The name of the curly hair game is moisturizing. While our hair needs to be strong, keeping it moisturized is just as important. With coily, curly, and wavy hair, it is harder for sebum to travel from the scalp to the ends. While our strands crave moisture, it seems the curly hair market is shifting to creating more leave-in conditioners. What gives? If this is the new trend, it would make sense to learn more. 

What are hair moisturizers?

Moisture is a property of water, often in trace amounts and it refers to the amount of water vapor present. Water is the number one moisturizer, as it increases our hair’s pliability and elasticity, staving off dryness and breakage. Moisturizers are water-based to provide hydration, and despite what many may think, oils do not moisturize the hair. Oils merely seal moisture in, which makes them great for applying after using a moisturizer. Moisturizers can be used on wet or dry hair and its main purpose is to attract moisture and retain it.

What is a leave-in conditioner?

Traditional leave-in conditioners are formulated with strengthening properties like ceramides and hydrolyzed proteins to temporarily repair the hair’s cuticle; there are some that are protein-free.  It is the lightest conditioner in comparison to a daily conditioner or deep conditioner and aids in elasticity, hydration, and manageability. Unlike daily conditioners and deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners are not meant to be rinsed off and can replace daily conditioners for convenience purposes. They are also used to refresh dry hair in between wash sessions.

Why are moisturizers losing space on the shelves?

Moisturizers and leave-ins, although sometimes similar, have different focuses. One would think that they both would be useful and popular but in recent years we are seeing more leave-in conditioners. Personally, I rarely use a moisturizer. Once I implemented the curly girl method, a leave-in conditioner was all I needed to keep my hair moisturized. I use them on wet hair and even if my hair is dry. I also spritz my hair with my lavender and water mix before applying the leave-in or simply jump in the shower and saturate my hair.


Since damage is cumulative and more curlies are experimenting with their texture like heat styling, color, and protective styling, using products that contains hydrating and reparative properties makes sense. Kill two birds with one stone. If you are more protein-sensitive, then maybe moisturizers are best suited for your strands. Brands know we need moisture so they are pumping water and humectants into every product, which is great. Regimens are being creating with moisture-rich cleansers, conditioners, and even stylers to combat dryness in every step. It seems like hair moisturizer are slowly losing its place in our regimens for products with dual purposes like leave-in conditioners.

Do you use a hair moisturizer? Why or why not?

Sabrina Perkins


Sabrina, founder of and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.

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