Combating Dry Hair

It’s not fun having dry hair. It’s not always due to the same things and because of this, it may also not be easy to pinpoint either. Here are some ways to possibly figure out what’s making your hair dry or causing it to dry out.

Shampoos: You’d be surprised how many sulphate free poos left me with crunchy hair. Sulphate ones too, but sulphate free the most. It is not normal for shampoo to leave your hair feeling weak and fragile to touch. Diluting a shampoo with water or oil can help, but finding a new one can help too. Don’t get caught up too much in surfactants and which ones to and not to use, as their use should be dependent on how much styling products are used between wash days. Too much drying out can also lead you to over condition. Smoothing shampoos can be the enemy as well when they close your cuticles too much causing you to miss out on much needed moisture.

Conditioners (including deep, rinse-out and leave-in): Over conditioning your hair can leave you with drier hair than you started with. It can also cause drier ends because too much of a good thing can be too much. Some can contain oils and butters which wouldn’t agree with your hair on a normal day. Conditioners also need to be pH balanced so they close your cuticles.

Another issue is conditioners in conditioners. E-wax, e-conditioner, emulsifiers, emollients and some alcohols can also dry out some people’s hair. Too much protein? Dry. Not enough water? Dry. Mineral oil? Dry. Petroleum? Dry. Protein your hair doesn’t like? Dry. Glycerin too high on the list? Dry. Aloe Vera Juice? Dry. These may not be culprits for everyone, but one can be for you. The same thing can happen when there isn’t enough of these ingredients too. Pinpoint the ingredient(s); solve the problem.

Another issue is this common misconception that you can use a rinse-out as a deep conditioner. Rinse-outs are just that and regardless to how long you leave it on, it will not help. They are made for that penetrating life, so please do not hype them to be something they are not.

Protein: There are two different ways protein affects you. The first is too much but this post is about dry hair so we will not talk about that. The second is not enough protein which is all about this post. Not enough protein can cause moisture overload which will in turn cause dry, stretchy hair. You’ll wonder why your hair is super dry when you’ve been overdosing it with moisture. Protein is not an enemy but should be treated like alcohol: use it in moderation, don’t mix, and know your limit. Don’t be that girl!

Weather: Living in New York ain’t easy. As I write this post it is 24 degrees outside. The best way to combat dry, cold weathers is to keep the hair covered with a hat or wig or properly coated with butters, cones or other emollients. You can wash 8 days a week, but if you aren’t protecting the hair 8 days a week, it’s just a waste of time, energy and hot water.

Dry heat versus Wet heat: I learned this a LONG time ago. Dry heat is when you use items like hooded dryer and heating caps and the like to heat the hair so the cuticles can open and conditioner can penetrate. That is exactly what it will do. Wet heat is when your steaming, whether you use a table top, LCL or your local gym. Your getting wet heat so your cuticles open, but water gets in as well. Dry heat will leave you with soft hair but wet heat will leave you with more moisturized hair. If you are using a heating cap and still have dry hair, invest in some wet heat. Even if you have to go to a friends house (and I’m that friend for some) or you have have to pay the salon, get some wet heat. For me, wet heat is seasonal. It could be the same for you.

Porosity: This is the most important assessment you can make for your hair. Low and High Porosity has the same battle; moisture. The only difference is how each type handles it. With HP hair, the cuticles are more lifted so the exchange of moisture is easy to get in and out. The cuticles have to be forced to be sealed. I watched my goddaughters hair get dry and frizzy within an hour after her mother did some box braids in her hair. I grabbed her DB Lemongrass Transitioning Creme and sealed with some Hairveda Almond Pomade and her pretty ends just said thank you the rest of the night. She’s my little HP natural. The LOC Method can be greatly benefited by HP heads.

Low Porosity, on the other hand, is the worse. You have to force feed it moisture, then play it by ear and hope you don’t catch a case of moisture overload. LP hair is very hard to read. Just know your porosity. It makes all the difference in your regimen and styling methods as well. The LOC Method (for me LCO) can help as well, just like baggying, but be careful about doing these too much.

Moisturizers: Creams, lotions, and butters are not created equally. For me, creams are usually a win. Lotions are usually not. Butters are a fail unless sealing. Determine your weakness, then leave it alone.

Heat Styling Tools : Heat tools can successfully be used, but you have to be careful.

Flat Irons– Be sure to not use irons over 300 degrees (250 honestly) if you are relaxed and not more than 350 (320 is still good) if you are texlaxed (and even that is too a degree) and 400 if you are natural (naturals can deal with higher heat due to less protein altering, but 400 is not to be played with and can still be too high). Weekly use is a no-no. Biweekly can be better. Use quality heat protectants and make sure they have protein and cones if you are using high heat. They will protect your hair while oils have the potential to possibly “cook your hair” or leave it greasy. If you use an oil, make sure it is high heat (like Argan, Grapeseed or Safflower) and not a penetrating oil. Last, use hot tools on fully dried hair so that if your heat protectant contains alcohol detain. it won’t dry out your hair. Fully dried hair will also results in less air pockets within the strands from trying to evaporate the hair with direct heat. Always deep condition before flat ironing and if frequent use is a must, use protein frequently.

Stretching the hair before ironing can reduce multiple heat passes which causes drying out due to trying to straighten the hair soo much.

Indirect Heat– This is the least damaging way you get straight hair without damage. Rollersetting is not for everyone, but if you like it, then continue to love it.

Blow Dryers– High velocity heat. That’s all it is. Try to air dry or soak as much water out of the hair before blow drying and use medium to low/no heat so that your not drying out the moisture in your hair as well as losing pieces of keratin at the same time. Always use a blow out cream. It doesn’t have to be a heat protectant (unless you are using heat). Not Your Mothers in the green bottle is my fave.

Dry Ends: Cutting infrequently is no bueno mami. Sometimes, the only cure for dry ends is to just cut them. I’m sorry, but I’ve done it, so you can too and this too shall pass. Split ends come from dry ends and once they hit splitsville, well, that’s it. My trick for combating dry ends is to dust 2x a month. It seems like a lot, but it’s really not. You don’t have to, but it reduces trims.

Moisturizing and sealing is good for hair and ends, just don’t do it toooo much. If your hair is too dry (maybe from a mishap) try bagging the ends or the entire head overnight with a conditioner cap.

Home Care: As soon as you get home and you know you are NOT going back out, undo your hair and throw a satin or silk scarf on it IMMEDIATELY!. It prevents you from getting lazy later when you are trying to catch a cat nap on the couch. Your hair will thank you later. Silk sheets and pillows help, but they are expensive.

Protective Style: Last one, I promise. Keep your hair off your clothes. Find a style, learn new styles, or rock the same styles. Either way, get the hair off the clothes. If you really want to rock cute or sleek styles, do it closest to the previous wash day as your hair is the freshest and most moisturized then.

What are your tips for combatting dry hair?

One Day, It Will Happen
Tasia B.

4 thoughts on “Combating Dry Hair

  1. Great tips. I have split ends due to unhealthy hair practices from before my hair journey. Despite the fact that I’m on a length retention challenge, I think I will chop off the damaged ends on my next relaxer touch up day. Wish me luck! 🙂

    • Good luck to you. It is better to get rid of them now so that you don’t have to cut off progress later. It will hurt now, but you will thank yourself later.

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