Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maximum Moisture Part III: Keeping the moisture in

We're charging through the Maximum Moisture series which is a critical topic of discussion. Especially for those of us with chemically treated hair. So far my discussion has been focused mostly around the weekly wash and set. Now it's time to move on to styling and beyond. I strongly believe in using the wash and set as a major way of injecting moisture back into the hair. Most of your focus during the weekly wash should be around the intention of impacting moisture levels (as well as strength) in preparation for the week ahead. Why? Because of the simple fact that your hair will be exposed to air. Yes, the same life-giving air we live in and breathe is the mortal enemy of our hair's moisture.

My heart nearly sank years ago when I was reading Wanakee's informational hair care booklet as she articulated the dangers of constantly exposing the hair to elements. As you may know I am a self-proclaimed non-protective styler who struggles constantly to keep my hands out of my hair. I love detangling with my fingers, or examining the ends for strength, or just playing in my hair for no apparent reason whatsoever. It's a problem I've been dealing with since I was a child after notifying my mother, at the age of 10, that her hair styling services would no longer be needed because I would be doing my own hair going forward. It was then my love affair with my hair began.

I fail miserably every time I attempt to hide my hair for weeks or months at a time. I knew this was a lost cause when I got my hair braided back in high school. Back then everyone was rocking extension braids and I wanted them badly. So, like others, I paid good money to have one of the best recommended braiders work her magic on my hair. Two weeks later, the braids were removed and I was rocking my hair like nothin' happened. It's just something I'll have to live with. So, as you can imagine, dryness is the achilles heel to the health of my hair. I am still seeking ways to impact moisture levels day after day. But I'll share with you some of the steps I take today to give my hair a fighting chance.

Just recently, within the last several weeks, I decided to air dry. No, I'm not talking about the normal air dry where you use no styling methods to dry the hair. I'm talking about air drying my roller sets. Setting my hair on rollers is pretty much a part of my weekly routine. This past month, I experimented with "normal" air drying where the hair isn't dried on a roller or with a styling tool. I failed miserably at this attempt because I had two things working against me:

1. I am three months post.
2. I'm shedding like a dog.

Put those two together and, for me, you have a recipe for insane tangles. So I decided after a few weeks of trying, that I'd have to roller set no matter how much new growth I had. I thought about sitting under a hooded dryer on maximum heat which didn't sit right with me. Fall is upon us and the amount of moisture in the air is minimal. Drying every ounce of liquid from my hair with hot air was no longer appealing. So last week I air dried my roller set, which I haven't done in a very long time. There's certainly great benefit in air drying. I'm now combining the moisture preserving aspect of air drying with the styling options available with roller setting.

Ok, so what do I do to maintain moisture after the style is achieved?

I've had two experiences that I'd like to share with you today.

In scenario 1, I wash, condition, roller set, and style. What's important to notate in this scenario is after I've finished styling, I take advantage of my fresh hair do by wearing my hair down for a majority of the day. What happens by night fall? My fabulous curls start to drop and I begin to see signs of frizziness and lackluster.

In scenario 2, I wash, condition, roller set, and style. What's important to notate in this scenario is after I've finished styling, I tie down with a silk scarf. Again, I'm not a fan of hiding my hair but I can not deny the power of preserving moisture with a silk scarf especially after the wash and set. This is the perfect opportunity to seal in and protect all of your hard work.

I've lived both scenarios and I'm committed to only living out scenario 2 from this day forward. Every little bit counts. There's another daily habit that I've just implemented to help with moisture but I feel like I'd make a bigger impact if I explain it via video. It's nothing major but it's worth mentioning. Perhaps someone will benefit from it. I'll be working on that video shortly for official release.

Until then, I should also mention that I rarely use moisturizers. Even though I know it's a necessity for the health of the hair. I am in no way condoning the elimination of moisturizers from your routine. If your hair is thriving with the help of moisturizers, the last thing you want to do is remove that step from your regimen. That could be disastrous. For me, it was more about looking for other ways to moisturize aside from just the help of product. There is one product I use, it's a blend of oils that combined in varying quantities. My goal, when I blended these oils was to create a formula that would help promote softness and shine on a daily basis. I also wanted to act like a moisturizer on the hair. What I mean by that is that the oil would not only make the hair look good, but it would also make it feel just as good. That was probably six months or so and I've been using it ever since. Just one product.

I'll wrap up this post for now but I will say that there's so much more on this topic that I'd like to discuss. I don't think we can ever exhaust this topic. By the way, if you've got some great moisturizing tips you'd like to share. Or even if you've got a bomb moisturizer you'd like to recommend. Leave a comment.
  1. u are the poster child for "whatever works for you" - my eyes nearly bugged out of my head, don't use a moisturizer?! lol. but ur reasoning seems logical and your hair is doing very well. great post.

  2. I'm currently looking for a moisturiser as well because i've tried heaps and they seem to be no good for my hair. Plus the Australian weather is extremely harsh on my hair and it is shedding at the speed of light so i've been reading your blog to get some tips.

    Can you please share your mixture of hair oil and the quantities? I've just read your post on making your own leave-in and i'm considering buying rose water and amla oil and mixing it to use as a leave-in spray. Any ideas would be mucho appreciated ^_^

  3. Great series! I'm also always looking for way to up my moisture levels which coined my 'Go Deep' terminology. Lol. I have to say that I was never great at the daily moisturizing but I've been having good results with Wave Nouveau and Qhemet Burdock Root!

  4. Another great post! I'm curious to how your air dry rollerset turned out; I'm so scared to try that! I think its wonderful you have created something that works for you--regarding your oil mix.