22 Best Methods To Keep Natural Hair Moisturized & Hydrated

This might take a little getting used to. But natural hair is dry. This means that our scalp produces natural oils that do not slide down our hair shafts easily as it would for people with straight hair. So these natural oils tend to just sit on the scalp, building up and being all flaky.

Then there is another set of people whose scalps don't produce as much natural oils/sebum as they should and this causes dry scalp.

This is where a good moisturizing routine comes into the picture. Moisturizing your natural hair helps to seal in moisture into your hair strands, so your kinky curls stay hydrated and flourishing. To keep those curls popping, here are 22 best methods to keep your natural hair moisturized.

  1. Your hair needs water
  2. Wash your protective styles
  3. Oil your scalp
  4. Use the hot oil treatment
  5. Moisturize your natural hair with sealants
  6. Avoid over styling your hair
  7. The LOC method
  8. Using the LCO method
  9. Use satin pillowcases and bonnets
  10. Moisturizing with just oil and water.
  11. Only use water based moisturizers
  12. Prepooing your natural hair
  13. Find out what your hair needs
  14. Use the maximum hydration method
  15. Trim those split ends off
  16. Avoid applying heat on your natural hair
  17. Deep conditioning your natural hair
  18. Don't wash your hair everyday
  19. Do the wash and go method
  20. Protect your natural curls
  21. The baggy method
  22. Get over the hand in hair syndrome

1.  Your Hair Needs Water

Water is a very important element for your hair.  Your natural hair needs water, the way you need the popcorn to sit through a movie. You should spritz water over your hair daily, paying special attention to the ends. Water is a basic moisturizing agent for the hair and you should never run a comb through your hair without applying some water on it first. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water each day also helps to keep your natural hair moisturized.

2. Wash your protective styles

A protective style can become counter-intuitive and damage your hair if not properly cared for. You should wear your protective styles for a maximum of eight weeks and cleanse your scalp with a light shampoo every four weeks after each installation. When you follow a cleansing and moisturizing routine for your protective styles, this prevents against dry hair and your natural hair can retain its moisture more.

What you need to wash your protective styles

  1. Sulfate-free shampoo
  2. Water
  3. Conditioner

How to wash your protective styles

  1. Wet your hair.
  2. Apply the shampoo to your scalp first and massage gently to loosen the product build-up. 
  3. Pull the shampoo through the length of your hair if you have on twists or smoothen it down the length of your hair if you are wearing cornrows
  4. Do this a second time to cleanse properly.
  5. Rinse out thoroughly.
  6. Apply conditioner to your hair, massage into your hair, and scalp gently.
  7. Rinse thoroughly.

3. Oil your scalp

Your natural hair needs oil, a reasonable quantity of it to properly moisturize your hair. If you have a super oily scalp, you should probably skip this part. But if you produce a very little quantity of sebum, then you may need to add an extra bit of oil to your scalp. You can do this by using some natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil, or black castor oil. But applying oil to your scalp every day is a big no-no and not very effective. Also, remember that oil is not a moisturizer and you need to apply a light water-based mist to your scalp before the oiling process to get in some moisture into your hair.

4. Use the Hot Oil Treatment

This is a great way to pamper your natural hair. The hot oil treatment softens and strengthens your hair while making sure it feels super hydrated and moisturized.  This routine is best for the driest times because our hair tends to dry out faster. The hot oil treatment also adds an extra bit of shine to your natural hair.

What you need for a hot oil treatment on your natural hair

  1. Castor oil
  2. Grape seed oil
  3. Olive oil
  4. Avocado oil
  5. Applicator bottle
  6. Shower cap

How to do a hot oil treatment on your natural hair

  1. Mix together the castor oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, and avocado oil into the applicator bottle and shake. You can also use any natural oils of your choice.
  2. Boil water and pour it into a mug or bowl while it is still hot. Insert the applicator bottle into the hot water and allow it to heat up for 5 minutes.
  3. Allow the oil mixture to cool off a bit before application.
  4. Part your hair into sections.
  5. Apply the oil to your scalp and hair, starting with your ends first and working your way up.
  6. Gently massage your scalp with your fingers, this helps to increase blood circulation to your hair follicles which will stimulate hair growth.
  7. After you are done with this, put each section into twists or bantu knots.
  8. Cover your hair with a shower cap overnight.
  9. You can wash your hair the next day.

