Time after time I get questions about hair dryness and readers sharing techniques they have tried in order to up moisture retention and prevent dry and brittle hair. Truth is, there are so many dry hair culprits, some we can’t always avoid e.g. weather, genetics etc, but have you ever considered the fact that dryness can also be self-inflicted? Here’s my two pence on eight reasons as to why your hair always seem to be dry…
1 – USING OILS/BUTTERS AS MOISTURISERS
Whilst oils & butters are indeed moisturising, their main function is to act as an emollient or occlusive. Emollients are known to help soften the hair/skin and encourage slip, whilst occlusives help to prevent moisture loss by creating a thin film over the skin/hair to help create a barrier against water loss. What oil and butters cannot do however is hydrate, and this is what dry hair needs, hydration. Products such as leave-in conditioners, milks and moisturisers, which state water as their primary ingredient, are better suited to help relieve dryness by feeding the hair with the number one source of moisture… Water!
2 – SKIPPING ON YOUR DEEP CONDITIONING
I know how easy it is to skip a deep conditioning session, lets face it washday can be a drag! But this step truly is important and should be done at the very least once a month. Deep conditioners work their magic by either adsorbing* or penetrating the strands of our hair, with nutrients that will keep our hair moisturised and in great shape in between wash days. There are a whole load of moisturising deep conditioners that will set your hair up for a good week or two, and some only need a few minutes to work their magic [upcoming post on this soon!].
*Adsorption – (often confused with absorption/penetration) is the process of molecules accumulating on the surface of your hair to soften, moisturise and condition hair strands)
3 – MOISTURISE BUT NO ‘SEAL’?
Especially here in the UK, where it’s pretty much winter all year round, indoor heating is almost always crunked up. This means any moisture applied to your hair will quickly evaporate if not locked in by some type of sealant, i.e an oil or butter. If after sealing you still find your hair to be on the dry side, you can use a super light leave-in spray to refresh your hair mid day. I also have a post on the LOC method; maximum moisture retention method – which has worked a treat in keeping my hair moisturised for longer periods of time.
4 – WATER INTAKE, DIET & NUTRITION
I’m sure you’ve heard this before but in all of its ‘clichéness’, it’s 100% true. Low water intake can affect your hair. The more hydrated you are internally, the more hydrated your external features will be. Before I learned to psych myself up about drinking 1l – 2l of water a day, I had to jump on a few phone apps to keep me on top of things i.e. [waterlogged & daily water free]. Now it’s second nature [*sips on some H2O!]
5 – PRODUCT BUILD UP
Probably the biggest culprit of all, our dear friend build up. Product buildup can occur right from the minute we have washed our hair and begin to apply a leave-in, moisturiser, oil etc. Now I’m not suggesting that you don’t layer on your products via methods such as the LOC/LCO method to encourage effective moisture retention, but be careful not to over do it. Oils and butters in particular do a great job of sealing in our moisture, but can also make it just as difficult for moisturisers to be re-absorbed.
6 – INVESTING IN QUALITY PRODUCTS
It’s super important to invest in products that actually do what they say they do, and do it pretty darn well! If a half decent moisturiser is used then your hair will do a half decent job at retaining moisture. It’s also worth looking into techniques such as the LOC method and baggying which help to keep your hair moisturised for longer.
7 – WHAT ABOUT YOUR ENDS?
With so much focus in the hairsphere on hair growth it can be quite easy to focus on your scalp and neglect your ends. The ends of our hair are the oldest and the most prone to dryness. If it helps, try to moisture your hair from the bottom up to ensure your ends are getting enough TLC.
8 – DOUBLING UP , STYLERS AS MOISTURISERS
The primary purpose of a styling product is not to moisturise your hair but to prepare it for a style which either defines your hair or provides some sort of hold. This type of product may contain less moisturising ingredients and whilst it may make your hair look and feel great, it may also be one of the reasons why your hair is not as moisturised as it should be. Why not moisturise your hair before applying your styling product, it could just be the moisture fix you need.