When it comes to moisture, water is king and queen, but there are other ingredients that will boost the moisture level of your hair and thus boost its health. Though water is essential for providing moisture, there are other ingredients needed to help hair retain that moisture, especially when hair is damaged by manipulation or exposure to stressors such as heat and hair color. Hair often needs to be restored, nourished, protected as well as moisturized and this is where the non-water moisturizing powerhouses come in.
Here are some ingredients to look for in your moisturizers to help keep your hair moisturized. Among them are emollients, humectants, and occlusive, all of which play important roles in helping hair stay hydrated. They help hold moisture in, preventing it from escaping the hair strand for long-lasting moisture.
Aloe vera juice or gel, which is well known for its excellent moisturizing properties and contains enzymes that help to keep both the hair and scalp moisturized. Aloe vera is also known to help hair grow and enhances the natural sheen of the hair. Applying aloe vera to the hair and scalp conditions the hair, combats dryness, and helps improve damaged hair.
Honey may be a sticky mess but it is also a fantastic natural humectant. Honey provides intense moisture and is very nourishing to the hair. Honey is also an emollient and therefore smooths the hair shaft reducing frizz and boosting shine. Honey softens the hair and as a result, makes it more manageable.
Glycerin is a well-known humectant that attracts water which means it’s great for locking in moisture. It attracts and retains moisture, working best in moderately humid conditions. Using glycerin in very humid conditions will cause the hair shaft to swell from too much water which is damaging to the hair. In low humidity conditions, glycerin will pull water from within the hair strand and into the atmosphere.
Coconut oil is probably one of the most well-known penetrative oils. Unlike most natural oils that coat the hair strand and sits on top of your hair, coconut oil is able to go inside the hair strand. Studies have shown that coconut oil reduces protein loss, so that hair is made stronger from the inside out. Coconut oil is an effective sealant for the hair, helping it to lock moisture into the hair strand.
Avocado oil is a good oil for softening the hair and increasing its shine. If you find that coconut oil does not agree with your hair then avocado oil is a worthy alternative. Avocado oil helps to strengthen the hair. It is lightweight and helps to lock moisture into the hair without adding weight to the hair strand.
Olive oil is very similar to the natural oils of the hair and scalp and is hailed as a hair healing ingredient. It helps to replenish the oils that are lacking in damaged, dry hair. Olive oil adds strength and softness by penetrating the hair shaft and helping to lock in moisture.
Shea butter is a great source of essential fatty acids and has healing properties that are beneficial for the hair and scalp. The fatty acids contained in shea butter help lock moisture into the hair strand and are very efficient at preventing moisture loss from the hair strand. She butter is also believed to be beneficial in combating breakage.
Ensuring your hair is properly hydrated requires adding moisture and locking that moisture in. Water and other moisture sources need to be paired with an effective sealant in order to provide the full benefit to the hair, so while oil by itself is not hydrating, it allows the hydrator to hydrate the hair by locking it in place. A proper moisturizing/hydrating routine requires both types of ingredients. A clear case of “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.