What is the Right Way to Moisturize Natural Hair?

My Moisturized Hair 17 months Natural

If I got paid a dollar every time someone emailed me, Facebooked me, Tweeted me, or YouTubed me about how dry their hair is, I would have an impressive savings account.  Moisture, and the lack thereof is a very important part of any naturals hair journey regardless of whether you just BC’d, are Transitioning, or have been natural for years.  If you don’t get a handle on moisture, your hair will show it.

When your hair is moisturized it should look soft and also feel soft to the touch.  Along with that softness will your hair will have a radiant shine.

There are many times I would hug my hubby and he would rest his head on my afro and say “Your hair feels soft like a cloud”.  That’s softness!

There are many different products you can use to moisturize your hair and this article isn’t about what products to use, this article is about the order that things need to be done to properly moisturize your hair.  Think about how you moisturize your skin, first you take a shower (water), then you apply your lotion (moisturizer).  You wouldn’t put your lotion on before you take your shower, would you?  its the same with your hair diva.

Me – 7 months natural chuncky twistout

Step 1:  You need WATER. Water is the purest form of moisture it is your friend.  So most of us will cowash our hair regularly, right? We rinse out the conditioner with WATER — Fabulous. If you aren’t starting with freshly washed hair, then get your spray bottle filled with WATER only, and give your hair a vigorous mist.

Step 2: You need to apply a WATER BASED PRODUCT to your hair.  This can be a water based leave in conditioner, a water based moisturizer, or a water based cream.  It can be ANY of those 3.

Step 3: You need to seal your hair with an OIL.  The oil will keep all the water and water based product hostage in your hair strands.

Step 4: You need to top it all off with a moisturizer (smoothie/butter/souffle) to moisturize your hair and assist you with styling.

Step 5: (optional) Top it off with your favorite styling product.  This is optional because many moisturizers double as a styling product. But not all styling products are moisturizers.  You may be familiar with these types of products that are styling products, but NOT moisturizers, CurlyPudding, Gels, Pomades, Setting Lotions, Loc & Twist Gels etc.

Here’s an example of how I practice what I preach. Oh, and I do this (with these or different products) 1-2x a week.  See why I have no moisture problems??

Me – 1 month Natural 2 strand Twist

Step 1: co wash with Hello Hydrations
Step 2: apply Shea Moisture Thickening Mist and Mizani Hair Milk Leave In
Step 3: apply Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil
Step 4: Apply my Shea butter mix or Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to my hair (then twist or braid)
Step 5: (sometimes) Apply Miss Jessies Curly Pudding and twist/braid my hair.

Can you do this?  If you can, you will have no problems with moisture.  This isn’t a secret ladies, many many many naturals know how important these steps are and they follow them.  If you watch YT or read other Natural Hair blogs, you will see these same exact steps as a part of their regimen.

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.
  • Vee_thehodgepodgefiles

    Great post! I did a similar post a few weeks ago because too many naturals are having issues with dry hair :)

  • ~*Diva Monroe*~

    Thank u so much for this post! I have the concept down, I just dont really know what products to use. Most of the time after I wash [or co wash] my hair, I do a DC [[Shea Moisture Masque]] then after I rinse that out I seal it with EVOO. IDK if thats the best way, but it seems to be working for me

  • JenellyBean

    Thanks. Sis. Please share the link with me so I can check it out and even share it here as a guest blogger post (if you don't mind of course.) :-)

  • JenellyBean

    Hey sis!
    Sounds like you are doing a good job. The only thing Ur missing is a leave in before you seal with your oil.
    There are many many many leave in conditioners and water based moisturizers on the market. Feel free to ask the ladies on the KCCM fanpage for their recommendations and you will get tons of responses. :-)

  • Vee_thehodgepodgefiles

    Hey sis. I don't mind sharing at all. It's because others have shared that I am now able to sahre :)

    Here's the link…


  • JenellyBean


  • Nyla AKA KulchicBeauty

    Thanks for sharing , i love coconut oil on my hair its just the best seal hair. this method is just the best i have tried different methods and  find that this always works for me.


