Daily moisture may not be for you
1.Does your hair shrink to a third or less of its full length when wet?
If your hair is 6 inches long but when wet and allowed to shrink with no restriction goes to 2 inches or less, you are in the category of high shrinkage. Hair with high shrinkage will tend not to form clumped up curls and instead each individual hair coiling down has a tendency to tangle and intertwine with other strands.
2. How does moisture affect high shrinkage hair?
If hair is in a free and open style, this type of shrinkage will encourage complex knots where several strands interlock when moisture (water or a water containing product) is applied and the hair is subsequently manipulated with fingers, a comb or brush into a style. These complex knots are entirely preventable but when they do form, they can be difficult to undo and need to be cut off hence stunting progress.
3. What if hair is not free but in a protective style?
In a braided or twisted situation, hair will still shrink although in a more controlled manner therefore for example 6 inches may shrink to 4 inches instead of 2. There is however a potential shrinkage related problem, a term called meshing where several strands within the twist or braid intertwine. This is the reason why some people can detangle hair and braid or twist it but after leaving the style for a few weeks, the hair requires quite a lot of detangling during the takedown. If the style is left in place for long, matting is also a possibility.
4. Should you completely avoid moisture on high shrinkage hair?
No, it is not the case that you should avoid using water but rather you may benefit greatly from spreading out the sessions. If you can moisturise once a week or once every 3-4 days, you will be able to keep your hair in a more stretched out style with minimal shrinkage which is beneficial for people with high shrinkage hair who want to grow it out longer.
5. How will hair get moisture if you are only moisturising once a week?
The purpose of moisture is to help hair be more flexible and this is most important during manipulation. If your hair is generally in a protective style, you are not manipulating the individual strands on a daily basis but your hair does need to moisturised when you are taking down or putting in the style. Finding a good leave in conditioner and routine based on your needs is also key e.g some people advocate for heavy cream moisturisers and light oils or light water/glycerine mixes with heavy castor oil or indeed a variation of these combinations.
6. Who will benefit most and who will benefit least from not moisturising daily?
If your hair clumps up naturally, daily moisture is not a problem, you will encourage clumping and reduce tangling by using water based products frequently. Avoiding water based products can cause your hair to frizz and tangle, so water is really for you. If your hair feels dry and brittle because water causes it to shrink up tightly, you are in the class who may benefit from not using daily moisture. Avoiding this complete, tight shrinkage is the key to preventing unnecessary tangling and breakage.
The object of this article is not to be controversial but rather to again encourage every reader to think of their hair individually and not follow rules that may not suit your hair. It is not written with the intent of making people gather a complex about water or indeed have people ducking out of the rain, but rather to encourage a different way of thinking for those who need it.