If you’ve been following along with me on the gram, you already know that I’ve been natural since 2015 (with a mini moment of relaxer weakness in late 2016). But you know what’s crazy?! It took me FOUR YEARS into the process to figure out the best way to put moisture back into my hair on a daily basis and stop looking like a bright blonde, dry, crusty, hot mess. One of the biggest and best changes I’ve made to my natural hair routine is to my refresh regimen.
What Does it Mean to Refresh Natural Hair
For those who are unfamiliar, shampoos (and even certain conditioners) strip natural hair of the necessary oils to stay moisturized and healthy. Also, washing, deep conditioning, detangling, styling and drying natural hair is a process that can take anywhere from 1 hour to half a day. Because of the health benefits together with the huge burden of time, most natural girls opt to wash their hair every few days and “refresh” on the days they are not washing by spritzing their hair with some type of water-based liquid to revive the products already applied and help the curls reform. When you sleep on a big, beautiful, fluffy, healthy afro, it gets a bit deflated, so refreshing natural hair helps bring it back to its full and vibrant potential.
How I Refresh My Natural Hair
The first two years of my natural hair journey, I didn’t even know refreshing was a thing, so needless to say my hair was DRY, y’all. After years of riding the dry struggle bus, I want to prevent any of my other newly natural sisters (or continually confused ones) from making the same mistakes I’ve been making, so after many YouTube binge sessions and a lot of trial and error, here are my secrets for refreshing my natural styles each morning like a moisturized boss:
1. Water before oil. This might be obvious to the rest of world, but oil is a sealant. It locks what’s in, in and keeps what’s out, out. For me, if I put any type of moisturizing oil on my dry hair, it looked moisturized for an hour or so and then was super, super dry. If you’re in this same boat, try wetting your hair first, then applying an oil. That way, the oil is sealing in water (i.e., moisture). My favorite oil is Benessimmo’s avocado oil (you can read about all the reasons I’m obsessed with avocado oil here).
2. Use a misting bottle instead of a spray bottle. All of the YouTube hair bloggers say that a “spray bottle” is the holy grail for refreshing your natural hairstyle in the morning, but the truuuuth is a spray bottle is really just a big, wet, water dripping everywhere mess. I found this mister bottle instead that is a gift from the gawds. Instead of splashing water all over your hair (and neck and face and clothes…), this mister evenly and lightly rewets your hair.
3. Aloe vera juice is your natural hair friend. Aloe vera juice has a TON of benefits for us natural hair beauties. It’s a great antibacterial for your scalp, which always aids in hair growth, but it also penetrates and hydrates the hair shaft for smoother hair cuticles (read: shinier hair with less frizz). I use aloe vera juice in a number of steps in my natural hair regimen, but when it’s time to refresh, instead of misting my hair with water alone, I mix 1/3 of the bottle with water and another 1/3 of the bottle with aloe vera juice. This leaves my hair extra shiny and healthy. Make sure to leave some room in your misting bottle to shake!
4. Add some leave-in conditioner to the mix. A lot of YouTubers out there refresh their hair with water alone and then apply a bit of leave in conditioner with their hands. Pro tip: most leave-in conditioners are water soluble, so save yourself a step, sis, and mix your leave-in conditioner and water (and hopefully aloe vera juice) together in the misting bottle. That way, I’m spraying a nutrient rich concoction on my hair in one fast and easy step. My go to leave-in conditioners right now are Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Manuka Honey + Mafura Oil.
What are your tips for keeping your refreshed natural hair looking moisturized? Let me know in the comments below or over on Instagram.