At some point in our natural hair journey, we’ve all been there. Or maybe you’re there now, and that’s why you’re reading this. Whatever the case may be, nobody likes the feeling of dry, crispy, overworked hair that breaks off into thin wisps at the slightest touch.
But before we get in to a product frenzy, let’s get a few things out of the way. First, a regimen check. If you’re experiencing chronic dryness, ask yourself the following:
When was the last time you clarified your hair?
How often are you deep conditioning?
How are you layering your products after styling?
How often are you using heat?
The truth is, all three of these things impact how hydrated your hair is, and how soft and smooth it feels in the days following. Incorporating a clarifying shampoo into your regimen every month or so will help give your hair a “clean slate” and enhance the repairative, restorative, and rehydrating properties of your deep conditioner.
Speaking of deep conditioning…
How often is it happening in your regimen? If you are suffering from issues of dehydration, deep conditioning should be happening at least every two weeks, weekly if you can manage it. Deep conditioning restores hydration, improves elasticity, and conditions the hair with oils and emollients to help make it stronger, improve elasticity, balance internal moisture, soften, and smooth the hair. If your deep conditioner isn’t doing all of these things for you, it’s time to find a new one (but that’s for another article at another time). After cleansing and deep conditioning comes applying product to your hair. Are you using a leave-in, or just slapping curl definer directly onto your hair? Although many of the gels out right now are non-drying (hallelujah), textured hair benefits greatly from having a leave-in product underneath to create a buffer, moisturize, tame frizz, and keep hair soft. What method or acronym you use to style doesn’t matter — making sure you use some sort of leave-in does.
All that Heat
Lastly, before we get to products (I promise, they’re coming), how much heat are you using on your hair? Do you diffuse very wash and go within an inch of its life, or frequently sit under a hooded dryer? Are you blow dry blasting the roots and teasing it to the heavens for stretch and volume? Using heat styling tools like blow dryers zaps moisture from the cortex of the hair, period. It doesn’t matter how low or how cool the setting is, that is how blow dryers are designed to work. Heat protectants and moisturizers can help slow the process and prevent complete dehydration, but it is always best to err on the side of minimal heat. I know, air-dried hair isn’t voluminous and sexy. But it is better for your hair.
Once you’ve checked and balanced your regular regimen, or if none of those steps apply to you, it’s time to take a closer look at products, namely your moisturizers.
Not all moisturizers are created equally.
Just because a product is ridiculously expensive doesn’t mean it is going to work, just like a product being “cheap” doesn’t automatically render it ineffective. More than the price tag, to make sure you get the most bang for your moisturizing buck, pay attention to the first 5-6 ingredients after water. Those are the ingredients that will have the most discernible impact on your hair, and will either help or hinder your hydration.
Without further delay, here are my 7 picks for chronically dry hair!
Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream
Heralded as the brand designed for coily, kinky, and dry hair, Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive is a must-have for any naturalista battling parched tresses. The all-natural, curly girl friendly, super moisturizing cream keeps hair soft and supple for days at a time, thanks to a unique blend of Afro-Indian ayurvedic herbs, aloe, castor oil, olive oil, and MSM. If your hair is a bit on the finer side but still dry, the lighter Burdock Root Butter Cream is a must-have (I am a forever fan).
Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk
This thick, rich, and super dense (and did I mention thick?) does an excellent job of quenching thirsty tresses of all textures. Formulated with avocado oil, rice bran oil, aloe, castor, and macadamia, this sweet-smelling moisturizer rehydrates, improves elasticity, and restores hair with natural ceramides for protection and cuticle health. For ladies with finer hair strands, Fresh Curl is an excellent option.
Soultanicals Marula Muru Moisture Guru
Specializing in botanical care for afro-textured hair, Soultanicals offers up the Marula Muru Moisture Guru to penetrate, nourish, and moisturize dry and brittle hair. Full of botanical extracts like calendula and nettle, and combined with aloe, olive, marula, and murumuru, this creamy moisturizer intensely hydrates, restores, adds shine, and will keep your hair happy for days at a time. If your strands are dry but easily weighed down, Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious (one of my day 1 HGs) takes the cake.
As I Am Double Butter Cream
Featuring shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, and coconut oil, As I Am’s Double Butter Cream intensely lubricates, softens, and penetrates the hair for maximum moisture and softness. In addition to our favorite oils and butters, the Double Butter Cream contains herbs and extracts that help strengthen, stimulate, and rejuvenate tired, dry, and worn out hair.
Kyra’s Shea Medleys Original Butter Cream
If you’re looking for a moistrizer that is more buttery and doubles as a sealant, look no further than Kyra’s Shea Medleys Original Butter Cream. Not only is the warm vanilla (and all natural) fragrance to die for, it is packed with good for hair and skin ingredients like aloe vera juice, avocado oil, and of course, shea butter. Oh, and while you’re at it – pick up a Rejuvenation Butter Cream with peppermint essential oil and kokum butter for your edges (it smells like mint chocolate and you’ll thank me later).
TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer The TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer is a little different from the rest, because beyond hydrating and moisturizing the hair, it provides excellent conditioning. It contains glycerin and fatty alcohols to soften and assist the hair in retaining moisture while feeding it with nutrient-dense shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, and more. Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer is TGIN’s number one seller, and many naturalistas swear by it.
Purgasm Shop Wild Cherry Whipped Pomade
If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich moisturizer that can double as a light-hold styler, Purgasm Shop’s Wild Cherry Whipped Pomade is a must-try. It transforms dry, crunchy, and rough-feeling hair to soft, hydrated tresses. Made with aloe vera, marshmallow root, wild cherry bark, shea butter, mango butter, honey and more, this light whipped pomade penetrates, softens, adds shine, and is even rumored to help combat shrinkage.