Last updated on May 27th, 2023 at 04:47 pm
There seems to be confusion amongst some as it pertains to wetting natural hair. Many ask the question, “Should I wet my natural hair everyday?”
Here at Fine Natural Hair and Faith, I answer a lot of common questions that new naturals have, especially those with fine natural hair.
I’ve been natural for over 20 years and have learned quite a bit. It’s my goal to share those learnings.
So, today we’re talking about how often you should wet your natural hair. Every day? Every few days? Once a week?
The answer to this question isn’t as cut and dry as it may seem. That’s because how often you need to wet your hair will be quite different from person to person.
- HAIR TYPE IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR
- WHEN TO WET YOUR NATURAL HAIR EVER DAY
- THE ONLY SOURCE OF MOISTURE
- MOISTURIZING NATURAL HAIR
- WAYS TO MOISTURIZE NATURAL HAIR
- WAYS TO RETAIN MOISTURE
- BALANCING IT ALL OUT
HAIR TYPE IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR
When you hear the term “hair type” throughout this article, it’s not referring to your curl pattern. It doesn’t matter if you have 4 C hair or curly hair of a looser texture.
The type of hair, as you’ve probably identified with doesn’t matter.
The hair type I’m talking about is porosity. This is what matters.
What is your hair’s porosity? That is the SINGLE determining factor for how often you will need to wet your hair strands. Porosity.
How to Figure Out Your Hair’s Porosity
To figure out your hair’s porosity, you can skip all of those inaccurate recommendations to put a few pieces of your hair in a cup of water to see if they float or sink.
The reason this kind of “test” is inaccurate is two fold:
- You can have more than one porosity type on your head.
- It’s not possible to determine your dominant porosity type with a few strands of hair.
Instead, you can much easier determine your overall head of hair’s porosity by observing how it reacts to water.
Low Porosity hair – the cuticle layer is very tight and it’s difficult for moisture to get into the hair but moisture retention is excellent.
Medium Porosity hair – the hair shaft has a cuticle layer that’s just right. It’s not too tight or too loose. Moisture easily enters but doesn’t easily escape. I doubt there are many on earth with this porosity type.
High Porosity hair – the hair cuticles are loose and while moisture is easily imparted to the hair, it just as easily escapes the hair.
For, the average person with low porosity hair, wetting it every day isn’t necessary. For one, moisture will actually not enter the hair shaft. It will only sit on the surface.
If you have high porosity hair, you’ll find that wetting your natural hair every day may be more necessary.
WHEN TO WET YOUR NATURAL HAIR EVER DAY
There are a few times that wetting your natural hair every day can be beneficial. These are regardless of or in spite of your hair’s porosity.
Here they are:
– to rinse away gel or other product buildup from your edges
– to aid with manipulating your hair into a style
– when exercising daily to rinse away dirt and oils
Notice these reasons are not about moisturizing your hair which is the true reason naturals are asking, “Should I wet my natural hair everyday?”
THE ONLY SOURCE OF MOISTURE
Before we continue, let’s establish this one important fact.
Water is THE source of moisture. Even if you use moisturizing hair products, you’ll notice that the first ingredient is water, followed by an oil.
If your hair moisturizer has anything other than water as the very first ingredient, it’s not an adequate moisturizer for dry hair.
Water is what will penetrate the hair shaft. Once water or a water-based moisturizer has been applied to the hair, to slow down it’s evaporation you can use a number of other substances on top:
– Shea butter
– Mango butter
– Natural oils like olive oil, jojoba oil or castor oil for really thick hair
MOISTURIZING NATURAL HAIR
More important than deciding if you should wet your natural hair every day is keeping your natural hair moisturized.
There’s ways to impart moisture and ways to protect your hair from losing moisture (moisture retention).
Ways to impart moisture to natural hair
- Doing a pre-poo
- Deep conditioning
- Always using a leave-in conditioner
- Doing the baggy method
- Doing the greenhouse effect
- Having a consistent wash day
- Wash with warm water vs. hot water
- Moisturizing based on your hair’s porosity level
- Trying the max hydration method
- Using a co-wash product instead of shampoo
- Trying an overnight hair mask infused with oils
- Adding Aloe Vera to your hair products
- Using your hair’s natural sebum
Ways to retain your natural hair’s moisture levels
- Doing protective styles
- Not neglecting hair that’s in a protective style
- Avoid added hair when protective styling
- Avoid dry shampoo
- Ditching or only using sulfate-free shampoos sparingly
- Using cool water as a final rinse
- Trying an apple cider vinegar rinse
- Avoiding hot tools like flat irons
- Investing in the best blow dryer for black hair care
- Avoiding always having wet hair – this includes too frequent washing
- Sleeping on a satin pillowcase or use a satin bonnet
- Always sealing moisture into the hair
- Using the LCO sealing method
- Trying the LOC sealing method if the LCO method doesn’t work for you
- Double sealing your ends
- Limiting how much you touch your hair
- Giving yourself a hot oil treatment
- Protecting the ends of your hair from drying out when commuting
- Buffering your hair during extreme weather conditions
Notice there’s more than can be done to protect your hair’s moisture levels than to add moisture to it. That’s because it’s much easier to moisturize than it is to retain that moisture.
