In the natural hair community, there are many words and phrases that may be new to many people, especially new naturals. Sealing in the moisture is one that you’ve probably heard quite a bit, but what exactly does it mean? To understand the meaning of sealing in the moisture, let’s first look at the definition of the key words in this phrase.
Sealing means “to apply a nonporous coating to a surface to make it impervious”. In other words, it means to apply a product that can not be penetrated by water, air, or other fluids to a surface (your hair) so that fluid cannot pass through.
Moisture refers to the presence of a liquid, for example water, in small amounts.
How Does This Relate to Natural Hair?
Moisture is key to keeping your natural hair happy and healthy. Making sure the moisture is locked in is equally important. However, before you even think about sealing in the moisture, you have to make sure your hair is well moisturized. You can make sure your hair is moisturized by using an adequate amount of water. This can either be from your shower on wash day or water-based products (products with water listed as the first ingredient).
Tip: Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is important when it comes to moisturizing your hair. If you use a clarifying shampoo, be sure to follow up with a moisturizing shampoo for your second lather. After shampooing, use a moisturizing conditioner or deep conditioner. This will help lay the foundation for soft, moisturized hair and will make detangling and styling much easier.
Keeping your hair properly moisturized and sealed will help you retain moisture as long as possible. This can help prevent breakage which will in turn lead to length retention. So, how do you do this?
Steps to Sealing in the Moisture
- Spritz your hair with water and/or apply a water-based leave-in conditioner. This is your moisturizing step.
- Once you have moisturized your hair, apply an oil. Since oil molecules are much larger than water, the oil will act like a barrier to prevent water loss from your hair strands. Make sure to give a little extra love to the ends of your hair. The end of the hair strand is the driest and most fragile part. This is your first step to sealing in the moisture.
- Depending on your hair type and hair porosity, you can seal again with a cream or butter. If you find that water escapes your hair easily use a butter. If you don’t experience rapid water loss, try using a lighter moisturizing cream. This helps to further make sure that all the moisture you added to your hair is nice and sealed in.
Something to keep in mind is that some people find that their hair responds better when steps 2 and 3 are reversed. If you decide to do step 2 and then 3, this is what is called the LOC (liquid, oil, cream/butter) method. Flipping steps 3 and 2 is the LCO (liquid, cream/butter, oil) method. These acronyms were coined by Rochelle Graham, the founder and owner of Alikay Naturals, and refers to the order in which you apply your products.
You may have to play around a bit to find out which method works better for you but either method will put you on the right path to sealing in the moisture and keeping your natural hair healthy.