly grows. Any suggestions u have to grow them out
Okkkk I just comleted the 6. Steps & I can't wait to chime in on how it worked. So far the only concern was the tangling upon adding the leave-in (which I never use) but we will see.
I am doing this right now!! Will let you know about my results!
this was such a great post, thank you so much. will be reading your other link right after this comment! i have never heard of the cool and seal technique where you put conditioner over your dc before washing. tomorrow is wash day and im so excited to try this! i'll be using knot today and kccc afterwards for a wash and go, i hope this technique won't cause white flaking since im sealing with an oil and their products are so sensitive. i'll try evoo as you have listed since it seems for you to work well with knot today. thanks again!
Gwenn, are you laying on the product thicker on the areas that get dry and moisturizing those sections more often? Sometimes certain sections of the hair can be dehydrated, so paying a little extra attention to those areas when conditioning, moisturizing and sealing might help.
Sounds awesome Angela!!
I only did an ACV rinse once because I found it drying as well.
Imani, what products are you using and are you balancing moisture with protein?
Marissa, if you go to the linked post, you'll find the full details. But adding a regular daily conditioner on top of the DC seems to work to seal the moisture of the DC into the hair. DC's have smaller molecules that enter the hair strand. Daily conditioners have larger molecules that coat the strand. That's why I call it the "Cool & SEAL." HTH.
What is the purpose of rinsing the Dc out with more conditioner?
Try skipping acv or diluting with condish or water and peppermint Castillo soap. My hair turns brittle with acv. I use it only occasionally-4c here
I do all of this.. & it seems like my hair still is dry.. I have 3c/4a 4b/c hair. I've done ACV wash twice and I just dont know
Thanks for sharing. I follow most of the steps above besides the pre-poo. I plan to incorporate a pre-poo with raw honey & coconut or evoo on wash day (or maybe overnight…). The COLD water rinse after DC has made a huge difference for my hair. It's shinier and retains moisture better. During the week, I use Taliah Waajid's Protective Bodifer Mist (awesome!!!) to moisturize & seal with a leave-in cream if my hair feels dry.
My problem is that some parts of my hair stays moisturized for a few days and parts doesn't. It's really tricky in trying to maintain moisture on hair that has different levels of porosity. I'm trying to find the balance.
I make sure everytime I wash I pre-poo and deep condition my hair. I rush and a apply my leave in my styler all at the sametime before I seal with evoo or Carol's Daughter Mimosa hair honey this lasts to three days until the dry Las Vegas heat gets to it if I do not do protective styles. I remoisturize with Shea moisture's and style milk or the smoothie or the deep treat, seal with an oil. I still struggle with moisture I am still learning about my hair and what it likes.
To keep my hair moisturized I shampoo my hair and condition it. Deep condition when I feel like my hair needs that extra moisture. While my hair is wet, I apply a butter and some oil. And my hair stays moisturized for a couple of days. I needed, I just reapply the butter.
Awesome!! Sounds like you have it down to a science!! Thank you for sharing your routine Brooke!!
Awwww, thanks Syndey!! And yeah, JBCO is the business!!! It is one of my Holy Grails! LOVE it!!
Awesome!!! So happy that you needed this today:)!! Please let me know if you find the techniques effective and what, if any, modifications you make!! Seriously, I think the Cool & Seal technique alone makes a difference as I was doing that long before I started pre-pooing or sealing in my leave-in with an oil. I always say great length retention when I was DCing regularly (once a month usally) using this technique!! Thanks and please let me know how it goes …. either here or on my blog!
Thanks Hilary!! And absolutely!!! I think a lot of different products will work once you have the right techniques!! Thanks for the feedback!!
Same for you Abrunnin! Please report back on your results!! I'd love to know how this technique works for others! Thank you!
Please report back Esther!! I'd greatly appreciate it!
Sydney, Brooke and Frances, did you try the technique after my guest post (or after seeing it on my site) here? If so, coolio:)!! I've yet to find someone for whom it didn't work. And, I LOVE hearing about another satisfied customer!!! So, thank you for the feedback!!
Thanks! Got it! Love that stuff!
jamacian black castor oil
I'm definitely gonna try the cool and sal method
I will try the cool and seal method
Cooling and Sealing has made the difference for me…
1. Prepoo- separate dry hair as much as possible spray with water, put on evoo & cheap conditioner v05
then I finger detangle & twist my hair, don a plastic cap & prepoo overnight.
2. Next day rinse hair with warm water
4. Deep condition (making sure I add evoo & honey to whatever mix I'm using) use heat for 15-30 minutes, allow the dc to cool for 15 & then I add my v05 on top before rinsing with cool water.
5. I allow my hair to air dry in my clips for 10-15 minutes
6. I use a leave-in, evoo to seal & my styler(usually Shea moisture leave-in or their smoothie)
My hair usually stays moisturized up to 3-4 days after was day.
I believe it's Jamaican Black Castor Oil (don't quote me on this).
I believe it's Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Love these tips. I basically do everything she mentioned and it definitely works! The cooling and sealing the DT is just an amazing technique and it seems like it makes the DT "stick" to the hair better. Can some one tell me what JBCO is?
I follow some of these as well. Thanks!
I feel like you have answered my prayers lol… Yesterday, I spent a lot of time searching for a way to keep my hair moisturized and this morning boom! I see this post. Thank you for sharing.
Moisturized hair DEFINITELY starts on wash day, that's great advice! What works to keep my hair moisturized on wash day and beyond is, water > cowash > rinse completely > leave-in > oil. I alternate between a couple different products but I think the order and way in which you apply products is just as important as the products themselves.