The Hair Strand: Water Based, Oil Based, then Emulsified Based Sealant
The cuticles on hair strands operate like a vent. The cuticles raise and lift and they lower and close. Some soaps tend to raise the cuticle and some conditioners tend to lower the cuticles. When you finish washing and conditioning your hair, you really want to have your cuticles lowered and closed tightly.
1. Water Based: Water based concoctions are the first to reach the permeable hair strand. They are good to soften the cuticle. They absorb and evaporate the fastest so these go on the hair first. I usually make a panthenol, glycerine, water based type of mixture and sometimes may add aloe. I might add a drop of two of vitamin e and 3-5 drops of rosemary oil to preserve it.
2. Oil and Aloe/Water Based: Oils in general are slower to absorb and they can provide nutrition to the hair along with the aloe vera. These will absorb and evaporate slower than just plain water based concoctions.
3. Heavy Cream/Emulsified Based: These tend to sit on the hair strand and hold in the moisture on the hair strand and are used to seal in the oil based (#2) and the water based (#1) concoctions.
Once you have sealed the hair strand strategically, then you can protect the hair with the covering of your choice. Please keep in mind that the covering should keep the moisture on the strand. Plastic holds moisture the best. You will have to determine what will work best for you, based upon your personal and lifestyle needs.
Thanks for this question Dr. Diva:
this is some great information--tried it last night on my 4A hair and it is so moisturized and so soft. but i have a question about the pathenol (i bought the liquid version you suggested at snowdrift farms): what is the pathenol/water ratio for the for the pre-treatment and every other day moisturizer?
Snowdrift recommends that the panthenol be 1-2% of your solution or mixture.
So, let's say your bottle is 22 ounces. Now let's say you want to use no more than 1% of liquid aqueous panthenol in your solution, here is the math:
What is 1% of 22 ounces?
(Which means if I want 1% of my mixture to be panthenol, in my 22 ounce water bottle, how many ounces of panthenol is that?)
What is 1% of 22 ounces? (1% is 1/100 = .01)
What is .01 of 22 ounces?
What is .01 x 22 ounces?
.01 x 22 = .22 ounces
So, what I do is round it up. I say, let me do .5 ounces. So, I put in .5 ounces of panthenol into my 22 ounce bottle. Then I add the rest of my ingredients. I don't worry about how much water to add because I know that my panthenol is only going to be .22 - .5 ounces of the solution.
This calculation, based upon the recommendation, and what you know about your hair, will help YOU determine how much panthenol should go into your spray bottle.
If you want more, you add more. If you want less, you add less.
So, all you need is to know is the size of your bottle in ounces and the percentage of panthenol you want in your mixture, then do the calculation.