January 30, 2014 | LOVE EMBRACEINSPIRE| By Chanell of KnottyNatural.com One of the early lessons I've learned is to Seal, Seal, and Seal some more in order to achieve moisture and length retention. That tidbit of knowledge has carried me from transitioning through to today, 4 years later!
For me, the biggest sign that my hair lacks moisture is when I touch my hair and it screams at me! When my hair is dry, touching it yields a crackling sound! Trust me, your hair should not make sounds! Additionally, the overall appearance of my hair is just dull and lacks sheen.
Sebum is our body's natural moisturizer. Because afro textured hair is tightly coiled, the sebum that our scalp naturally produces never reaches the ends of the strands; the sebum gets stuck between the twists and turns of our kinky/coily hair. This is why sealing is important. We apply products to our hair to aid in the application of moisture, but in order to retain moisture, we need to seal.
Sealing for me occurs after I've washed out my deep conditioner. As I rinse out the conditioner, I use warm water and run my hands down the strands to help close the hair cuticle as I squeeze the excess water away from my strands.
Moisture Method: I use a liquid leave in conditioner, a medium to thick oil, and shea butter for my sealant combination; this moisture method is known as the L.O.C method. There are many moisture methods, but this seems to be the most effective method for my high density, low porosity mane.
After sectioning my hair, I divide each section into 4 smaller sections and work through each individual section, repeating the same method. When I've finished moisturizing each smaller section, I braid or twist the section, about 16 braids total.
To start, I spray a Liquid Leave In to the first section of my hair. What I used has evolved over time but generally I have an Aloe Vera Juice based concoction, with a bit of water, and castor or olive oil.
Next, I apply a quarter sized amount of oil to the first sectioned section. Work the oil through the strands starting from the bottom, upward. The second layer acts as a sealant to the first layer.
Finally, apply a quarter sized amount of butter cream to each section (or as needed). Regarding your final sealant layer, I have used both a store bought water based butter cream as well as my own whipped shea butter. I find that both work well, and I've used them interchangeably.
After sealing ends, hair was braided, ends perm rodded, covered with a silk scarf (or bonnet), and left overnight to air dry.
It's important to note that when I add products to my hair, I apply them from the bottom of the strands (the oldest, most neglected strands) in an upward motion until I reach the top of the strands (the new growth). This will ensure my ends receive the love they need. This will also ensure moisture retention, therefore encouraging length retention.
I add a tad more cream to each braid or twist as I twirl the ends, just to ensure it's moisturized! This can make the difference between moist and dry ends, which work against length retention.
Also, please be mindful of how much product you are adding to your hair. Being heavy handed with products can weigh the hair down, unnecessarily. If after you apply your products, if you can squeeze product out of your section, you've been heavy handed. Start by applying a bit at a time (dime-sized to quarter-sized amounts) and adjust accordingly.
Since I wear mostly protective styles, I do not usually have to re-style during the week, but if I do, I re-seal by spraying my liquid leave in, and applying oil and my shea butter whip to my strands using the "from the bottom up" technique I discussed earlier.
I always sleep with a silk scarf covering my hair! It protects the hair from otherwise drying out due to the hair being against the cotton pillow all night.
Do you have a special sealing technique that ensures moisturized strands?
Chanell is a Natural Hair Enthusiast, vlogger and blogger. As a seansoned natural, also known as Knotty Natural loves to share her musings as a transitioner, and her knowledge about natural hair through her experiences.
Hi Ladies & Gents! I'm Tiffany N. Baker and I'm the founder of Love Embrace Inspire, Inc. and this here online magazine! Thank you so much for visiting my site. To learn a little more about me and what I do, please visit LoveEmbraceInspire.org
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