Beginner Wednesday – Moisturisers 101

26 Oct

This week we focus on moisturisers.  When you wash and deep condition your hair you follow this up with a moisturiser (some use a leave in conditioner).   You then use an oil / butter to seal in the moisture from the wash, deep condition and moisturiser.  There are some oils that penetrate the hair shaft (e.g. coconut oil).  These have the added benefit that they will nourish the hair as well.

As I have often said before, African hair thrives on moisture.  It needs moisture for it to be healthy.  Most of the steps in African hair care including washing and deep conditioning are done with the aim of adding moisture to the hair.   A mistake that is often made is thinking that grease (that old school hair food!) is moisturising.  Grease cannot moisturise your hair.  Some women have success with it for sealing in moisture but grease by itself cannot moisturise.  If you are relying on grease to moisturise your hair you find that you end up having greasy, oily hair but it still feels dry.  Also it is prone to breakage and you do not retain any length.  You need a proper moisturiser.

You need to be consistent when it comes to moisturising hair.  It needs to be incorporated into a regular hair care regimen.  I moisturise my hair every morning.  Sometimes, if the weather is extremely hot or if I have spent a lot of time outdoors then I will moisturise it again before bed.  There are some women who moisturise their hair twice a day, every day.  As with all things that are hair related, find what works for you and your hair. 

There are two types of moisturisers available for hair:

1.          Water based moisturisers

In these moisturisers water is the first ingredient.  Water is the best moisturiser there is!

2.          Oil based moisturisers

In these moisturisers, oils are the first ingredients and water is lower down the list.  They are popular with women who have straightened their natural hair as water based moisturisers can cause the straightened natural hair to revert.   To use them properly, you need to make sure that you have already moisturised your hair with washing as well as conditioning. 

You can make your own moisturiser spritz by mixing water with any combination of other ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, rose water, natural oils and  a few drops of essential oils.  You can even add a bit of conditioner to the spritz.  These spritzes are especially beneficial to those that wear their hair natural as they soften while they moisturise.  Braid sprays are also great moisturisers too.

Many women (including myself) get good results with moisturisers that contain humectants (ingredients that attract water from the atmosphere) like glycerin.  There are several available but I use Scurl Activator Moisturiser.  I know Revlon and Easy Waves also make glycerin based moisturisers.  These moisturisers were popular years ago for curly permed hair but their popularity has moved to women with relaxed and natural hair.

Avoid moisturisers that contain mineral oil or any other petroleum based product in the first few ingredients. Mineral oil does nothing but coat the hair leaving it shiny but dry.  Some have no problem with mineral oil low down the ingredient list.  I personally avoid mineral oil in the first 3 ingredients.  Such products do nothing for me. Also avoid excessive silicones which can cause buildup.

Right now I have the following moisturisers which I use interchangeably depending on how my hair is feeling:

  •         Scurl Activator Moisturiser
  •         Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil (the name is misleading, it’s a moisturiser!)
  •         Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter
  •         Organic Root Stimulator Oil Moisturising Hair Lotion
  •         Yes To Cucumbers Leave In Conditioner



30 Responses to “Beginner Wednesday – Moisturisers 101”

  1. Kavuli 26 October, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Well done miss! I’m really enjoying these Beginner Wednesdays. It always great to refresh the memory and get back to basics.

    PS – Elasta QP Mango Butter is such a great moisturizer! Is it available in SA at the moment?

    • Tendayi 26 October, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Thank you Kavuli. The Elasta QP mango butter was a gift from a loved one in the US. Luckily the jar lasts quite a long time.

  2. Delani 28 October, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    this is so goo. Currently ive been oiling my scalp with castor oil and using braid spray on the shaft of my hair. Can i use castor oil as a moisturizer

    • Tendayi 28 October, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Thank you Delani. You can use castor oil to ‘seal’ in your moisturiser (braid spray). Its an oil so it wont moisturise. It works best on the hair if you moisturise first and then use a bit on top of the moisturiser. This is why its called ‘sealin’ in the moisturiser. Concentrate on the ends.

      • Mokgadi 09 May, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

        where in SA can i get Jamaican black castor oil, or does any caster oil brand work?

      • Tendayi 09 May, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

        Normal castor oil works well and you can find it in Dischem, Clicks and in health shops. JBCO you can get from Ruutos Hair. Find their details at

  3. awurabena 30 October, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    I’m enjoying this Tendayi after cutting my hair in june and starting a healthy hair journey my hair has bounced back and it looks great.i got my first two bottles of castor oil and im using it as a pre shampoo and as my regular oil.I love what it does to my hair,even though it is thick it seeps down into my hair shaft and my hair looks so shimy.I dont need gel anymore to make my thick hair lie down.For the moisturizing does this mean that after i wash my hair condition it,i just put the carrot oil or any other moisturiser in it and leave it to air dry?God bless you for sharing all this good stuff with us

    • Tendayi 31 October, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

      Thank you Awurabena. What i suggest is that after washing and deep conditioning you moisturise your hair with your moisturiser of choice. You can then put a bit of castor oi on top to seal in the moisture and let your hair air dry. I choose to air dry my hair ties up in a bun. I use castor oil on my scalp after the hair has dried because I find it easier to apply to my scalp this way.