@Mel's Avenue will show you with this tutorial, how to do the hot oil treatment on your natural hair:

5. Moisturize Your Natural Hair With Sealants

Sealants contain butters or oils that help to seal in moisture into your natural hair and keep your hair shafts soft and supple. Your sealants do the work of smoothing your hair cuticles. This process of sealing/smoothing of the hair cuticles is a very important step of this routine because it helps to lock in moisture into the hair.

What you need to moisturize your natural hair with sealants

  1. A sealant of your choice
  2. Water

How to moisturize your natural hair with sealants

  1. Start with freshly washed hair or damp hair.
  2. When you put your damp hair into twists, water becomes your first moisturizer.
  3. Apply a good sealant to your natural hair thoroughly and you are good to go.
  4. Enjoy your soft and moisturized hair.

6.  Avoid Overstyling Your Natural Hair

Natural hair styling products can dry out your hair, build upon your scalp and weigh down your hair. Having to touch and style your natural hair too often can cause hair damage and breakage. Give your hair a break by wearing styles that don't require so many styling products or switch between high and low manipulation styles. This will ensure that your hair stays moisturized and hydrated for days.

7. The LOC Method

The LOC method involves the layering of products on natural hair for maximum water retention. LOC means liquid/leave-in, oil, and cream. For the liquid/leave-in, you can use either a water-based leave-in conditioner or just water. The oil is used to seal in the moisture you have absorbed into your hair, by hydrating your hair with water. You can use olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or castor oil. The natural hair cream/butter is for closing your hair cuticles after hydrating or moisturizing your hair.

What you need for the LOC method

  1. Water or leave-in conditioner
  2. Natural oils
  3. Natural hair cream

How to do the LOC method for your natural hair

  1. Start with freshly washed hair if you decide to use a leave-in conditioner
  2. If you use water, part your hair into sections and spritz all over with water.
  3. Follow up with your favorite oil and smoothen the oil down your hair gently.
  4. Apply your cream to each section of hair and smoothen it down your hair as well.
  5. Put your hair into twists and allow them to dry.

Check out this video by @NaturallyCurly on how to moisturize your natural hair using the LOC method:


8. Using the LCO Method

If the LOC method doesn't work for your hair texture, then an alternative should be the LCO method. The LCO method stands for liquid/leave-in, cream and oil. This is also a way of sealing in moisture on your natural hair. 

What you need to do the LCO method

  1. Leave in / water
  2. Cream
  3. Natural oil

How to do the LCO method for your natural oil

  1. Start with freshly washed hair and apply your leave-in conditioner thoroughly.
  2. For dry hair, spritz hair all over with water.
  3. Divide your hair into sections.
  4. Apply the natural hair cream from root to tip, smoothing it down evenly.
  5. Work the oil into each section of hair evenly to seal in moisture into your hair shaft.
  6. Put into twists and allow to air dry.

@Tyiece has a great tutorial on how to moisturize your natural hair using the LCO method:

9. Use Satin Pillowcases And Bonnets

Sleeping with cotton scarves or pillowcases will not only damage your hair or cause split ends. They strip your hair strands of its much-needed moisture which then results to dry and dull looking natural hair. If you have to sleep with a scarf, invest in a silk one, a satin pillowcase, or better still get a satin bonnet, which would stay firmly on your head overnight. The satin helps to keep moisture that is already in your hair from getting out like it would with a cotton pillowcase or scarf and prevent snags or split ends from friction.

10. Moisturizing with just oil and water

Water is a very important way of absorbing moisture into your hair and oil acts as a sealant to lock in moisture into your natural hair. A combination of both oil and water keeps your hair super hydrated and moisturized when you apply it daily. 

What you need to moisturize your natural hair with just oil and water

  1. Coconut oil or any oil of your choice
  2. Water

How to moisturize your natural hair with just oil and water

  1. Apply some oil around your scalp.
  2. Part your hair into sections and spritz water on each section.
  3. Detangle each section with a wide-tooth comb, starting with your ends and working your way up.
  4. Apply coconut oil down the length of your hair even.
  5. Put into a twist.
  6. Repeat for other sections.

