Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Q: How do I re-moisturize my hair after I seal with a silicone serum? Won’t silicone lock the moisture out?

A: Silicones are synthetic oils. They make good sealants but they don’t do a perfect job. If they did, you wouldn’t have to re-moisturize at all because moisture would stay locked into your hair. But, that’s not what happens at all. If you seal with a silicone serum your hair will still get dry within a few days because moisture (water) can escape past the silicone. Hair sealed with coconut oil might need to be re-moisturized within a day; hair sealed with a silicone serum might stay moisturized for 2 days before it needs to be replenished. If moisture can get out, it can definitely be put back in. 

When you re-moisturize your hair after applying a serum, the moisture may take a few extra minutes to absorb, but it will absorb. Think of a silicone serum like a fence, not a brick wall. Silicone makes a stronger fence than any natural oil, but it’s still just a fence. Kinky hair is extremely porous compared to other hair types and it needs all the help with sealing it can get. Many face and body lotions contain silicone and you never have trouble re-moisturizing your skin. Your hair is no different.

Q: My concern is breakage and knots due to tangling. I big chopped 2 ½ years ago and my 4c coils are approximately 4 -5 inches long. By conservative estimates my hair should be 10-12 inches long by now. So, where is MY length? Once weekly I wash with Kinky Curly Come Clean, and condition with Joico K-Pak conditioner. In July I began doing twice monthly masks with Aztec clay mixed with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. It doesn’t get ugly until I try to detangle after washing! Right now I use Kinky Curly Knot today and a modified Denman brush, but nothing is working to reduce my single strand knots and breakage. My hair is too coily and too short to braid prior to shampooing, and finger detangling isn’t working for me. Help!

A: When you say 4c coils, I know you’re talking about “extra kinky” coils, which means they are the hardest to comb and the easiest to break. Your breakage and single strand knots are due to mechanical damage that happens when you comb and brush your hair. When you have really kinky coils, you absolutely must use a conditioner that makes your hair easy to comb after washing. If the comb doesn’t glide through your hair after you wash and condition it, your conditioner isn’t doing its most important job.

Try Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner instead of Joico K-Pak. Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner is highly recommended for kinky coils because it makes detangling very easy, it contains hydrolyzed protein to strengthen the hair, and it has a low pH which helps smooth the cuticle. Comb the conditioner through (with a wide tooth comb) before you rinse it out because that’s the safest time to thoroughly comb kinky hair and minimize breakage. When it’s time to style, stay away from that Denman! Even though you’ve taken some of the pins out, it’s still too rough on your hair. Every stroke of the brush causes breakage, especially when the brush’s teeth get caught on knots and tangles. Start detangling with your fingers and then switch to a comb, preferably one with smooth teeth. To test a comb, lightly drag the teeth across your arm; if it leaves a scratch mark, the teeth are too sharp. Your length retention will drastically increase if you make those changes to your routine.

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