Dry hair is unfortunate for all hair types. But dry natural hair looks significantly worse on curls.
Not only does dry natural hair look and feel noticeably unhealthy, it can lead to breakage, increased shedding, limpness, and even a change in curl pattern if not properly addressed.
Factors such as health can impact why you have dry hair. These can be mitigated through diet and exercise.
But for the most part, many naturals experience dry natural hair because of more controllable reasons which can be classified as either improper product use or general lack of proper regimen.
Ready to find out how to get rid of your dry natural hair once and for all? Let's go!
1) You Have Product Build-Up
This is the most common reason for dry natural hair. Too much product on your hair creates a barrier between your hair and the moisture you are trying to put in.
One sign that you have product build-up is that your hair feels drier after you add your products. To the touch, your curls are greasy but rather than feeling soft, it feels dry and brittle.
If this sounds like your hair, clarify immediately! Use a moisturizing shampoo such as the Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Shampoo to get rid of the dirt without totally stripping your hair.
2) You Need A Trim
Dry ends will totally mess up with your hair routine: the dry, split ends travel up your hair shaft, causing an upward increase in dryness.
When your ends are dry, you’ll notice it’s increasingly difficult to detangle your hair, even in the shower.
Make sure you set an appropriate trimming routine for your natural hair. It is recommended every 6-8 weeks, however if you are looking to retain length, you can go longer (just as long as you are monitoring the health of your ends).
Doing an “invisible trim” every few months, where you cut off half an inch periodically, will save you the headache of dealing with dry ends and the potential of a necessary big chop.
Remember: health over length!
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3) Your Products Aren't Penetrating Into Your Hair Strands
Deep conditioning is a non-negotiable in your curly hair routine. If you are not deep conditioning, and you have curly hair, start. Like, yesterday.
Moisturizing and sealing all that hydration is also a key part in your routine. Think leave-in conditioners, protective styles, oils, etc.
But what's the point of doing all of this if your hair isn't absorbing any of it?
In order to solve your dry natural hair woes, you need to know about a key natural hair trait: porosity.
Natural hair Porosity
Natural hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb water and/products.
Low porosity natural hair has a low absorption rate, because the cuticles are stubbornly closed. It is difficult for this hair porosity to absorb moisture.
High porosity natural hair has a high absorption rate, because the cuticles are always open. It is difficult for this hair porosity to retain moisture.
Knowing your hair porosity is critical when trying to address dry natural hair. Make sure you read up on your hair porosity to know how to apply products and which products to stay away from!
4) You Don't Pre Poo
We established earlier that all naturals must shampoo their hair.
But remember: natural hair is sensitive. When we use shampoo, you are not only washing the dirt out of your hair, but with it goes all of your natural oils (called sebum) that is designed to keep your hair moisturized.
The answer: pre-poo! Pre-pooing is the process of adding a moisturizer or oil prior to your shampoo/wash process. This will act as a barrier to protect your hair from the harsh, stripping suds of the shampoo.
Some of the best oils for natural hair are perfect pre-poos. As a general rule of thumb, avoid mineral oil/petroleum-based oils, as these provide a temporary moisture barrier and provide no real benefit to the hair shaft.
Stick with plant-based, simple oils such as olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil (coconut oil is wonderful for high porosity natural hair).
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5) Your Products Suck
With so many natural hair products on the market today, it's hard to know which product will work for you.
In addition to knowing your porosity, you should also know how to read ingredient labels.
Brands are in the business of making money. But naturals are in the business of growing long, natural hair. And sadly, some brands put their business goals over our needs.
Familiarize yourself with the worst ingredients for natural hair. As a general rule of thumb, if you can't pronounce 50% of the ingredients (i.e. too many complex chemicals), the product may not be hydrating enough for your curls.
The Bottom Line
Natural hair is inherently dry, so don't feel bad for having dry natural hair. It's common amongst us naturals!
But if you incorporate the above steps into your routine, you will notice more moisture and bounce in your coils.
How do you combat dry natural hair? Share your tips down below!