By Terez Howard

Why?  It’s not because black natural hair isn’t producing enough sebum, or the natural oil our scalps produce.  According to the book Going Natural: How to Fall in Love With Nappy Hair, natural black hair produces three times as much sebum as other hair types.  So, you would think a natural hair moisturizer doesn’t need to be high on a natural girl’s priority list since she is already producing so much sebum.

But you have to remember that natural hair is fragile.  Each curl and coil is a potential breaking point.  Also, those gorgeous curls and coils make it difficult for sebum to travel down.  Extreme weather conditioners, like extreme cold or extreme heat, impact natural hair and cause it to crave more moisture.

You can restore that moisture with a natural hair moisturizer.  Some of the best are shea butter and carrier oils, like olive oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil.  And don’t forget about water.

Which natural hair moisturizer is right for you?

Water – Water is a natural’s best friend.  It is the simplest natural hair moisturizer.  Just think about it.  Water is oftentimes the first ingredient in moisturizing products.  It’s because water naturally moisturizes the hair.  On the other hand, hard water can strip your hair.  The best thing to do in this situation is purchase a shower filter to filter out any harsh impurities.  Simply boiling water helps improve the quality.

You can put water in a spray bottle and spritz it when your hair is feeling dry.  You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water.  The essential oil, like tea tree, rosemary or lavender, can give your natural hair added moisture and sheen.

Shea Butter – Shea butter is the ultimate natural hair moisturizer.  Shea butter protects strands from root to tip from weather conditions and brittleness.  It absorbs quickly to the scalp without clogging the pores, making a wonderful natural hair moisturizer to natural black hair and a dry scalp.  It specifically protects hair from the environment.

Just use a small amount, depending on your length, after you wash your hair.  If you use too much shea butter, you will get little flakes in your hair.  You might want to melt it before using it as a natural hair moisturizer.  Again, use shea butter sparingly, even when you melt it.  I once decided I could use more since I melted it and ended up with more little white balls than ever.

Carrier Oil as a Natural Hair Moisturizer

What is a carrier oil?

These base oils are vegetable-based oils (some are animal-based) used to dilute essential oils, which are thin oils with strong scents.  Essential oils are extracted from the leaves, stems, barks and roots of aromatic plants.  Vegetable-based carrier oils, the oils we’re going to talk about, come from the fatty portion of plants, such as the nuts, seeds and kernels.

You can use any of the following carrier oils as a natural hair moisturizer spritz by combining water with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil and 4 tablespoons of honey in a spray bottle.  Spritz this mixture on freshly washed hair.  You also can choose to massage the oil into your scalp, allow it to sit for about 30 minutes and then wash your natural hair.

Olive Oil – A hypoallergenic way to moisturize hair, olive oil provides strong antioxidants, like Vitamins E and A that help renew and repair natural hair that has been damaged from the environment or harsh weather conditions.  This natural hair moisturizer can also control dandruff.

Coconut Oil – Coconut oil makes for an effective natural hair moisturizer. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science revealed that coconut oil reduced protein loss in hair when used as a pre- or post-wash. These fatty acids penetrate, strengthen and enhance the hair shaft.

Jojoba oil – Jojoba oil is a natural hair moisturizer structurally similar to sebum.  According to the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, dry scalp problems can be solved with jojoba oil, which acts as substitute sebum, preventing tangles and moisturizing the hair follicle.  The scalp easily absorbs jojoba oil, which contains healing properties to repair damaged, dry natural hair.

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