Watch this video tutorial by @NaturalHairObsession on how to moisturize your natural hair with oil and water:

11. Only Use Water-Based Moisturizers

When shopping for a hair moisturizer in the natural hair products aisle, be on the lookout for water-based moisturizers only. Water is a major moisture inducing agent so you need to find a moisturizing product with water as its first ingredient. What this does is that together with water and other natural ingredients like oils and creams which your moisturizer comes with, helps to keep moisture locked into the hair shafts. You should use your moisturizer daily to achieve well defined and refreshed natural curls over time. Some water-based moisturizers for natural hair you can try out include; Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, or Cantu Shea Butter Curling Cream.

12. Pre-pooing Your Natural Hair

A pre-poo is an oil treatment routine for washing natural hair to increase moisture and make the hair more manageable during wash day. Usually, when you shampoo your natural hair, the shampoo lifts oil from the surface of your hair and makes you feel like all the moisture has been stripped out of your hair. A pre-poo is applied to the hair prior to shampooing and conditioning of natural hair. A pre-poo adds extra moisture to your curls, protects your hair follicles, makes the detangling process a lot easier, and leaves you with soft, shiny hair.

What you need to pre-poo your natural hair

  1. Coconut oil
  2. Applicator bottle
  3. Shower cap
  4. Natural hair gel

How to pre-poo your natural hair

  1. Part your hair into small sections.
  2. With the applicator bottle, apply coconut oil to your scalp and work it down the length of your hair, making sure to touch each hair strand. The coconut oil penetrates the hair cuticles and keeps it from expanding excessively when wet.
  3. Put your hair into sections and massage your scalp gently with the natural hair gel.
  4. Then cover your hair with a shower cap overnight.
  5. Take out the twists the day after and shampoo your hair.

@SheilaNdinda has a detailed tutorial on how to pre-poo your natural hair:

13. Find Out What Your Hair Needs

The key to moisturizing your natural hair the right way and keeping it moisturized is to find out what your hair needs. You need to know what type of hair texture you have, and to determine the porosity of your hair. Porosity is defined as the ability of your hair to absorb moisture. Your hair can either have high porosity or low position. When your hair is high porosity, this means that your hair is able to absorb moisture easily. Low porosity hair means that your hair doesn't absorb moisture easily. If your hair usually takes a lot of time to get wet or dry, you have low porosity hair. You have high porosity hair if you color and style your hair with the heat often. 

Another way to check your hair porosity is by placing a strand of product-free hair in a clear cup of water and observing. If your hair sinks, then it means that your cuticles are lifted, and you have high porosity hair. But if your hair floats to the top and remains there, then this just means that your cuticles are tightly sealed, and you have low porosity curls. If your strands fall somewhere in the middle, your hair porosity is normal. Knowing your hair porosity helps you to figure out which products will work best for your hair.

14. Use the Maximum Hydration Method

The maximum hydration method is recommended for people who tend to have excessively dry natural hair. It is specially designed to moisturize your natural curls properly and keep the moisture locked in. With the maximum hydration method, your hair will be able to retain moisture really well and become less prone to breakage, tangles, frizz, or shrinkage. This routine has to be done every day for a week in order to open up your hair cuticles and allow it to absorb a lot of moisture back into the hair. As soon as your hair feels hydrated, then you can repeat the routine every three days.

What you need to do the maximum hydration method for your natural hair

  1. Apple cider vinegar
  2. Sulfate-free conditioner
  3. Leave-in conditioner
  4. Coconut oil
  5. Bentonite clay
  6. Honey
  7. Natural hair gel
  8. Shower cap

How to do the maximum hydration method for your natural hair

  1. Wash and section your hair into four parts
  2. Clarify your hair with the apple cider vinegar mixed with the coconut, spritz it over the sections of your hair thoroughly. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you can also use baking soda
  3. Cover up with a shower cap and let it sit in your hair for up to 10-30 minutes.
  4. Rinse out.
  5. Then you have to co-wash and detangle your hair. 
  6. Split your hair into sections again, then apply the sulfate-free conditioner to each section and gently detangle with your fingers.
  7. Cover up with a shower cap and let the conditioner sit in for about 20 minutes before you rinse.
  8. For the clay rinse, mix 1 cup of Bentonite clay with 2-3 cups of water, honey, and coconut oil.
  9. Apply the mixture to your hair in sections.
  10. Cover up with a shower cap and let it sit for 10-20 minutes.
  11. Then rinse thoroughly.
  12. While your hair is still soaking wet part your hair into sections and apply the leave-in conditioner
  13. Rake the conditioner gently through your hair using your fingers.
  14. Then coat each section of hair with the natural hair gel, raking it through your hair gently.
  15. You can also apply coconut oil to your natural curls for a final finish.

