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Regimen Building: Adding Moisture

Why Add Moisture?

Our hair behaves and looks best when it is well moisturized.  Our scalp naturally secretes oils to keep the hair moisturized, but daily styling, contact with fabrics, the weather outside, chemical treatments, heat tools and shampoos all deplete the moisture content in our hair.  Because of that we have to incorporate moisture into our hair regimen.

How to Find

Moisturizing hair products come in three main varieties: (1) Instant Conditioners, (2) Deep Conditioners, and (3) Leave-in Treatments/Hair Moisturizers.  There are also miscellaneous products like “nourishing” Hot Oil Treatments that are not actually moisturizing, but what they do to the hair aides in maintaining/improving our hair’s moisture content.  When looking to identify moisturizing hair products, it will likely say that it is moisturizing but if not, look out for these popular moisturizing ingredients:

  • Water
  • Humectants
    • Pantenol
    • Glycerin
    • Aloe Vera
    • Honey
  • Butters
    • Shea Butter
    • Avocado Butter
  • “Nourishing” Oils that penetrate the hair shaft
    • Olive Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Jojoba Oil
    • Avocado Oil (Thanks, Crowning Glory!)

Before You Shampoo….

you can do a Pre-Shampoo Treatments (aka pre-poo).  Saturating your hair with moisture before you shampoo adds a layer of “protection” from the cleansing ingredients (sulfates and EDTA) in your shampoo.  The theory is that the shampoo will be working hard to remove the newly added moisture and it won’t be able to strip our hair of all of its moisture that is stored deep within the hair shaft.  Essentially, it prevents the striped or “too clean” feeling that we can get from using certain types of shampoos (clarifying and sulfate containing shampoos).  The most popular are Hot Oil Treatments, Deep Conditioning Treatments and Instant Conditioner (sometimes mixed with oils).

After You Shampoo…

the cleansing ingredients have removed the moisture and “dirt” from your hair.  Now that you are left with a clean palette, this would be the best time to incorporate moisture.  Deep Conditioning Treatments, Instant Conditioners, and/or Leave-in Treatments are best suited for this task.  Depending upon what you feel your hair needs you can use one, two or all three.

In Between Wash/Shampoo Days…

you may feel that your hair is drying out.  To address that you can add moisture without having to shampoo by conditioner washing (co-washing) or using a hair moisturizer.  To conditioner wash (co-wash) is to saturate your hair with a conditioner (instant or deep) and rinse without using a shampoo.  Hair Moisturizers (you can also use a leave-in treatment for this) are products that you add to your hair without adding water.  You simply apply as needed between your wash days.  For some that’s daily for others it’s not at all.

How I Add Moisture

In the warmer months, I deep condition and use a leave-in treatment on wash/shampoo days (once a week).  In the colder months when the air is dryer (December to February here in North Carolina), I pre-poo with a hot oil, deep condition, use a leave-in treatment and I may use a hair moisturizer mid week, if my hair feels dry.

Currently In My Hair Stash


Moisturizing Deep Conditioners

GVP Conditioning Balm (Matrix Biolage)
GVP Moisturizing Conditioner (Nexxus Humectress)
Darcey’s Botanical Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Moisturizing Instant Conditioners


Moisturizing Leave-in Treatments/Hair Moisturizers

GVP Conditioner (Paul Mitchell) Leave-in Treatment
Elasta QP Moisture Recovery Oil Moisturizer
Hawaiian Silky 14n1 Miracle Worker Moisturizer
Darcey’s Botanicals Lemongrass Transitioning Creme

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12 thoughts on “Regimen Building: Adding Moisture

  1. Nice post Kim very informative and detailed. We have the same hairstyle! Been rocking these braids weekly for 3 weeks now I redo them each week. Avocado oil is also a nourishing oil.

  2. Yes, I'm trying to keep up with this protective styling challenge. Mine are twists, but same idea. I only did them for one week, but I do plan on revisiting them soon. Thanks, Crowning Glory. I will add the Avocado Oil to the list. 🙂

  3. Very detailed. I really like your post so informative. It took me such a long time to find out what really works for my hair. I like to change my hair a lot, but I realized that the protective styles work the best. Can't wait until you next post!!!!!

  4. Great post! I've been following your blog for a while and I've been trying to figure out who you remind me of and it just hit me. Monica Calhoun from Playa's Club…you guys are twins, both pretty ladies! Take care!

  5. Thanks, Latoya! I've never been told that I look like her but after checking out some of her pictures I can see the resemblance. Definitely a better fit than who people in the past have told me I look like (Robin Givens). That one I don't see at all, lol.

  6. Kim

    When my hair is roller-set and styled, I fear to apply a water based hair moisturizer to it. I feel like my hair will become wet, limp and loose the curls & style. As a result I use an oil to "moisturize" my hair.
    How do you incorporate a water based moisturizer into your hair without getting these results?

  7. Hey Rosina,

    I use my moisturizers on an as needed basis. So I don't moisturize my hair in the days after my rollersets unless it feels dry. If that's the case then I don't mind sacrificing the rollerset and wearing my hair in a bun until my next wash day. I hope that helps you!

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