Question of the Day: Water Dries Your Hair Out?

Q: Hi, I just had a natural stylist tell me that plain water dries your hair out. It sounded counterintuitive but maybe that’s because without anything else the moisture of the water is zapped from your hair plus anything else you had so it’s drier than before but a water based product with something else in it has a greater chance of not vanishing from the hair.

A: Yep, that’s pretty much correct. Water moisturizes our hair, but when water dries, it’s gone, so there is no more moisture unless you have added a conditioner to coat your hair. This is why I kind of give a yuckity yuck to naked hair (no offense), I always use a leave-in at least. Also, water rinses the sebum (oil) from your hair, so if you are not replacing that sebum and constantly rinsing, your hair is not going to be protected. I love water based products because they make the product easier to absorb, but besides that, water isn’t going to help you much on dry hair.



11 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Water Dries Your Hair Out?

  1. Saila says:

    “Naked hair” is not really “naked” unless there was no RO condish used. If there’s a heavy/effective RO used, it should coat and protect the hair even after it has been washed out. Butters, oils, cones, and even fatty alcohols are supposed to coat the hair. Granted, results will vary depending on the head of hair.

    • HB says:

      This is true, but for my hair I do not think that leaving the conditioner on for 30 seconds is going to coat my hair enough. Also, a lot of people shampoo and do not use a RO.

  2. Cindra says:

    I have noticed if I do not use a lot of leave-in I will have a crunchy, dry afro for the most part of the day. Today I did a wash & go and used Cantu-Shea butter leave-in and Hawaiian Silky curl activator. But my hair was saturated with water when I added these products. (Should have whipped my hair back and forth!) Now my hair is not as moist as I’d like because I had too much water in my hair, but I did not use as much conditioner as I should have this morning because I was in a rush to get to work. I usually pile on the leave-in and styling product. I try to use oil based products to refresh throughout the day. This keeps my hair moist and shiny all day. My hair is a bit porous and drinks water pretty fast, so I have to be careful not to use water based products all the time.

  3. Barbara says:

    A year into trying to maintain my natural hair and I’m still struggling with moisture. The previous 4 years I wore my hair pressed or had a sew-in, so although I’ve been natural for 5 years, I’m new to taking care of it myself.

    Question … what is the difference between moisturizing, sealants and styling products? Are those interchangeable definitions? If these are separate products, what is the proper method of layering (1) after washing and (2) to re-moisturize in between washes? I wash weekly and my hair feels great for about 2 days, then it’s just a mess after that.

  4. SmellsLikeCupcakes says:

    AH-HA!! I figured as much. Its like after a shower. As soon as you dry off, your skin feels all itchy until you grab your “conditioner”: lotion.
    Thankx again, Elle

    • HB says:

      Actually, I disagree with this, according to my research. Water is a moisturizer, but the issue is that we don’t hold onto it (is that what you mean?), similar to how your skin feels nice when it’s wet but gets ashy once dry lol.

      Natural Haven also explains it well – that when the water evaporates, there is nothing left:

      This is also why I don’t get it when women constantly spray their hair with water to moisturize it throughout the day, it’s just going to evaporate!

      • louloumatou says:

        i was about to disagree with the comment above too. Water IS a moisturiser, but the molecules are very mobile, which means they will not hold into place and will “evaporate” as you said. So many misconceptions about this. The use of “sealants” is handy here to keep that water in the hair fiber longer. 🙂 great response!

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