You can check out this video by @YeniAremu on how to do the Maximum Hydration Method for moisturizing your natural hair:

15. Trim Those Split Ends Off

Because natural hair is dry naturally it is more prone to frequent breakage and becomes unmanageable. Those split ends to make it easy for moisture to escape your hair shafts, so you may need to trim your natural hair regularly to get rid of split ends, brittle ends, and single strand knots. Over time this would help your natural hair grow and retain moisture. 

What you need to trim your natural hair

  1. A pair of hair shears/scissors
  2. Wide-tooth comb
  3. Denman brush
  4. Fine tooth comb

How to trim your natural hair

  1. Ensure that your hair is damp and not wet.
  2. Part your hair into smaller sections.
  3. Then detangle each section of hair using your fingers.
  4. Comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb and then the Denman brush, going from tips to the roots.
  5. Comb with a fine-tooth comb too.
  6. As soon as you spot resistance at the ends, cut off those ends that knot when you comb with your scissors or hair shears.
  7. When you cut off the damaged ends, watch your comb glide easily through your hair.
  8. Put each section you worked on, into a twist, and cut off the little tail that's tapering at the end of the twist.
  9. Repeat for other sections of hair.

16. Avoid Applying Heat On Your Natural Hair

This can't be stated enough, always keep heat away from your natural hair at all cost. Applying heat to your natural hair, styling your hair with heat, using flat irons or blow dryers on a regular will dry out your hair faster and strip the moisture out of your hair. And when this moisture is gone, it might take a while for the natural oils to remoisturize your hair. If you have to style your hair with heat, use a heat protectant spray first and a lower heat setting. Or you can explore alternative heatless methods of defining your curls instead.

17. Deep Conditioning Your Natural Hair

After every wash, conditioning the hair serves as a way of adding moisture back into the hair shafts. The deep conditioning process involves raising the hair cuticles with heat so your deep conditioner mix can penetrate the hair shaft with all the natural ingredients and allow your hair to retain extra moisture for days. Deep conditioning your natural hair helps to prevent hair damage, dry/dull hair, and restores your natural shine. Ensure that you deep condition your natural hair at least once a week.

What you need to deep condition your natural hair

  1. Shea butter
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Honey
  4. Olive oil
  5. Castor oil
  6. Conditioner
  7. Eucalyptus oil
  8. Shower cap
  9. Wide-tooth comb

How to deep condition your natural hair

  1. Scoop two tablespoons of shea butter into a bowl.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of honey. Mix it together and heat over hot water.
  3. Get another bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of castor oil, 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil and 2 tablespoons of coconut
  4. Blend this mixture properly.
  5. After you are done add the conditioner and blend for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the first mixture of shea butter, coconut oil, and honey into the second bowl 
  7. Blend the mixture properly.
  8. Now, divide your hair into sections and finger detangle.
  9. Then wash your hair.
  10. Add the deep conditioner to your hair in sections, finger detangling during the process.
  11. After you have coated your natural hair thoroughly with the deep conditioner, cover it up with a shower cap, and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.
  12. Rinse out your hair and comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb while it is still wet.
  13. You can put your hair into twists or style as desired.

@LovetteJallow has a great tutorial here, on how to deep condition your natural hair:

18. Don't Wash Your Hair Everyday

You don't have to wash your hair every day when you shower. This might not sound strange to you but washing your hair every day is actually counterproductive for your hair. The more you wash your hair, the drier it will become. It is recommended that you wash your hair with shampoo only twice a week. When you wash your hair, use a sulfate-free shampoo and apply it mostly on your scalp, while your conditioner should be applied mostly on your ends. You can apply a leave-in conditioner after washing your hair or leave a deep conditioner in your hair overnight. Co-washing is a great way to keep your natural curls hydrated and prevent so much frizz, instead of using shampoo always.

