Telling the Difference Between Natural Hair that FEELS Dry and IS Dry

By Geniece of Beautifully Made via BlackGirlLongHair

Okay, show of hands. How many of you have ever held a section of your hair and squeezed the ends listening to the crunching sound your hair makes? Well, I have. On the one hand it’s kind of cool to have hair that’s so highly textured that we can actually hear it. On the other hand, that crunching sound can indicate that our hair is dry and that is anything but cool. If you struggle with what feels like perpetually crunchy, dry hair then I hope to give you some insight what might be happening with your hair.

Five years after I went natural I decided that I should actually start caring for my hair instead of complaining that it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. I began to be gentler with my hair, manipulating it only when necessary and using water based products. After my six months of better practices I was thrilled to see what I had not for quite some time–length retention. Still, there was something that puzzled me. One of the things that frustrated me early in my healthy hair journey is that no matter what I did my hair would often feel dry. I would add moisturizing creams, keep my hair pinned up and spritz with water but once the water dried my hair felt dry. At one point I suspected that my hair’s dryness was the reason my hair didn’t retain length but once I realized I was retaining length I had the realization that my hair could feel dry without being brittle and prone to breakage. So, what was going on? One of the greatest epiphanies I’ve had as a natural is this: My hair can feel dry, even look dry, even when adequately moisturized.

Tiffany, KinkyCurlyCoilyMe Author and founder of NaturalHair in the Media

Those of you who constantly buy moisturizing products and still find yourself frustrated can breathe a sigh of relief. If you are adding water to your hair more than likely it is moisturized. However, because of the twists and bends of highly textured hair it may feel rough to the touch but this does not mean that it is brittle or dry. For me, this is an area of my regimen when I have learned to operate in faith. If I’m doing what I’m supposed to, I believe that my hair is moisturized even if it doesn’t always feel that way. This is especially true when my hair is exposed to extreme weather during the heat of summer and frigid cold of winter.

Now I know some of you may still be a bit bummed. After all, who doesn’t enjoy hair that feels soft and supple to the touch? I agree. I definitely prefer my hair to feel moisturized than not. However, being honest about my hair texture allows me to be realistic in terms of the expectations I have for my hair. I have actually become accustomed to “dry” feeling hair and to me it feels normal. In fact I can even tell the difference between my hair when it’s moisturized and feels dry and when it is genuinely in need extra moisture. For me, making this distinction has made my hair journey much smoother.

Ladies, how do you determine when your hair is in need of moisture?

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.
  • http://www.facebook.com/ave.jarrett Ave Jarrett

    Love it!! Thanks for the information, and the confirmation, that all can be well even if your hair feels dry. :)

  • mophead

    I hearmy hair all of the time and didnt think.it was moisturized but now i know its not true. Ty for this.

  • Michele

    i think i am feeling the same way right now and your post was what Oprah would call an “Ahh Haa” moment. thank you for this insight. i know i am not crazy!

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      You’re welcome. The author did a great job explaining.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.garlick Sharon D. Garlick

    I too just had an “Ahh Haa” moment. In the beginning of my hair journey I wasn’t taking care of hair correctly because of lack of knowledge. However, thanks to this site and others I gain the knowledge and applied it and my hair still felt dry & crunchy. I wish I had read this article before I spent money on these Senegalese twist.

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Enjoy your twists because your hair will benefit. Makes sure to moisturize and car for your hair while twists.

  • onyinyechi uwakwemdike

    it just dawned on me!

    • disqus_y6PhDZdt5v

      I love your Nigerian name!

  • Sheena

    Like Jenell, I have 4 type hair…tightly coiled, spongy and thick. I spritz my hair with aloe vera juice and water, then moisturize with Shea Moistures Restorative Leave-In Conditioner, which I’ve actually twirked with added coconut, almond, grape seed and olive oil. Hot oil treatments and deep conditions are a MUST for my hair texture, which make the moisturizing process much more successful. Let me not forget keeping a great amount of water in my diet as well. I usually keep my hair in two strand twists to keep the moisture locked in, especially during the winter months and I always sleep with a satan scarf on. When my hair is moisturized, it has a nice “jerry curl” sheen to it and can go about 3-4 days without the next moisturizing session. When my hair is opposite of this, I suffer from an itchy scalp and dry hair.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dxtreme45 Peggy GetFitwithme West

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been constantly worried that my hair isn’t retaining moisture even if my hand does come away with the sheen of my moisturizer. I’ll stop being so overly worried.

  • Miamore

    well i feel so much better now that i have read this..i thought for sure that my hair was dry even though i did all i could to moisturize it and it had a nice shine to it…