Are you unsure yourself? Keep reading this guide to find out...
In the natural hair community, moisture and hydration are commonly used interchangeably. As confusing as it may be, let’s try and settle the difference between hydration and moisture… then we can figure out what your hair needs!
What is the difference between hydration and moisture?
Hydration is the process of applying water to the hair and involves penetrating the hair strand. It is meant to increase the absorption of water in your hair follicles, and increasing the amount of water in your hair. The heightened level of hydration makes your hair soft, bouncy, and strong, as opposed to dry, frizzy, scratchy, and brittle.
However, as we all know, hydrating your hair isn't enough. You can simply take a bath and soak your hair with water, which is ultimate hydration- but that water will eventually dry out. We need a way to lock that water into our hair and prevent moisture loss. This is an important distinction...
Moisturization is the process of locking water or hydration in the hair shaft, which is focused on the surface of the hair strand. This can be done with any product, process, or tool that will slow down water evaporating or leaving your hair.
So while hydration is about moisture absorption, moisturization is about moisture retention. This means hydrators will normally contain humectants while moisturizers contain sealants or anti-humectants. You need to both hydrate and moisturize in order to keep your hair from getting dry.
Hydration should come first and moisture second. After all, you can't lock something in that isn’t already there!
How do I hydrate my hair?
To hydrate your hair and increase the water that gets absorbed in your hair, you'll need a humectant. Humectants carry and attract water. Popular humectants are glycerin and honey. These humectants can be found in NaturAll's Fresh Frozé Treatment Deep Conditioners, which are perfect to enrich your hair with hydration. Another excellent product to hydrate your hair is NaturAll's thirst-quenching, Hydrating Moisturizer.
How do I moisturize my hair?
Once you've hydrated your hair with a water or humectant-based product, you need something to seal in that moisture. The most popular anti-humectants and sealants are natural oils and butters, which lock moisture into your hair and keep your hair moisturized throughout the day. NaturAll's Avocado + Kiwi Oil Blend is a great lightweight option.
Why are hydration and moisture important for curly hair?
Hydration will not only provide moisture to your hair but it will improve your hair’s ability to absorb water, which will keep it hydrated for longer. You want to keep your hair moisturized so that you can retain all of that hydration. When your hair lacks or loses its moisture, it becomes dry, frizzy, brittle, and scratchy. It doesn't look good or feel good, and it can quickly become damaged in this dry state.
But how do you know if your hair is dehydrated or lacking moisture? Dehydration occurs when your hair has no moisture in it and needs to be hydrated with water. This results in brittle, weak hair that is prone to breakage. If your hair is experiencing extreme dryness or becomes dry quickly, then your hair is most likely dehydrated. If your hair is tangled and feels dry, your hair needs to be moisturized.
Did you know there was a difference between “hydration” and “moisturization? Let us know in the comments below!