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Moisturizing and Sealing Natural Hair

Moisturizing and sealing natural hair is one area that new naturals often find difficulty in, when they’re initially learning how to care for natural hair. Moisturizing and sealing are two basic steps that can be done in a matter of minutes.

The first thing that you need to know is what should be used to accomplish both parts of the process. Moisturizing should be done with water alone, or water followed by a water based leave in conditioner. Sealing is done with natural oils, to prevent moisture from leaving the hair. Natural oils are not moisturizers because most natural oils will not penetrate the hair shaft.

Below are the steps I take to seal and moisturize my hair:

Step 1Find A Water Based Leave In Conditioner
You want to be sure to stay away from products that contain petroleum, mineral oil, lanolin oil, and alcohol because these ingredients are notorious for blocking moisture from entering the hair strand which causes hair to eventually break. Look for natural ingredients like glycerin and natural oils, with water being one of the first three ingredients listed. I make my own leave in.

Here’s the recipe:

Aloe Vera Juice
Rosemary Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Jojoba Oil
Vegetable Glycerin (optional)
Distilled Water
Spray bottle

Fill up 50% of the bottle with aloe vera juice, leaving space to add the essential oils, jojoba, glycerin, and water. Next add 10 drops of rosemary and lemongrass essential oil and three to five drops of jojoba oil. Add a small amount of vegetable glycerin ( 1-2 cap full). Lastly fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water and shake up

Aloe Vera moisturizes the hair and keeps it soft. It is packed with vitamin B12, vitamin C, amino acids, minerals, and salicylic acid. It has been used for general hair health, hair growth, and also as a hair shampoo and conditioner.

Rosemary Essential Oil stimulates hair follicles, therefore increasing hair strength, hair growth, and for dry and flaky scalps. It has also been used as a remedy for mental fatigue.

Lemongrass Essential Oil stimulates hair follicles and also adds a refreshing citrus fragrance to the leave-in conditioner. It has anti-bacterial properties and is calming and soothing to the body.

Jojoba Oil is the closest oil to skin’s sebum. Therefore, is extremely healing and moisturizing for the hair. It is a non-greasy oil absorbing immediately into the hair. This will help with hair frizz and dryness.

Vegetable Glycerin is known for being a humectant. It is an amazing ingredient to add when air drying hair. It is amazing for curly hair and really dry hair. It should be used very sparingly so that it doesn’t create a sticky film.

Some commercial Leave in conditioners that are worth a try are:
Kinky Curly Knot Today and  Giovanni Direct Leave In

Step 2Choose A Natural Oil
Natural, unrefined, and virgin oils work best. Extra virgin olive oil and unrefined coconut oil not only seal moisture into the hair but it improves the health of hair as well. Jojoba oil is a good sealant for people who are acne prone since it’s lighter and less likely to clog pores. ( I use a mix of coconut oil, Amla oil, grapeseed oil, and castor oil)

Step 3Moisturize Hair
Starting with wet hair, Split hair into 4 sections. take a quarter amount of leave in , spread it between your hands, and distribute throughout your hair ensuring that you saturate all the strands. Use more for longer and thicker hair and less for shorter and thinner. Be sure to pay extra attention to the ends of your hair since they are prone to drying and breaking.

Step 4Seal In Moisture With Your Oil * optimal on (co)wash day(s)*working from the same 4 sections. Spread a dime size amount of oil in between hands and distribute to each section. Avoid applying more than a dime size amount of oil to each section or hair may become too oily.

Continue the steps until all sections are completed.

Step 5

Style as normal. When I’m not in a protective style, my styling choices are twist outs, braid outs, and buns.

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Essential Oils & Carrier Oils – Nappy Hair Care

Essential Oils & Carrier Oils

This is a guide to essential oils & carrier oils for nappy, napptural, or natural hair of African descent. Your hair can benefit from two types of oils. These two types of oils are essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils are fragrant oils that are actually the concentrated essence, or ‘life force’ of a plant. Essential oils are light and do not feel like an oil. They evaporate quickly. You would mix essential oils with a carrier oil before you put it on your hair to prevent skin irritation. Carrier oils are oily in consistency. They can be oil from a vegetable, a fruit, a nut, or even a seed.