19. Do the Wash and Go Method

The wash and go method involves washing your hair and letting it air dry without needing to manipulate it into styles. Achieving super moisturized and hydrated curls which will last for 3 days or more begins with using the wash and go method. The wash and go method get water into your hair as much as possible and increases both your hydration and moisture levels.

What you need to do a wash and go method on natural hair

  1. Sulfate-free shampoo
  2. Conditioner
  3. Leave-in conditioner
  4. Wide-tooth comb
  5. Shower cap
  6. Natural hair oil
  7. Curling custard or styling gel
  8. Satin/silk scarf

How to do a wash and go method for natural hair

  1. Drench your hair completely in water, so your curl pattern begins to show.
  2. Apply a good portion of shampoo to your scalp. Massage your scalp with your fingers and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your hair. Slick it down the length of your hair from roots to ends.
  4. Finger detangle during the process or use a wide-tooth comb to gently remove shed hair and knots.
  5. Cover up with a shower cap and allow the conditioner to sit in your hair for at least 10 minutes, then rinse out the conditioner thoroughly.
  6. Apply the leave-in conditioner and saturate your hair very well with it. This nurtures your hair and keeps it healthy.
  7. Massage your favorite natural hair oil throughout all your hair strands and gently wet your hair until it's dripping a little.
  8. Part your hair into smaller sections and apply a healthy amount of the curling custard or styling gel to your hair, working it down from root to tip and using your fingers to separate the curls.
  9. Shake your hair vigorously to separate the curls and add volume to your hair.
  10. Allow to air dry or dry overnight. Never use a hairdryer to dry your hair.
  11. Pull your hair into a puff and cover securely with a satin/silk scarf to preserve your curls overnight.
  12. Take off the scarf and spritz your hair with a leave-in conditioner the next day to refresh your curls. 
  13. Then style as desired.

@GloriaAnn shares her wash and go method for moisturizing her natural hair in this video:

20. Protect Your Natural Curls

Natural elements like harsh winds or the sun can damage your hair, causing it to become brittle, dry, and then break off. To keep your natural hair moisturized you will need to protect your natural curls from these elements. When going out on a hot, sunny day, wear a cap or spray your hair with a UV protection spray. On colder days, just wear a hat or hood to keep your hair from drying out. If you have to go swimming, apply a rich conditioning cream to your hair and wear a swim cap to prevent your hair from drying out in chlorinated water. When you travel by road, cover up your natural hair with a scarf to avoid dust getting into your hair and drying it out. For extra hydration and to keep your natural hair moisturized, apply a rich moisturizing conditioner during the coldest time of the year.

21. The Baggy Method

The baggy method is a popular natural hair technique for refreshing your curls and locking in moisture to your hair. This method is a great way to replenish moisture in your hair overnight and to achieve softer, moisturized hair.

There are two ways to go about the baggy method in order to retain moisture, you can either apply the product to your ends only or apply the product all over your hair. However, when using this method you need to ensure that you let your hair dry completely. This is because it is unhealthy to allow your hair to be constantly wet for an extended period of time. The baggy method is also guaranteed to promote hair growth.

What you need to do the baggy method

  1. Your favorite moisturizer or conditioner. 
  2. A plastic bag or plastic shower cap.
  3. Headband

How to do the baggy method

  1. Spritz your hair with water so it is slightly damp or just start with freshly washed hair.
  2. Apply your moisturizer or conditioner over your hair thoroughly.
  3. Cover your hair with the plastic shower cap and secure it with a headband. Let it dry overnight. The water, moisturizer, and body heat will help to condition and moisturize your hair overnight.

@TheGlovedNatural shares a step by step tutorial on how to use the baggy method to moisturize your natural hair:

22. Get Over The Hand in Hair Syndrome

Don't be the natural hair queen with the "hand-in-hair syndrome". While it is oddly satisfying and soothing to always want to touch your hair. Don't do it. Keep your hands out of your hair sis. Touching your natural curls all the time will make your hair dry out faster and strip your hair of all its moisture eventually. Get over the hand-in-hair syndrome and keep your natural hair moisturized.