Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Put Moisture BACK Into Coily Hair

Putting Moisture Back into Coily Hair: MY STORY

No one knows the battle of the moisture better than those of us with curly hair. I have a few friends with completely straight hair that struggle with TOO much moisture. I've seen one friend wash her hair with shampoo on Friday (AND blow dry)--but by Saturday, her hair was plastered to her head with oil (sebum)! And this is a struggle for her because it caused a destructive cycle (washing to remove the oils causes thinning/lightweight hair--and the repeated washing to remove, causes the hair to overproduce the oils). Over the years, that cycle of wash, wash, wash to remove excess oils has cost her to lose a lot of her long, full head of hair.

We, my dear friends, have the exact opposite issue--but looking at the alternative, this is not such a bad situation once we are in control. After blow drying my hair and flat ironing it into straight haired submission, and keeping it straight for almost 2 weeks, there was a price to pay.

Because I love to wear wash n go's, and I know what my hair is capable of (frizz free, defined coils, hang-time, shine/sheen), I was in for a terrible surprise when I went to return my hair from straight to coily.

My hair offered plenty of frizz, halfway definition, puffy disposition, and my wash n go was not ready to be worn out (in my opinion).


The first thing I do before even stepping into the shower is to look at my hair. Are my coils dull looking? Are the coils defined? How does my hair feel? The answer to these questions help me to decide what to do next. I don't follow a "regimen" per-se. I just do what my hair calls for at the time. That's why it's so important to get to know the characteristics and natural properties of the hair. Everyone's hair is so uniquely different.

I had to be patient, because I knew it would take at least a week to properly restore my hair's moisture levels to where it was before I put heat on it (lots of heat). I reminded myself that not only did I put heat on it, but I blocked moisture from it for nearly 2 weeks! Moisture which it so desperately needs on a regular.

I began by washing (clarifying) my hair. This was not a welcomed step-because normally shampoo is the last thing I would reach for in order to help with moisture. However, I knew that the products I put on my hair in order to straighten it (Chi Irongaurd Heat protectant) was full of synthetic ingredients that may have been flat ironed and coated onto my strands. I had to wash that off with a harsh shampoo (one with sulfates).

After washing, I did my favorite deep conditioning treatment (mayo, honey, olive oil, avocado), and did a steam treatment with the deep conditioner on my hair. This really infused moisture and oils into my strands for a long lasting effect. The battle to restore had only begun. This step got my coils popping and put plenty of sheen, but after it's effects wore off, I still had coils that were not their usual selves.

During the week, after my daily 5 mile walk, I only co-washed my hair. No more shampoo would be used. If I found that I still had product blocking my moisture, I decided that I would use a natural solution (apple cider vinegar and water). Sometimes it takes a few washes to completely remove synthetics from the hair strands. Coily hair is so sensitive to build-up.

Every weekend I did a deep conditioning treatment. After this particular flat iron session, I could not afford to miss a deep conditioning. The first weekend after the flat iron, the deep conditioning treatment used was the mayo/olive oil/honey/avocado mix. The next weekend was Giovanni 50/50 Moisture Conditioner with some oils added. I left that on for an hour and kept a plastic cap on for heat. By the third weekend following my flat iron session, I used Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner. I put a plastic cap on and tied it down with a scarf. I left this on overnight. Great results!

The styling that I selected for during the week was the wash n go. This allowed me to coat my hair with conditioner (I also use eco styler gel on top of the conditioner). I didn't want to do braidouts yet, since I felt that I still wasn't completely back to normal with my moisture. Doing the wash n go's worked great with my workout schedule. I could just rinse out the conditioner/eco gel and start all over. By the end of the third week, my hair was soft, shiny, coils popping, and easily detangled. Now we were back in business. My final treat for the week was to rinse out products from my wash n go, and do a beer rinse. Excellent results!

My plan from here on is to avoid heat, deep condition 1x week, co-wash, seal with oils. If I need to cleanse, I'll use Amla paste. My styling now is open to braidouts, twist outs, or any other "open" styling that I choose.

At this point, I'm able to see that all of my coils are restored, no loose or damaged strands. Sometimes it's not heat damage. There are so many other reasons why the coils could look loopy, loose, dull, hard to style, dry, hard to the touch, or show any other frustrating effects. Having the correct moisture level is the foundation for coily haired styling. Protein is also an important factor, that will be covered in another post. I must say that during my natural hair journey, protein has not been something that I've had to deal with. Possibly because the products that I use serve as a light protein treatment.

It just takes some time and a little "TLC" tender loving care to wake back up the coils that we love ever so much! Once the coils are taken care of, they will pretty much comply with any styling request of your choice!


  1. I just flat-ironed my daughter's transitioning hair for Christmas (her request) and as I'm thinking about it I'm gonna use the apple cider vinegar on her hair when I wash it in a few days. She wanted it straight for Thanksgiving too so I flat-ironed it then so I told her that after Christmas is over no more flat-ironing for a while. I'll probably follow the same principles/concepts you present here to keep/restore moisture to her hair. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hope you got lots of pictures! I know it came out beautiful. Thanks for the message Love.

  2. Just had a light-bulb moment after reading this great post. I flat ironed my 9 year old daughters hair about 5 months ago and since then noticed that her hair seems very dull. Because she is sooo tenderheaded, it is always such a challenge to even get her to wash without complaining (LOL). I believe that omitting the deep conditioning step may be the culprit. Thanks for sharing as always.

  3. I enjoyed reading your article. I don't have the problem with moisture after having my hair flat ironed because I don't switch to synthetic products to keep it straight. I use the Nubian Heritage Black Seed & Honey Heat Protectant line of products through out my heat styling processes.

    1. I used to use avocado oil when I went to flat iron. It's supposed to be a heat protectant. It worked well. I ran out of it, so I used what I had in my stash (unfortunately a synthetic product). I realize the difference. Before, when using the avocado oil to flat iron, I didn't have this much of a problem getting my coils moisturized again. I just bought the Black seed honey heat protectant (buy 1 get one LOL). I'm glad for your message, will try this on my next heat session.