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How To Moisturize Curly Hair

Last Updated on January 13, 2022

How To Moisturize Curly Hair:

If you have curly hair, then you know that your curls crave moisture. Dryness is our top issue as curlies, and keeping curly hair moisturized is no easy task.

Because of the shape and texture of the curls, natural oils have a hard time reaching the ends of your hair, leading the dry, brittle ends.

It’s all well and good spending an arm and a leg on moisturizers for your hair, but the hard part is implementing your routine to ensure moisture is attained and retained within the strands– using a cotton towel for one can be extremely moisture stripping.

But don’t worry, I’m here to show you how to properly moisturize your curls and retain that moisture.

The key is to introduce moisture in every step of your wash, styling, and maintenance process. Using nourishing ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, and honey can help with both attaining and retaining moisture within the strands.

So stay tuned for my top tips on how to moisturize natural hair and how to help combat extremely dry curly hair– your curls will thank me later.

moisturize curls

Why Is My Curly Hair So Dry?

The first thing you’ll want to do is pinpoint the reason why your curls are getting so dry, besides the obvious of the natural oils unable to travel down the hair shaft.

In order for curly hair to thrive, it needs hydration, nourishment, and, most importantly, moisture! The environment and weather changes and strip moisture out of our curls within a blink of an eye– humidity, cold weather, and sun exposure are not our friends.

During the summer months, you may notice that your curls are drier and more brittle. With the combination of the humidity causing the cuticle to swell and the constant heat exposure from the scorching sun, it is not an ideal condition for natural hair.

But the best way to treat dry curly hair is but infusing moisture in every step of your curly hair routine and ensuring that your products protect your curls from both humidity and UV rays, so you can go out with confidence.

Temperature shifts from indoor and outdoor, UV damage, and not using heat protectant products may be contributing to your curls drying out.

You may be thinking that you’re doing your dry curly hair good by using a diffuser over a blow dryer, but diffusers can get just as hot, so it’s critical that you always use a heat protectant product in order to keep the hair hydrated.

But during the summer months especially, curly girls should try to opt for plopping instead. Plopping your hair will help promote the curl pattern and prevent moisture loss.

Just apply your products as usual (remember your UV protectant) and then wrap up your wet hair in a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel until 80-90% dry.

Materials That May Contribute To Dryness:

If you’ve been following the curly girl method for a while, then you probably know the benefits of using a microfiber towel and sleeping on a satin pillowcase over a normal one.

But for the newbies, using a regular towel and sleeping on cotton pillows may be the reason for your dryness. This is because these materials suck the moisture out of the hair strands, causing dryness and frizz.

Cotton is extremely porous, and the texture of regular bath towels especially can not only soak up the moisture from your strands but cause friction on the hair. The texture can even create craters in the hair, which leads to brittleness and frizz.

Cotton pillowcases have the same effect; the roughness of the material can cause friction, rough up the hair cuticle as well as soak up the moisture from the strands.

This is why those with natural curls should switch to a microfiber towel instead during the drying process; it is much more gentle on the hair and does not cause friction.

The same goes for using a satin or silk pillowcase and popping your curls in a protective hairstyle with hair oil at night; it helps with moisture retention and does not cause friction.

How you dry hair also may be the reason for your frizz and dryness too; rubbing your hair to dry it can rough up the hair cuticle and cause damage on the ends of your curls, so dry gently and avoid rubbing the ends of your hair.

benefitss of cocnut oil for curls

How To Moisturize Curly Hair Daily:

The best way to moisturize your hair daily is by implementing a few steps into your routine but, most importantly, ensuring your practice pre-best moisturizing and popping your curls in protective hairstyles at nighttime.

Replenishing moisture nightly is key to combatting dry hair and promoting healthy hair since the natural oils from your scalp have a hard time reaching the ends.

Practice Pre-Bed Moisturizing:

Moisturing your curls before bed can massively help you combat dryness by replenishing the moisture loss that the tolls of everyday life cause for your curls.

Whether this is from humidity, sun exposure, air pollution, or heat styling, upkeeping a nightly moisturizing routine can help to keep dry curly hair hydrated.

Applying a hair mask overnight is a great way to replenish every hair strand. Looking for ingredients like olive oil, castor oil, shea butter, honey can massively help to moisturize limp curls– some of these ingredients are emulsifiers and other humectants that help with attaining and retaining moisture.

Popping a moisturizing hair mask on the ends of your hair before bed and twisting your curls up to sleep can help to replenish your hair, as well as a sleep mask, would for your skin.