  4. awurabena 30 October, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    One more thing i read about the deep conditioning especially the one on protein conditioning….no wonder my hair felt hard after using organic root mayonnaise which is a protein conditioner.Does this mean that after steaming my hair with it and rinsing out the water i have to put in a moisturising conditioner in it or a leave in conditioner in it to soften it like you said?

    • Tendayi 31 October, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      When i use a protein based deep conditioner I choose a day when I have lots of time. I rinse out the protein conditioner (usually ORS hair mayo) and put in a moisturising one and sit under a dryer again. When I do this my hair is soft once again. The ORS hair mayo alone leave my hair feeling strong but quite stiff. The moisturising conditioner makes it soft again.

      • awurabena 01 November, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

        can i then use a good leave in conditioner(one without drying alcohols,mineral oil etc) as my moisturiser?after washing or washing and deep conditioning.Its difficult getting some of the good moisturisers you talk about in Ghana.Whenever a family member travels my sis sends me some of the good products i can’t get in Ghana through that family member.
        And does this mean that if i do get a good moisturiser like the scurl activator one,i will have to skip using a leave in conditioner or i can use the two?

      • Tendayi 01 November, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

        leave in conditioners and moisturisers are often used interchangeably. I know I do this often. Many women also first apply a leave in conditioner then apply a moisturiser over it. Its really about preference. I find leave in conditioners can be very light and my hair seems to prefer something a little heavier. Sometimes I will apply a leave in conditioner (Yes to Cucumbers Leave In Conditioner), then I will apply my Scurl over that, then lightly apply an oil to seal in the moisture.

  5. maame esi 05 March, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    tendayi,,,did u say organic root oil is a moisturiser???
    well, i share the same sentiments with awurabena,,my hair usually feels stiff afta deep conditioning wt ORS hair wat moisturiser will u recommend.

    • Tendayi 05 March, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      The ORS carrot oil (the one pictured) is a moisturiser as well as the hair lotion. ORS Hair Mayoinaisse is a protein deep conditioner. It also leaves my hair hard when I use it. I always follow it up with a moisturising deep conditioner to soften the hair again.

  6. Heldiii 20 June, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Hi Tendayi 🙂
    Which moisturizer should we apply to the scalp and then the one for the ends???
    I apply jojoba oil organics to my scalp.
    Is water based moisturisers better for the scalp or for the ends? Or is it oil based moisturisers better for the scalp???
    :/ confused

    • Tendayi 21 June, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Natural oils are best for the scalp while water based moisturisers are best for the hair. Ols that can be used on the scalp include castor, coconut, jojoba, olive etc. I’m talking about the pure oils, not products that contain some oils. Organics Root Stimulator Jojoba Oil is a products that contains jojoba oil as the 7th ingredient.

  7. Heldii 22 June, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Thaankx Tendayi 🙂
    Do they sell at clicks or dischem, The pure oils?Or Any other shop’??

    • Tendayi 22 June, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      Yes they are sold at Clicks and Dischem as well as health shops.

  8. Patricia 11 July, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    Hello Africanhair blog. Thank you so much for your tips. I have been finding the information on your site helpful. I would like to find out, are these products you use for moisturisation available in South Africa? For example, the Yes To Cucumbers Leave In Conditioner, Scurl Activator Moisturiser and Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter. Thank you.

    • Tendayi 11 July, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

      I bought Yes To Cucumbers in Clicks. Scurl I got from Jumbo! Almost all the products I mention I bought in South Africa. Occassionally I will get access to a product from the US like the Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter. This doesnt happen often though.

  9. pupwithstyle 16 July, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    VERY helpful! This is the answer to my question pertaining to moisturizer. I need to start building my own natural hair collection so I can get my hair where it needs to be. This is a start.

    • Tendayi 17 July, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      glad you found it useful 🙂

  10. Chazha 03 January, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    This is very helpful. I cut my hair months back and now I feel I’m ready to start growing it again. This info came at the rite time. Will do u proud Tendayi

  11. Sharlene needham 11 March, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Do you know of any moisturisers that contain NO protein or mineral oil/ petrolatum etc as im struggling to find one, ive searched the web with no joy

    • Tendayi 11 March, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      There are quite a few. From what I use there are – Scurl Activator Moisturiser, Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Carrot Oil (the name is misleading, it’s a moisturiser!), Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter. The Hair Repair line from ORS does not contain these products. Also African Pride anti breakage formul does not contain these. These are ones that I have tried but there are plenty more eg the Curl Care line by Dr Miracle and other lines targeted at women with natural hair.

      • Sharlene needham 12 March, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

        Doesnt the ors carrot oil contain protein? I have this but i thought soy bean, coconut oil, hydrogenated castor and vegatable oil, safflower oil and the carrot seed oil were all proteins? Im trying to eliminate ALL protein in my daily products, in the description on the side of tub it says..the herbal and protein blend… Please help im desperate to find a NO protein daily moisturizer!’

      • Tendayi 13 March, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

        As far as i am aware, those oils are not proteing. I know coconut oil helps prevent protein loss in hair. Some women whose hair is sensitive to protein find that coconut oil can make their hair feel crunchy.I think the protein blend refered to on the tub probably refers to beta carotene, amino acids and nettle

  12. Mokgadi 09 May, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    which moisturizers are water based? can you do a product review on them and where to find them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: