Finding a good moisturizer for your hair is not easy. But finding a moisturizer that works on textured and natural hair can be even harder. Tightly coiled and kinky hair types are often prone to dryness due to the structure of their hair. The naturally spiral shape of their locks makes it difficult for the hair’s oils to travel down the hair shaft, leaving your strands looking thirsty and in need of a major hydration boost. As someone with both low-porosity and coarse 4C hair, I’m often wondering what’s the right brew of ingredients to revive my dehydrated strands. Well, I answered my own question—and maybe yours, too.
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What to look for in a moisturizer for textured hair
For one, you definitely want to make sure the ingredients contain some humectants (compounds that help draw in water) or occlusives (compounds that help to protect and soothe your hair). According to hair expert and cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah, products that have aloe vera and glycerin (a natural humectant and moisturizing agent that helps the skin) can work wonders for those who struggle to sufficiently hydrate their curls. Additionally, some type of oil or butter helps lock in moisture and bind other hydrating ingredients together to create a really effective elixir for your hair. “Other hair types don’t need oil and butter, but textured hair does. It preserves the hydration and makes our hair shine,” Abdullah says.
For London-based hair stylist and founder of hair-care line 3 More Inches, Michael Van Clarke, shea butter checks all the boxes to help textured hair. “Coarse or coily hair will need a heavier coating on the surface, and this is where natural butters can help,” says Van Clarke. “Shea butter is a good humectant, emollient and occlusive ingredient.”
For some of the best hydrating solutions to add to your hair-care routine, check out these picks below.
Best moisturizers for textured hair
tgin Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer — $14.50
If your curls have been feeling bone dry lately, this cream is like a little oasis you can coat your hair with to bring it back to life. Its creamy formula latches onto your locks, covering each strand with a healthy dose of vitamin E oil and cocoa butter. Plus, the cream also works as a styling gel to slick back flyaways and to create twist-outs and braids.
Mielle Organics Avocado Moisturizing Hair Milk — $13.00
Like a tall glass of water, but for your hair. This is the Mielle Organics Avocado Moisturizing Hair Milk in a nutshell. It’s all about nourishing your locks from root to tip, thanks to ingredients like avocado and lavender. Just pour some onto your hands and rub it gently into your hair to get an instant hydration boost.
SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Moisturizing Conditioner — $11.00
Any time I stop wearing my knotless braids and have to wash my natural hair, this is one of the few conditioners that actually softens my hair in its afro-natural state. And Abdullah agrees. The secret? Its hydrating powers come from a combo of shea butter, sea kelp and argan oil. The formula also isn’t too thick and doesn’t lather as you work it through your scalp. Plus, you can use it as both a leave-in conditioner, or as a deep cleanser on wash days.
As I Am Double Butter Cream — $10.00
Originally $15, now $10
If you’re struggling with split ends and breakage due to excessive dryness, the As I Am Double Butter Cream is here to the rescue. As soon as you apply it, the cream works immediately as a buffer to keep your strands from losing more moisture. The formula also has a ton of pro-vitamin B5, which helps to build up your hair’s strength and keep it hydrated 24/7.
Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave In Moisturizer — $12.00
What makes this Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave In Moisturizer a win for textured hair is how it can absorb into your hair. The moisturizer’s milk-like consistency allows it to sink deeply into your hair’s roots while keeping away frizz in the process. And with key ingredients like shea butter, soybean oil, and agave nectar (a natural humectant), your curls can get their bounce back again in no time.
Bread Beauty Supply Hair Mask Creamy Deep Conditioner — $28.00
For the time when you want to treat yourself or give your hair some extra love, consider using this hair conditioner from Bread Beauty Supply. The brand focuses on issues related to curly and textured hair like excessive dryness, roughness, and frizz. And this hair mask is no different. It’s designed to give your hair a total reset and make your strands luxuriously soft.
Alikay Naturals Moisture Rich Hair Parfait — $15.00
Whether it’s the cool crisp air of fall, or the humidity of summer, the weather really can impact the state of our hair and its moisture. And if the temperatures haven’t been to kind to your tresses this year, the Alikay Naturals Moisture Rich Hair Parfait can help give your hair the nourishing treatment it needs with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Just add some to your locks and you’re good to go. No wash required.
Retro Rich Company Royal Roots Leave In Conditioner — $20.00
Another powerful leave-in conditioner to add to your beauty cabinet is this one from Retro Rich Company. It’s a dense cream formula that uses ingredients like aloe leaf, argan oil, and shea butter to improve dryness, dullnes and elasticity. Just be sure to wet your hair before you apply to help boost the product’s hydrating effect.
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