Blow-drying on high heat, flat ironing above 400 degrees, and frequently using a curling wand will zap the moisture from your curls and potentially lead to heat damage, which is irreversible. When using heat tools, it is important to use them at a low heat and seldom. For example, when using a flat iron you probably want to keep the temperature setting no higher than 375 degrees, but this varies by the width of your strands, as coarser hair can withstand higher heat. Consistently using a heat protectant will reduce the potential for thermal damage. But even with using a heat tools at low temperatures with a heat protectant, it is still risky to heat style frequently.
When dyeing your hair, it is inevitable that there will be a tactile difference between the color-treated hair and the virgin hair emerging from the scalp. Maintaining or enhancing your regimen with consistent deep conditioning, moisturizing, and protein treatments are great means of reducing the amount of dryness and potential breakage, but it does not alter the reality that the protein bonds in the hair have been permanently altered. Deep conditioning will impart moisture, moisturizers maintain that moisture, and protein treatments will temporarily strengthen the hair.
Read more: Does Natural Hair Need Proteins?
Cleansing and Deep Conditioning
Avoiding cleansers to combat dryness might be the exact opposite of what you need to do. Many women with textured hair still struggle to find cleansers that will not leave their hair feeling stripped. Cleansing the hair regularly is essential for proper maintenance, as it removes buildup from product, pollutants, and sebum. Not only that, but cleansing helps for the deep conditioner to penetrate more effectively for your hair to absorb and adsorb the most nutrients. If you co-wash, it is best to use a co-wash conditioner and not a daily conditioner, as co-wash conditioners are intentionally formulated with gentle surfactants to clean your hair.
Mineral oil, petrolatum oil, silicones, and sodium lauryl sulfate are the four main ingredients that have more drawbacks than benefits for textured hair. Both mineral oil and petrolatum oil coat the hair to seal in moisture, but they do not have humectant properties that allows moisture from the air to penetrate, thus suffocating your strands and clogging the pores on the scalp, which can cause dry hair and an agitated scalp. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a harsh surfactant that cleanses debris from the hair but also removes too many oils. Silicones add slip or lubrication for combing but can cause rapid buildup. If your products are not formulated with water-soluble silicones and you do not cleanse weekly, then the non-water soluble silicones can cause product buildup relatively quickly and which then creates dryness.
It is time for a trim. Split ends can be the result or a culmination of breakage, friction with fabric, excessive sun exposure, heat styling, and natural weathering. Split ends are inescapable, as the ends are the oldest part of the hair and can only maintain moisture for so long. Avoiding trims can cause the split to travel up the hair shaft and require a bigger trim, so make sure to schedule your appointments with your trusted beautician when your hair is in need.
Frequently wearing a hairstyle that exposes your ends (e.g. wash and go, twist out, picked afro, etc.) allows the moisture to deplete from your hair faster than it would if your ends were tucked and concealed. Like me, some naturals prefer to wear their hair loose, but if your goal is to retain more length, then consider wearing low manipulation or protective styles.
Cotton pillowcases absorb any and all moisture from your hair, so it is important to invest in a satin or silk pillowcase and/or bonnet or scarf. Protecting your hair at night is essential to eliminating dryness so that your moisturizing efforts are not done in vain. Also, by keeping your hair protected in a scarf or bonnet, you are preventing hair products from coming into contact with your faces and causing acne.
High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair has holes and gaps along the length of the hair. This can be a result of all the reasons listed above or genetics. The best means to care for high porosity hair is to incorporate protein treatments, gentle cleansers, and thick moisturizers in your regimen.
Read more: Top 15 Products for High Porosity Hair
What makes your hair dry?