how do I get my hair to retain as much moisture as possible

I believe my hair is between 4a and 4c, it is extremely soft and doesn't hold I to styles such as Bantu knots or twist outs really well..when i do twist outs it is very thin and awkward also becomes extremely dry no matter how much oil, curling cremes, detangling spray, etc. that I use on it..when I do styles I want them to have a silky look to them and remain neat but after about an hour I have an extremely dry Afro Angela Davis look going can I achieve silky, moisturized, elongated curls?

3 Answers

make sure you are using a good deep conditioner at least twice a week for your hair type.  This should help you find one that you like in the product section. Also follow the advice on this article: the part about washing out your conditioner with cold water and pinning it up when it has conditioner applied while you do the rest of your business in the shower.Don't shampoo more than once a week, however you'll probably need to deep condition more.  
to get better hold with your curl-sets (twists, bantus, etc) I would suggest setting your hair when it's really wet and saturated with product to get the most definition. Just like you would do for a roller set. And of course allow it to fully dry before un-twisting. Try not to separate the hair after it's untwisted to maintain the definition.  If that means you have to make smaller twists originally then do so. Also you might find you like flat-twist outs better than twist outs on your hair. 
You need to nurse your hair to healthiness  so you can truly know if you hair actually too dry or damaged to show your curls, or you in fact have no definite curls. You hair might be damaged by the frequent dryness, and if you have had a dye or utilize a flat iron or heat products, that could have had a major effect on your hair.It is essential that you nurse your hair back into health before trying to apply heat or wearing styles that could call for to much manipulation. Moisture manipulation as well.If your products make your hair dry, toss 'em. If your conditioner does not moisturize your hair, toss it too. There is a reason there are many different kinda of shampoos, conditioners and styling products. What may work for one person may not work for you because your body's makeup may be different. The risk with all of this is money. Although, some of the cheapest products can be the best. Don't be afraid to try different products. Besides, a lot of stores give refunds :)You say your hair isn't soft, so it sounds like a dryness issue and possibly a trimming one as well.So put down the defining creams and pick up something nourishing such as an oil , which does good in afro type hair and if you didn't know, water works well as a moisturizer, alone or used with products and don't forget the scalp! You should NOT try to repel water, you NEED  it.  Deep condition your hair! Deep conditioning can bring your hair to life and heal it as well. Many curly girl a and afro girls are more than appreciative of deep conditioning. Try a protein treatment as well.Also, Have you had your hair trimmed in last month or two? If not, that could explain some of the dryness. Split and knotted hair can damage other parts of the hair and cause it to feel rough and dry. All of this work can take time. It could be months until your hair is healthy. Just be patient and don't give up or be lazy with your hair. Treat it like a baby!