On the days that you don’t apply a hair mask in your hair care routine, you should apply hair oil to the ends of your hair and tie it up into a protective hairstyle.

Using this along with a satin or silk pillow is a great way to replenish dry curly hair and a great way to keep your curly hair moisturized and fresh up until wash day.

Choose The Right Oils For Your Hair Type:

Choosing the right oils for your hair type is super important because what may work on low porosity hair may not be enough for high porosity hair.

Hair porosity is a key indicator of how well products will work on your hair. If you have low porosity hair, then the cuticle is lying flat; this means that moisture has a hard time being absorbed, and some heavy products will sit on top of the hair strand rather than be absorbed.

But once absorbed, it stays within the hair, and moisture retention is much better.

High porosity hair, however, has a raised cuticle, so it absorbs moisture easily but loses moisture as quickly as it is absorbed as it is easy for moisture to move in and out of the cuticle.

So for low porosity hair, you’ll want to opt for a more penetrating oil like argan or avocado oil; the molecular structure is much smaller, making it the perfect match.

For high porosity hair, heavier oils like coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil moisturize your curls as they have sealing properties to help lock in moisture.

If you have finer hair, you should be sparing with the hair oil so it does not weigh your curls, but for thicker, coarse curls, you should opt for a heavier oil to prevent shrinkage and help to lock in moisture.

What About Damaged Curls?

In some cases, the dryness is caused because the cuticle itself is damaged, so repairing the cuticle with the right products with natural oils like sealant oils can help to seal moisture and repair the hair shaft from within.

You should also regularly do a pre-treatment as well as a deep conditioning treatment to help promote healthy hair. Olaplex is brilliant for repairing the hair from within; olaplex treatments 0 and 3 are Curly Girl Method approved, perfect for healing hair strands from within.

Olaplex No. 7 is also another great oil for repairing hair strands from within too. I also love Morrocanoil for curly hair as argan oil is deeply nourishing and reparative.

It is also deeply penetrating as it has a small molecular level, making it perfect for low porosity hair.

Refresh Your Curls Inbetween Washes:

Consider a Refresher Spray:

The best way to moisturize curly hair naturally is to maintain a good refreshing routine. They work wonders on looser curl types like type 2 and 3 curls.

You’ll want to look for moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and oils that penetrate into the hair deeply, like jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, etc.

You should only apply a refresher to the areas of your curls that really need it, working in small sections at a time instead of spraying over the entirety of the head.

Apply the product into your hands and apply it just to the ends and then scrunch the curls upward to bring those limp curls back to life.

Just make sure that your curls are wet or at least damp before applying hair products like hair refreshers, so you’re left with hydrated curls rather than a frizzy mess.

Use The LOC Method:

Any curly girl should be using the LOC method within their wash day routine. This layering technique of leave-in, oil, the cream can help give curls a moisture kick.

It can also infuse your curls with essential nutrients to help revive fragile strands.

Obviously, you don’t need to use these products exactly but just make sure you’re starting with your lightest product and finishing with your heaviest product. For some thick and coarse hair textures, a gel may be a suitable replacement for cream.

Structuring your products after washing your curls with a sulfate-free shampoo can offer the greatest moisture retention on your curls.

When using your leave-in conditioner, making sure you are applying it to soaking wet hair is important. So investing in a water spray and taking the time to apply your leave-in is extremely important for moisture retention.

What I like to do is hop out of the shower and sit in front of the mirror and work in sections—saturating each section with the water spray and applying leave into the mid-lengths and ends. You’ll want to go higher up than other products but avoid the scalp.

Use your detangling brush– I would recommend the Denman Brush as it detangles and styles. Comb through the treatment and then use the brush to create tension and twirl around the curl to promote the natural curl shape.

Wait a few minutes and then coat the hair with a penetrating oil or light oil if you have fine hair and repeat the process. Then follow with the cream and style your curls.

Once you’ve finished one section with all the products, then scrunch it upwards with a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to remove excess moisture and promote the natural curl shape, and then move onto the next section.

This process will keep your curls hydrated up until your next wash day! Make sure you refresh the moisture in between washes if you have coarse curls, such as using oils overnight or refreshing with curl cream.

how to moisturize curly hair daily


So there you have it, how to keep your luscious curls happy and moisturized; those with straight hair are so lucky they don’t need to go through this process.

But we love our curls, despite them being infuriating sometimes. Learning how to care for curly hair is key to unlocking the ultimate curls.

Check out my other guide of the best moisturizers for curly hair for my top product recommendations for nourishing those thirsty curls.

Give these tips a go!

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