A big concern among naturals, especially those with tighter textures, is brittle or hard hair. How does one attain softer hair? Here are six things that may help!
One primary way to achieve softer hair is to make sure that you stay properly hydrated. This is where it all begins. Our hair follicles/scalp feed off of what we take in our bodies which is why it’s so important to drink plenty of water in addition to eating healthy if you’re trying to attain healthy hair. Sufficient water intake is the first step towards hair that is soft and manageable.
Steaming is another way to give your hair just the right amount of hydration it needs. The heat opens up the hair cuticle allowing the water to penetrate the hair. In my experience, my hair is immediately softer after this process!
When cleansing your hair, refrain from using products containing sulfates which can strip the hair of moisture, leaving it feeling hard and brittle. Use a moisturizing shampoo or cleanser (like a shampoo bar or clay wash) and follow up with lukewarm or cool water to rinse. These types of cleansers are usually pH balanced and contain ingredients that will moisturize and soften the hair. Rinsing with cool water helps to seal the hair cuticle, making it smoother.
In keeping with the idea of pH balance, a rinse of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) or even Coconut Milk can help bring your strands back to the proper levels and get rid of that rough feeling, leaving you with smoother, softer hair.
Oil Rinse is another rinse that softens hair. You can read more about Oil Rinses here
Read More about Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses
After cleansing with your moisturizing shampoo, following up with a moisturizing deep conditioner will further moisturize the hair and put back what the hair may have lost. Like your moisturizing cleanser, these will usually contain other elements that promote and maintain moisture. Using heat along with your deep conditioner will help open your hair cuticle so that your conditioner can penetrate deep down into the strands.
Moisturize and Seal
Once you’ve cleansed and conditioned, continue the process by adding a water-based leave-in conditioner. These no-rinse products will set your hair up for success when used on slightly damp hair right after washing. Seal in that moisture with a natural emollient like an oil (grapeseed, almond, jojoba, etc.) or a butter (like shea or mango). Remember, oils and butters do not moisturize and soften hair on their own. The key is moisture (liquid/water) first, then emollients to retain it.
In between washes, if necessary, use a spray bottle to lightly spritz your strands with water and follow the same procedure of layering your moisturizing product and sealing.
Low-Maintenance/ Protective Styles to Retain Moisture
Protective styles are stressed so much because they do a fantastic job at helping the hair retain moisture. These styles will typically tuck in your ends, the oldest part of the hair, keeping them protected. Secure your hair in a low-maintenance style and you should see a difference in how much moisture you’ve retained, resulting in softer hair.
Have you suffered from dry hair at one time or another? What steps did you take to overcome it?