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Curly Hair Tip: How to Use Water Based Moisturizers Effectively

Your hair needs to be moisturized daily whether loose or braided or twisted up. I don’t moisturize daily like I used to when I first went natural, but I should.

You will need two different types of moisturizers: water based and oil based.

Water Based Moisturizer penetrates the hair shaft, oil based moisturizer coats the hair shaft (and seals moisture in or out). To use the two effectively, you will need to apply your water based moisturizer first, then the oil based – Water based UNDER, Oil based OVER.

The reason for this is that oils and other moisturizing products that contain petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil do not moisturize your hair effectively. Instead they seal moisture in or out of your hair. They should only be used to seal the hair and add shine. Try appling your oil moisturizer after rinsing the moisture treatment to combat dryness.
Also, to help with dryness, you need a penetrating moisturizer. The only oil that penetrates the hair shaft is coconut oil. Other oils only coat it. You can use virgin coconut oil as a daily moisturizer or a water based moisturizer.

How do I know if a product is water based?
Check the ingredients list.  Is the FIRST ingredient water aka purified water aka aqua?  If YES, then guess what?? Its water based.

If you see water in your ingredient list, but it’s not first, then find another product to use as your water based product.  Remember, Water Based Moisturizer penetrates the hair shaft.

Some examples of water based moisturizers are:

  • Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in – I used this when I first did my Big Chop.
  • Elasta QP Mango Butter – I’ve never used this, but I hear many naturals raving about this product.
  • Giovanni Direct Leave In – I’ve never used this, but I hear many naturals raving about this product.
  • Jane Carter Twist & Lock – Used this on Hubby’s locks, he had no problems with it.
  • Jane Carter Hair Nourishing Cream – I used this to set my twists, added lots of shine.
  • Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave In – I used this a few times.
  • Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil – I’ve never used this.
  • Profectiv Anti-Tangle Leave-in- I’ve never used this.
  • Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong – I’ve never used this.

This is of course not an exhaustive list. I added products that I have personally used, products that I hear other naturals rave about, and a few other products that I’ve seen on shelves.

Which water based and oil based moisturizers do YOU use?

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About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • Anonymous

    I like to mix Aussie Moist cond w/ water. I also like Hawaiin Silky 14 n 1 and Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curling Smoothie

  • Coilybella

    I use Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner or Curls Whipped Cream as the water based and Shea Butter Mix or Quemet Biologics Amla and Heavey Cream as the Oil based to seal.

  • Yarie

    I use to whipped pudding from Oyin and seal the moisture with some Burnt sugar pommade :)

  • hair re-growth

    This is cool. Love her hair.

  • Marie679

    another great water based product is Pura Body Naturals MuruMuru Moisture Milk

  • mangomadness

    I like using Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner, Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk
    and Curls (for Target) Creme Brulee.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this article. I now know that I need an oil/oil based sealant for my hair. My focus is to retain length while growing healthy hair with emphasis on proper moisturizing. I really enjoy your site, and look forward to reading your other posts. Thanks again!

  • porscha

    Wonderful inf

  • http://twitter.com/Zaralynette Lynette Jae

    Cantu Leave In. You cant beat the price! XD

  • queenbee9

    Very good info except oils are NOT moisturizers. Oils can be humectants or they can be sealers or conditioners but they do not contain water and so are not moisturizers. Coconut oil is a very penetrating oil but it is not and NEVER will be a moisturizer. Every moisturizer has to contain water in suspension. Oils REPEL water . Every conditioner or moisturizer has water as an ingredient and oil has NO water as an ingredient. Conditioners can contain water and oil but there is no oil that contains water–because then it would not be an oil, it would be some sort of lotion or conditioner.

  • iknowyouresomalinayaa

    Who is the woman in the picture ?? She must be somali, what’s her name ??

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/pinkxxbone Erika Mays

    i love kinky curly knot today leave in! If i could recommend any it would be this one…mainly because ive watched many reviews before even going out and using it for myself and ive never heard anything bad about it. its also very inexpensive so why KNOT! lol

  • K Reynolds

    New product alert… haven’t seen much out there on …I ordered it on Amazon… I was looking for something to use in my MN challenge…well big mistake on my part because this is way too good for that challenge…this is going to be my new staple
    LIQUID GOLD PRODUCTS – Whipped Ginger Cream …the first ingredients alone say it all..water, coconut oil, castor oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, ginger oil,
    it feels good and softens my hair… it smell good and my twist out on my 4a hair was outstanding!!!!!!
    I LOVE THIS I will be ordering some more… only problem is it only comes in a 4 oz container…this is one you would want to buy in 12 oz or more container…
    again…this was a find….did not know anything about this company..just surfing on amazon and ran across it… (YES ADDICTED TO AMAZON- Pray for me! LOL)
    You have got to try this