I’ve experienced some of my greatest hair progress when I mastered the art of deep conditioning and moisturizing. Growing up with afro-textured hair, I was often taught that the constant use of water did nothing but harm to the hair of brown girls like me and that in order for my hair to strive, it would be best that I left it alone, and dry. A good hair day for me often consisted of grease, pink lotion, and ampro-style gel, the type that flaked after about a day or two, only to be covered by a reapplication of the debris-causing-gunk. Needless to say, the mix often left my head sweltering hot in the sun (flammable perhaps?), unpleasantly greasy (chicken or ribs?), and full of golden flakes (and not the frosted ones that are grrreeaatt!). — And unfortunately for most people with similar hair types, this is looked at as being the normal result after undergoing at-home hair maintenance.

So I started to do more research on multi-textured + afro-textured hair and came to realize that just like other hair types, this hair should be washed regularly. The only difference? Multi-textured + afro-textured hair shouldn’t be washed often using shampoo, as shampoos with silicones and/or sulfates have stripping and drying properties (hence why a lot of shampoos now boast to be “SILICONE / SULFATE FREE”, since many people have strayed away over the past year). Because multi + afro-textured hair tends to be drier than other hair types, this can often cause breakage because as we all know, dry hair is more likely to snap, crackle, and pop because it lacks elasticity. Instead multi-textured + afro-textured hair should be:

a) deep conditioned on a weekly or bi-weekly basis | to infuse moisture in a sweet and nutritious way.
b) shampood or clarified at least once a month | to strip and clarify the hair strands and scalp in hopes of removing all product buildup.
c) be moisturized daily | more on this later.

While most would call this the curly girl method others call it, “that stuff my hair just likes”!
And of course, this isn’t all a requirement, but simply a guideline that can be tweaked based on what your hair responds the best to.

So what’s the proper way to moisturize relaxed and/or natural hair daily? Here’s what I found consistent with other girls on healthy hair journies and a system that has yielded great results for my hair. But of course, listen to your hair and tweak it to your hair’s liking!

Water is by far the greatest moisturizer. It loosens up the hair strand and allows for great mobility. I used to be scared of water (you read my swim-cap confessional above, #youngbrowngirlhairteachings). Even before I was 90% natural, I found that spritzing my hair with water (not drenching it) before moisturizing with product made a huge difference! But I won’t even lie, now that my hair is kinkier, water is the best way to get it out of it’s stiff state so it can maneuver a lot easier from style to style.
Here’s an artistic demonstration of how/when hair strives.
Courtney spritzes her hair with water every day.
• One of my blogger friends, Leslie, over at Fresh Lengths (relaxed) incorporates water in her hair regimen. Here’s how.

Picking a great moisturizer will determine the overall health of your hair! But it’s important to know that not all products that have proven success on other people’s hair will prove such success on yours. It’s all about picking a moisturizer that your hair responds well to. A great moisturizer should leave your hair hydrated and soft. Anything doing otherwise should be switched out. For me, Tresemme Natural’s Conditioner works as a great moisturizer. Using conditioner as a daily moisturizer is well practiced when following the popular curly girl method.
• I love these hair desserts because they kept my hair hydrated!
Does your hair need a moisturizer that’s protein-based or moisture-based?
• Here’s a 10-minute homemade hair mask for strengthening your hair.
• Onika’s relaxed hair is so healthy! Here’s how she moisturizes it!

And lastly, oil seals the deal. Oil is a great way to lock in the moisture from the water and butter. My favorite oils of course being coconut oil (for it’s ability to penetrate the hair shaft), castor oil (for it’s ability to thicken the hair), and extra virgin olive oil (for it’s repairing properties).
Here’s a cheatsheet of natural hair oils and their benefits.
Baggying your hair at night is a great way to keep your hair moisture-infused and a great way to eliminate breakage!
• Scalp Massages stimulate hair growth. ULuvMegz demonstrates how she does them and explains why!

The next time you moisturize your hair, consider these steps. Whether you’re natural or relaxed, following these steps consistently is a sure way to see your hair strive! And for those of you afraid to take the plunge, there are ways to avoid gunky hair. If you don’t like your hair too weighed down, consider the overnight baggy method, (spritz your with water, add your butter, seal with oil, and then cover with a shower cap overnight). Oh, and be lighthanded with your products as a little goes a long way! Consider it a greenhouse effect. Your hair being the flower.