Many people like to seal their natural, afro-texured hair. Sealing is defined here as holding in the moisture on your hair. This helps to reduce breakage and split ends caused by chronic dryness. I like to seal my hair as well. Once I began to seal my ends, I was able to retain length on my hair. I use a three step strategy. I seal with water, oil then an emulsified cream.
The cuticles on the hair strand operate like a vent. The cuticles lift and then lower. Cuticles lift naturally from certain products such as with soaps and surfactants. Cuticles are then lowered from the perfect balanced vinegar rinse and other conditioning types of rinses.
When you have finished washing and conditioning your hair, ideally, you want to have cuticles that are lowered and closed tightly over the hair strand. Tightly closed cuticles reflect more light, and thus looks shinier and healthier.
With this in mind I like to seal my hair strategically after washing and conditioning.
- Apply Water Based Moisturizer - Directly to the freshly cleansed and washed hair. My concoction usually has panthenol, aloe vera and water. Panthenol moisturizes the hair clear down to the scalp. This mix provides moisture and nutrition to the hair.
- Apply Oil Based Moisturizer - Directly over the water based moisturizer. It traps the water and nutrients on the hair shaft, slowing down the evaporation of the water based moisturizer. It keeps the moisture on the hair shaft longer.
- Apply Emulsified Based Moisturizer - You can usually recognize and emulsified based moisturize because it is usally thick. These are usually thickened with gums (guar gum, gum arabic, xanthum gum, etc) or waxes (beeswax, soy wax) or petrolatum (vaseline, hair grease) or un-petroleum jelly. I prefer the kind thickened with guar gum or the kind with plain old vaseline. Emulsified based moisturizers provide the best sealing properties. They do not stop the evaporation of moisture from the hair strand completely, but they slow it down considerably. Vaseline allows for the least amount of evaporation.