Let’s break down each of these moisture tips.
WAYS TO MOISTURIZE NATURAL HAIR
Doing a pre-poo before shampooing your hair will infuse your hair with moisture and protect it from moisture loss – especially when using coconut oil which can penetrate the hair shaft.
It’s no secret that deep conditioning your hair after every wash not only moisturizes your hair, it hydrates it.
The deep conditioner is second to your pre-poo for adding lots of moisture to your hair.
ALWAYS USING A LEAVE-IN
The leave in conditioner is right up there with the pre-poo and deep conditioner. Each of these hair products work synergistically to provide your hair all the moisture it needs on wash day.
THE BAGGY METHOD
A method for increasing the moisture in your hair by simply applying a moisturizer to dry hair (typically just the ends after hair has been put in a ponytail) and then wrap with plastic or Saran Wrap.
THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
This method is similar to the baggy method. Yet, it encompasses treating all of the hair whereas the baggy method is typically the ends.
The Greenhouse effect method requires wearing a shower cap over dry hair. Then tie a scarf over the cap.
It’s optional to apply an oil throughout. Then, leave on for an hour to over night. The body heat and steam that is generated creates a greenhouse environment with lots of moisture.
While moisture will rapidly be produced in the hair (down into the hair follicles), you want to limit how often you do this. There’s a such thing as too much of a good thing.Too much moisture can throw protein levels off.
Reserve this moisturizing method for if you find your natural hair being extremely dry.
HAVING A CONSISTENT WASH DAY
When you consistently wash your hair based on your hair’s personal needs, you will discover with consistency how much moisture your hair needs. Then, you’ll effectively give it that.
WASHING WITH WARM WATER
When you wash your hair with warm water versus hot water, you prevent your hair from drying out and the stripping of your hair’s natural oils.
MOISTURIZE BASED ON POROSITY
When you know your hair’s porosity, you can moisturize it using the best method for your type. The way someone with low porosity hair moisturizes and maintains moisture will be different from how someone with high porosity hair does so.
THE MAX HYDRATION METHOD
This is a very detailed method of getting moisture into natural hair. Those with type 4 natural hair have reported significant results.
Here’s a great post I found on this method: The Max Hydration Method: Complete Guide for Curly Hair
USE A CO-WASH PRODUCT
Swapping out using your shampoo for a co-wash product (not a conditioner) at least once a month will give your hair an added dose of moisture.
Co-wash products are formulated to add moisture to your hair while being gentle cleansers.
TRY AN OVERNIGHT HAIR MASK INFUSED WITH OILS
From the DIY hair mask to a commercial brand, using a hair mask that’s been infused with natural oils, is the perfect way to add and bolster your hair’s moisture levels.
ADD ALOE VERA TO YOUR HAIR PRODUCTS
Aloe Vera is deeply moisturizing. You can add it to your hair products to boost their moisture capacity.
Fresh Aloe Vera, Aloe Vera oil, Aloe Vera juice, Aloe Vera butter and Aloe Vera powder can be used to help increase the moisture in your products.
You can use fresh Aloe Vera to pre-poo with. You can add Aloe Vera oil or juice to hair masks and conditioners or use it to seal moisture. Aloe Vera butter is one of the great sealants as well.
Aloe Vera powder can be added to your DIY herbal hair treatments like Henna.
USE YOUR HAIR’S NATURAL SEBUM
Hair’s natural sebum is very moisturizing…naturally.
One thing about those of us with natural hair, our sebum has difficulty traveling down the hair shaft. This is due to its curly structure.
There are those who water wash their hair only. They scratch the sebum in their scalp and then use their fingers to distribute it down to the ends of the hair, effectively lubricating and naturally moisturizing it.
This method of using your natural sebum will help to moisturize your natural hair.
WAYS TO RETAIN MOISTURE
Depending on what protect style you do, you’ll protect your hair’s moisture. Twists and braids cocoon the hair effectively keeping moisture locked in for longer.
NOT NEGLECTING YOUR PROTECTED HAIR
It’s not all set it and forget it. To retain moisture when your hair is in a protective style, you have to still attend to it. That could mean spraying your hair with a moisturizing spray and working an oil or hair butter along the surface.
AVOID ADDING HAIR WHEN PROTECTIVE STYLING
Artificial hair and even human hair, when added to your own hair to protective style causes friction between the two. Whatever moisture you have in your own hair can be absorbed by added hair.