Essential Oils for Nappy Hair

All essential oils are not created equal. Look for the highest grade you can find. Only buy Complete Essential Oils or Genuine Grade A Essential Oils. These are oils that contain the most natural oil and the least amount of additives and chemicals. Some essential oils for the hair are:

Basil which stimulates the scalp.
Cedarwood which is an astringent, antiseptic, balances production of sebum, and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Chamomile which adds sheen and conditions the hair.
Eucalyptus which removes dandruff and has antiseptic properties.
Frankincense which is used to get rid of dry scalp.
Jasmine which is often used for fragrance.
Lavender which is used for dandruff and fragrance.
Lemon which cleanses the hair and scalp and improves hair elasticity.
Myrrh which is used for dry hair and scalp.
Orange Oil which helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Palmarosa which helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Patchouli which treats dandruff and oily hair.
Peppermint which stimulates the scalp.
Rose Oil which is used as fragrance and to sooth the scalp.
Rosemary Oil (DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!) which stimulates the scalp and treats dandruff.
Sandalwood Oil which is an astringent, an anti-inflammatory, as well as an antiseptic. Use sandalwood oil to soothe a dry and irritated scalp.
Tea Tree Oil which is used to treat dandruff and kill lice. Tea tree oil balances production of sebum and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.
Ylang-Ylang which balances production of sebum, stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Carrier Oils for Nappy Hair

You can use carrier oils with essential oils or by themselves. A popular, readily available, and inexpensive carrier oil is extra virgin olive oil. Other carrier oils for the hair are:

Almond Oil which is a light, non greasy, fast absorbing hair conditioner.
Apricot Kernel Oil which is used for dry hair. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Avocado Oil which is a light, protein and vitamin rich. It include vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and potassium.
Castor Oil which is a humectant. Humectants attract moisture into your hair.
Grapeseed Oil which is odorless and vitamin rich. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Hazelnut Oil which is fast absorbing and medium weight. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Jojoba Oil which is simular to sebum, which is your hair’s natural oil. It can be used with or without an essential oil. It is often used 50/50 with another carrier oil to massage the scalp.

Additional Popular Carrier Oils

Aloe Vera Oil
Calendula Oil
Carrot Oil
Coconut Oil
Emu Oil
Neem Oil
Papaya Oil
Rosehip Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Walnut Oil
Wheatgerm Oil
Mixing Essential and Carrier Oils

When you mix your essential and carrier oils, as a general rule, use a one (1) drop essential oil per four (4) tablespoons of carrier oil.

Using Essential and Carrier Oils Mixtures

Mix only the amount you are planning to use. This is because essential oils do not have a very long shelf life. Adding a couple of drops of wheatgerm oil to the mixture will extend the shelf life. As an added benefit, wheatgerm oil also has healing properties.

There are Four (4) Grades of Essential Oils:

Pure Essential Oils: This means that the oil was not diluted with a lesser quality essential oil. Be aware, however, that it could be 80% vegetable oil & 20% essential oil and still be labeled ‘100% Pure.’

Natural Essential Oils: This means that the oil was not altered with vegetable oils, SD Alcohol 40, propylene glycol, or other chemicals.

Complete Essential Oils: This means that the oil was distilled at low heat and low pressure in order to preserve its therapeutic properties. This means that the oil has not been rectified or purified (which means stripped or redistilled). Rectifying and purifying is like reusing a tea bag. It makes more tea, but the quality and potency suffers. This process decreases the essential oil’s therapeutic properties.

Genuine, Authentic, or Grade A Essential Oils: These are the best of the best. Great care is taken at every step of the process. Chemicals are never used on the plants. Great care is taking in choosing each plant, time spent in the distillation process, harvesting process, gas chromatograph readings, etc. A gas chromatograph is a chemical analysis instrument used to separate chemicals.

Essential oil is also known as volatile oil and ethereal oil. They may also be referred to as “oil of” the raw plant material from which it was extracted. For example, Oil of Clove.

Do realize that fragrance oils and perfumes are not the same as essential oils.

A Word about Hair Grease, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, and Petroleum

Approximately 99.9% of Black hair care products use mineral oil, petrolatum, or petroleum as its main ingredient because they are cheap to produce. Mineral oil comes from petroleum or crude oil. Yes, same as the motor oil under your hood. Yes, the same as ‘grease’. Yes, the same as Vaseline. Yes, the same products your family has used for generations.

Grease does NOT moisturize your hair. It actually coats your hair, like plastic wrap, which prevents moisture from getting in. Grease basically causes your hair to die of thirst!