What if we told you that everything you thought you knew about the common struggles you have had with your natural hair was wrong? What if we told you that before using the right products, the right styling tools, or watching the right Youtube video, there was one fundamental thing that had the power to transform the way your hair feels, looks, and even how well it styles?
At the root of every hair problem you find yourself dealing with is lack of hydration. When hair isn’t properly hydrated, there is no product or style that can make your hair look and feel the way that you like. Whether you’re dealing with twist outs that won’t hold, hair that feels dry or brittle, or breakage and split ends, it all comes down to hydration. When you’re hair isn’t hydrated, it will suffer.
So how exactly do we get our hair to the state of optimal hydration? To get a true understanding, we sat down with an expert. Someone who understands natural hair from the inside out. Urbanbella’s founder and natural hair expert Keneesha.
The Difference Between Hydration and Moisture
Although we spend a lot of time discussing hydration and moisture here, we know that it’s still really easy to understand the understand the difference between the two. At Urbanbella, Keneesha likes to define hydration as the condition of your hair. Think about hydration as the way you describe or talk about your hair. When you use language like “my hair is dry” you’re referring to hydration. When you understand that hydration is the state of your hair, you can begin to take the steps to get your hair to its most hydrated state. Keneesha describes moisture as what you do to your hair. Think about moisture as the products you use, your hair routine, or the methods you try to restore your hair to a hydrated state. Moisture is all about the things you are doing to hair to help it become hydrated. While the two are different, both are needed when it comes to helping your hair look its best.
Breaking the Myths About Hydration and Moisture
While hydration and moisture play such a major role in the health of your natural hair, it’s not something we are well informed about. In fact, Keneesha believes that the majority of women have no idea what well hydrated and moisturized natural hair feel like. “We have not evolved past the blow dry and perms which have led to us not really understanding what hydrated natural hair is.” And because we don’t really understand moisture, we don’t know when our hair is lacking it. Many of us aren’t even aware of the subtle–but important–differences between moisture and hydration. And thanks to the gift (and curse) of the internet, so many women are gathering their knowledge of hair care from so many different sources. This leads to using products that aren’t doing us any justice, aren’t good for our hair, and are leaving our kinks, curls, and coils just as dry and dehydrated as before we used them.
When it comes to the discussion between hydration and moisture there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. We want to start with setting some of the most common myths straight with the truth. The things we have been taught to believe when it comes to moisturizing our hair and restoring hydration.
Myth #1: All moisturizing products are equal. This is a popular myth that so many naturals believe. With products that have misleading names and buy one get one deals to draw us in, we have been conditioned to believe that the secret to ultimate hydration can be found inside a $9 bottle. The truth is, so many of the “go-to” moisturizing products aren’t actually moisturizing your hair. Many of them are packed with cheap ingredients that help give off the appearance of moisture without providing much moisture at all. Even with the most moisturizing hair routine and methods, using low-quality products that sit on the hair and give it the appearance of moisture will cause more harm than good in the end. You want to use high-quality products that are packed with botanicals, plant extracts, and essential oils.
“Don’t worry about your products, worry about your hair” ~ Keneesha, Urbanbella
Myth #2: Water drys your hair out. This one has been a long-standing myth in the Black hair community and is one that Urbanbella wants you to forget once and for all. “Water doesn’t dry your hair out, the products you use with the water is what drys your hair out.” According to the Urbanbella team, hydration is all about water. The more of it you can provide your hair with the better. Every natural haired beauty should be washing their hair at least once a week and following up with steaming. This will help moisture get below the hair cuticle providing ultimate hydration.
“Invest in a steamer. You should buy yourself a steamer before you buy any other tools” ~ Keneesha Urbanbella
Myth #3: People with the same hair type need the same moisturizing techniques. Keneesha broke this one all the way down for us. She compared hair care to skincare to help understand that there is no way to define a perfect hydration routine for a specific hair type. “You wouldn’t recommend a skincare routine based on skin tone so we can’t talk about hydrating hair on hair type alone.” While hair type plays an integral role in first understanding your hair, how it operates, and things you can do to help it flourish, the real determinant is porosity. Your hair’s porosity will ultimately determine what products and methods will help your hair to become its most hydrated.
“If you recommend a product to me and you have low porosity hair, it most likely won’t work for me, porosity is really key” ~ Keneesha, Urbanbella
Getting a firm understanding of hydration and moisture should be the first step in your natural hair journey. With it, you’ll be able to transform your hair.