  • Nyla AKA Kulchicbeauty

    Thanks for sharing , i love coconut oil on my hair its just the best seal hair. this method is just the best i have tried different methods and  find that this always works for me.

  • Casha Greene

    Water is a total must have for moisture, however I think "hard water" can counteract some of your moisturizing regimen. The area that I'm living in for school has water that really dries out my skin and hair so even with daily moisturizing, I still get dry flakes :S And this almost never happens back home (in The Bahamas!!)

  • JenellyBean

    That's a very good point.

  • Jjleb85

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've following this process for a few months now and you're right! No problems with dryness! My 4b/4c hair is very happy :)

  • JenellyBean

    That's awesome!
    Please share with others because Winter is coming. :-)

  • Bolacooper

    Thanks again for this post Jenell! Sorry, i'm one of those you have emailed you about that….:). I've been meaning to email back to let you know I sorted the problem I had out. I've been doing as you've explained above but what i didn't realise was that i should have been doing FLAT twists to retain in the moisture at night and not SINGLE twists! I thought every night you were doing single twists to your hair- I tried to do this and it just didn't work on a twa and took ages too!!!- then I finally found your flat twist tutorial, learnt how to do flats twists, and away I went. My hair is finally stayng moisturised! Thanks for your time in replying to emails etc Jenell – I really appreciated it.bxx

  • JenellyBean

    Hey sis!
    Glad your hair is doing well. When I had a TWA I did two strand twists and flat twists. It depended on my mood. If your hair feels dry at night while you are retwisting just add add some of your favorite moisturizer then twist. I use the curl enhancing smoothie but u can use what you like.
    You are so very welcome. I appreciate the love!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YODG73YV7ESTV2FYIKFV4TC7RY Diva

    Dang… I’m doing it wrong. I’ve been applying hair butter and THEN my oils. I guess I thought that the oil would seal in all the good stuff I’d been doing. Oopsie. 

    • eyeconic1

      I was doing the same thing. Using the oils last, thinking it sealed everything in. Alot of bloggers tell you to use the oil last. I too was thinking the puddings I use was a moisturizer. This alos helps explain how I could see the product build up on my hair. This is great info and sets me straight for the 2012 winter challenge I’ll be good to go. Thanks

  • Maatjec14

    hi there, was wondering if you use a leave in conditioner is it ok to skip ahead to step 3? thanx for all the other helpful info.

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

      well use a leave in is step 2, so you wouldnt have to skip ahead to step 3 because step 3 comes after step 2.

  • Syimma

    Hi, are you doing this before bed of in the morning. If it’s a morning routine what are you doing at night?

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

      Night time.

  • trina

    i’m gonna have to use water – or maybe it’s my products – because i’m doing this and still ending up with dry hair.

    • Ori

      The reason why may be that you are not sealing the water or moisture into your hair. I had the same problem but when I started sealing my hair with oil afterward it worked great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SassyTXGal Ashley Rose

    what if your hair is thin?? would you need to do every single one of those steps??

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

      Use lighter products, but the type is good or all hair.

      • http://www.facebook.com/SassyTXGal Ashley Rose

        okay, thanks a mill

  • Penny05

    My hair is currently in a protective style of two strand flat twist. If I spray what on my hair then it will frizz up. Do I have to spray water on my hair? Can I just put the cream moisturizer and oil only?

  • ann

    For braided air is hair oil allow good for my hair

  • kris

    wow – this really worked for me!! i was at a breaking point (literally and figuratively, lol, dry = breakage!) but did these steps in this order, and my hair hasn’t looked this good in years! the hair store was closed so I had to use older products that aren’t my favorite. But somewhow it still did the trick! I wonder if at least decent products used in the correct order is a major key to keeping our hair moist and soft