Why is My hair so dry?: 3 Popularly Misused Natural Hair Products

Why is my hair so dry?

I get a lot of clients who come in upset about their dry hair.  I always follow with the question “What products are you using in your home regimen?” The most popular replies are,

*Coconut Oil

*Shea Butter


Now, while these listed ingredients can be equally beneficial to your hair, they are not stand alone moisturizers.  Essentially, these are popularly misused natural hair products.

The listed ingredients are actually oils. Oils are lubricants used to restore natural oils that may have been stripped during shampooing and/or styling process, and also to seal. But, if not used in conjunction with a really good moisturizing leave in or cream moisturizer, they can seal in dryness and repel any moisture from entering the strands of the hair. The greatest confusion comes from the fact that shea butter in its raw state is creamy or solid. But, this is just the state of the oil before being pressed or liquefied. Now if they are mixed with other essential oils and a moisturizing component, known as a humectant, then it now has the ability to retain moisture. Water is also a good source of moisture, so mixing with water is a better option.

Glycerin and water combined is popular because glycerin too is a humectant. But, if not immersed in moisture, it will actually draw it from the nearest source. This explains why glycerin and water or glycerin laced products work better in the humid summer as opposed to the dry winter.

The humidity in the air, breeds an environment of moisture, allowing it to absorb the moisture from the air into your hair. But, if used in drier conditions, it will actually suck up the moisture in your hair. Be careful with glycerin as its effectiveness is based upon its surrounding conditions/environment.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil, though easily passes through cuticle, will give a greasy feel, but doesn’t supply lasting moisture. You may need to reapply as needed. Or mix with other oils like olive oil (this is my favorite combination), avocado oil, or jojoba oil.


1) When seeking a good moisturizer, water should be listed first. This makes a great base.

2) Also, if it is promoting itself as “100%” shea butter, vitamin E, jojoba oil and so on, verify that there isn’t anything else listed. (When mixing your own moisturizer)

3) Other humectants to look for: honey, panthenol, sodium lactate, sorbitol  (just to name a few).

4) When purchasing products, read the ingredients. I love spending time in the store reading ingredients and determining which products are true to their advertisement. Ingredients are listed by potency, so for example: if it is said to be moisturizing, yet lists mineral oil as the 2nd ingredient, or alcohol, avoid at all cost.

Mineral oil gives the illusion of moisture, but quickly evaporates, leaving you to have to use more frequently. Products that has alcohol listed within the first 3 ingredients are prone to drying out the hair. Good alcohols are: Cetearyl, Cetyl, and Stearyl. These are fatty alcohols that won’t dry your tresses.





3 thoughts on “Why is My hair so dry?: 3 Popularly Misused Natural Hair Products

  1. Tiffany

    I’m a bit of a biochemistry nerd so I’ll leave a quick comment here. Moisture literally refers to the amount of water contained (either as liquid or gas) contained within a substance. This means the only source of actual moisture is water. So if you want moisture, know that water is the #1 ingredient. All other additives aid in two ways: by either causing the absorption of more water (humectants) or by trapping water inside of the cuticle (sealant).

    Humectants, of which glycerin is one, are generally not fats as they must be water soluble to attract and hold water molecules. This can be both positive or negative depending on whether or not the water content in your hair is less than that of the environment. Sealants, on the other hand, must be water insoluble in order to prevent attraction of water molecules and eventual diffusion outside of the hair. This means you can’t seal your hair and expect to see an increase in hair moisture. Long story short: humectants help you attain moisture while sealants help you retain moisture.

  2. Charlene

    All great tips! It’s important to understand oil can not moisturize your hair alone…people really underestimate the power of just plain and simple water.


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