AVOID DRY SHAMPOO
Dry shampoo is designed to absorb dirt and oil. Unlike regular shampoo, it does not have the properties in it to add any moisture to the hair.
DITCHING OR LIMITING SULFATE SHAMPOOS
Just use regular shampoo to cleanse your hair.
Of course, there are times when a sulfate shampoo is beneficial:
- to give your hair a totally clean slate. You’d need to do this when starting the Curly Girl Method.
- to remove stubborn product build up. An alternative is to use clays to wash your hair.
COOL WATER AS A FINAL RINSE
Using cool water as a final rinse will help seal moisture into your hair by closing down the cuticle layer. This is especially helpful for those with high porosity hair.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR AS A FINAL RINSE
Similar to using cool water, using a mixture of apple cider vinegar mixed with water (never use full strength) will close down the cuticle.
NO HOT TOOLS
Avoid using hot tools like flat irons and curly irons. At the very least, limit using these moisture killers to a few times per year and for the love of everything natural hair, use a heat protectant!
INVESTING IN THE BEST BLOW DRYER
Unlike heat styling tools, using a blow dryer designed to stretch or blow your hair out while preventing it from drying out is a proactive way to protect your moisture levels.
I’ve used many blow dryers and this one I’ve found to be the best at being gentle on my fine strands while also leaving my moisture and natural oils in place.
NO FREQUENT WET HAIR OR FREQUENT WASHING
It may seem that regularly wetting your hair or frequently washing it will make it more moisturized. In fact, it’s counterintuitive. If your hair doesn’t need the moisture, you will throw off your protein/moisture balance.
The more you wash your hair when its not dirty, the more you remove your hair’s natural oils which help to keep it moisturized for longer.
SLEEP ON A SATIN PILLOW CASE OR SATIN BONNET
Sleeping on satin prevents your pillowcase from absorbing moisture from your hair. Silk is even better.
SEAL IN MOISTURE….ALWAYS
Sealing in moisture to your hair isn’t a one and done process. It’s something you have to always do when moisturizing your hair.
USE THE LCO SEALING METHOD
L= liquid (water). C= cream. O= oil.
Using this layering process can cause your hair to remain moisturized for many days before you need to do it again.
It’s an effective method of moisturizing and slowing down the evaporation of the moisture from within your strands.
ALTERNATE WITH THE LOC SEALING METHOD
IF THE LCO method doesn’t work for you, try the LOC method. Switching the order in which you apply your creams and oils can have a vastly different effect for different hair types. Just always keep the L first since it’s the liquid aka WATER (moisturizer).
DOUBLE SEAL YOUR ENDS
This is a method of sealing moisture into only the ends of your hair. I’ve found it very helpful when styling my hair in twists and braids.
Like the LOC and LCO methods, a process of layering is used on the ends of the hair:
- Oil or Hair Butter
- Non-alcohol based Gel
These two substances will keep the ends of your hair smoother and moisturized. The gel is moist because it contains water. It’s placed over the oil or hair butter to smooth it all out. I explain the process here:
LIMIT THE TOUCHING
Every time you touch your hair, it’s like rubbing something against it that cause an absorption of moisture away from your hair. So, only touch your hair when you need to.
HOT OIL TREATMENTS
These types of treatment help to nourish your hair strands and seal the cuticle layer. When you work a warmed oil throughout your hair and allow it to sit under a plastic cap for at least 30 minutes, once you rinse you’ll notice much more supple hair that’s no longer dry.
PROTECTION WHEN COMMUTING
This is a big one that not many people think about but if you live in a big city like I do (New York), there’s many opportunities for your hair to dry out any even get damaged:
- It could rub against your coat
- Your hair can rub against someone else’s coat
- Imagine your hair getting caught in the subway doors!
- It could rub against any material on public transportation
- Getting caught in bad weather
Do yourself and your hair a favor and just put it up while commuting. My favorite way is to wrap it up with a silk or sating scarf.
You don’t have to tie your entire head up with a scarf. Simply wrapping the ends with satin/silk is sufficient.
BUFFER YOUR HAIR FROM EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS
If you live in a cold climate, you know how drying the weather can be to your hair. So, if you have to go outdoors put a buffer between your hair and the cold.
The same goes for extremely hot weather. Buffer your hair against the heat.
Buffering can be done by wearing a hat, a scarf, sunscreen for the hair or any means that acts as a shield between your hair and the extreme weather.
BALANCING IT ALL OUT
To have healthy hair with adequate moisture, you need to be able answer the question for yourself, “Should I wet my natural hair everyday?”
Then, for the best results when looking to achieve hair growth, it’s necessary to keep your hair balanced with moisture and protein. You don’t want your hair to have too much moisture because you can incur hair damage from that as well.
It’s a good idea to apply moisture to your hair twice as often as you apply a protein treatment. For those with fine hair, we may require protein a little more often for maintenance but moisture is most necessary across the board for all hair types.
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