I wanted to share some information that really helped me differentiate the use of certain products.
The difference between a moisturizer and a sealant (to seal your hairs moisture within).
A moisturizer’s job is to add moisture to the hair.
Our skin (scalp included) secretes a natural oil to protect and lubricate our skin and hair called sebum. According to a 2009 report from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science the oils that are the most similar to sebum are coconut and avocado oil. The fatty acids in these oils are similar to those found on our skin.
Also, the molecular structure of Jojoba oil mirrors that of sebum. (Totalbeautyanswers.com)
Another natural source of moisture is water. Conditioners add moisture as well. A conditioners moisture will last longer in my hair than water. Water dries at a quicker rate than a creamy leave-in conditioner (such as Giovanni Direct leave-in).
Aloe Vera gel, rosemary oil, wheat germ oil and almond oil are also great moisturizers.
A sealants job is to keep/seal the moisture in my hair. It is a product that won’t strip moisture from my hair, but seals the hair itself to keep whatever moisture I’ve added, within. The most natural sealant would be an oil. I like to use a carrier oil (shea butter) or any thicker oil to seal in my hairs moisture.
Some examples of sealants are:
(Whipped) Shea Butter
Personally, I use the water from my wash as moisture-I do not let it dry completely before sealing and styling my hair. I also add moisture by applying Giovanni Direct leave-in. I seal with my Whipped Shea Butter.
During the week, if I want to add moisture (but do not want to soak my hair), I spritz my hair with water, almond oil and peppermint oil. I then seal my ends with my Shea mix.
I add these products to my hairs length and especially the ends of my hair. Since that’s the oldest part of my hair, I pay special attention to my ends to keep them around longer (thus increasing length). With any type of moisture and seal regimen I start on my ends and work my way up to my roots.
IMPORTANT: Constantly adding and re-applying oil alone to your hair will not bring in moisture. Water has to be added (from time-to-time) to your hair prior to sealing. If not, you are only oiling your hair and not really adding the moisture needed. Your hair may look shiny and healthy-but it will feel dry.