The weather’s taken a turn for the frightful, and the cold weather is wreaking havoc on your skin and hair. Naturally curlicious tresses start taking on that Brillo Pad look when parched.

Not pretty.

Over the past two weeks I’ve gotten many an anguished e mail, pleading for tips on maintaining moisture. I got your back, bellas!

Even though I live in a generally humid part of the world, I know what it’s like to be ashy and dry. This Ask Afrobella will be a two-parter. I’m in the process of road testing some wonderfully emollient skin creams and body butters. For now, let’s talk hair.

Whether you straighten and color it with chemicals, twist it into locks, or let your fro grow wild and free, your hair needs moisture. To me, a good, indulgent hot oil treatment is the ultimate curl quencher. Motown Girl features a list of hair recipes worth trying.

Some of them get fancy, with ingredients like Silk Peptide powder, xanthum gum, and vegetable glycerin. I haven’t gotten that brave yet, but I have tried her Honey and Olive Oil conditioner (scroll down to find it), which is one step beyond the traditional olive oil treatment you already may have tried. Heat 3 teaspoons of honey in the microwave for ten seconds, and mix the hot honey with 1/4 cup of EVOO (as as Rachel Ray would call it). Slather it on from root to tip and cover your oily locks with a plastic shower cap for half an hour. For a more intense treatment, wrap a hot towel around your plastic shower cap and wear that for an hour, or even better, bring out the old steam cap for campy fun. Shampoo well (avoid that slippery shower, rinse in the sink), condition as normal, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how soft and shiny your hair is.

That treatment should work for you, regardless of the texture of your hair. Bellas who remain skeptical of DIY oil treatments should stick to perennial favorites, like Alberto V05 Moisturizing Formula or ye olde Queen Helene Cholesterol.

Another good one is the rich and creamy Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise.

My family has used this product for years, and although I stray, I usually find myself back at good old Hair Mayo. For the record, it doesn’t smell like mayonnaise. The scent can be compared to any thick, generic conditioner. The product slathers on thick, works well for both relaxed and afro bellas, and is ideal for hot towel or steam cap treatments.

The moisture doesn’t have to end with a deep conditioning treatment. At the advice of some of my favorite commenters (thanks, Coffy and Fenix Star!) I logged on to and bought Cantu Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment.

I love it! The product works well, and is so affordable ($4.99, baby!) that I plan to buy more from the Cantu line (although the Daily Shea Butter Oil Moisturizer didn’t impress me much). I apply Grow Strong after my shower, when my hair is still quite wet. It makes my curls very defined and “boingy,” if such a word exists. I know I already trashed products with the word “gro” in the title, but this stuff actually seems to be working for me. I recommend it without reservation. My next Cantu purchase will probably be the 5-star rated Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream.

Another product I’ve been using and loving is My Earthly Basics Daily Cream Hairdress. The mixture of olive, jojoba, and wheat germ oil makes my curls happy, while the essential oil (peppermint? tea tree? One of those two) leaves my scalp with a refreshing tingle. FYI, holiday shoppers – My Earthly Basics is also offering lovely holiday gift bags with your choice of products packaged in a gold organza gift bag with a silk ribbon. You choose the products, and they add a scented candle, body loofah and pumice stone. The company also makes wonderfully decadent creams and body butters, so expect to see those reviewed in Moisturize Your Situation, part deux. Check them out ASAP!

For you bellas who AREN’T on a budget, now’s the time to spring for some Miss Jessie’s! The products everyone’s asked me about are currently on a buy one get one free deal that I am definitely not going to pass up.

What are your favorite moisturizing products? I’m currently looking for a good moisturizing shampoo (my hair seems to have suddenly developed an immunity to Aussie Moist), so let me know if you have recommendations!

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Julia_Claudine_Deveraux says:
December 13, 2006, 10:12 am
Thanks for the tips Bella! I really needed these because right now I'm "bunning" my hair and focusing on restoring the moisture. The cold weather has really caused my hair to shed tremendously.Not to mention my wool coat is pulling at my hair in the back. I'm using Elasta QP's Mango Butter, Wild Growth Oil (I know you hate the word "gro" haha), and Surge 14 daily and it has worked with restoring the moisture level. Walmart carries the "Cantu" line, I'll buy some this weekend.
joli201 says:
December 13, 2006, 10:20 am
Im with you on the hair mayonnaise, i always come back to it and let it sit with a plastic cap for 10 min., and every time i do, my grandmother (who still does my hair in her shop)always notices the change in the texture of my hair.
Indigo says:
December 13, 2006, 12:46 pm
Thanks for the tips. I've been using hair mayonnaise since waaaaay back! Loves it! I'm jumping on the "2fer" with Miss Jessies. I've been using some Dominican hair products, a wheat germ deep conditioner and Salerm 21 leave in, in addition to whipped butter from Oyin. That stuff is da TRUTH!! The first I used it on my hair, I was in love. I used it on my daughter's hair..she has naturally curly, ringlet like hair that is very, very dry. It was magic! Her hair was moist and the ringlets/curls were beautifully defined. Alas, she's a teen and likes her hair bone straight, so she flatironed it. And she gets the look of relaxed hair without the relaxer AND it has the most amazing sheen.
Fabuchica says:
December 13, 2006, 1:53 pm
Thanks for the tips! Afrobella, have you ever tried the "No Poo" format on motowngirl's site? I've started doing it and I really find that my hair is retaining more moisture.
Coffy says:
December 13, 2006, 4:11 pm
here are a few of the products that kick butt. For naturals, Decca Plus Satin Tame Revitalizer and Moisturizer/Decca Plus Satin Deep Penetrating Conditioner. for permed ladies, Soft & Beautiful Hair Moisturizing Complex Conditioner, Dark & Lovely Pro-Therapy Protein Intense Conditioner, Silk Elements Mega Cholesterol/Luxury Moisturizing Conditioner. For both natural and permed, PhytoSpecific Vital Force Cream Bath, Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak, Elasta QP Recovery Moisturizer/Mango Butter. Hemp oil is something that i have also been playing with. like Indigo i also like my Dominican hair products.
Olivia says:
December 13, 2006, 6:18 pm
Those are very good tips Organic Root Stimulator have good products. I just bought a product from Miss Jessie's and it works wonders (for me, being a Coolie gal from JA)and it maintains the curl so well, its not greasy and doesn't leave any residue, best part it makes the hairstyle last long! I used the curly buttercreme to do finger twists and the style is still holding up! The products are worth it!
JillyAnn says:
December 13, 2006, 8:39 pm
The Cantu-Leave in conditioning cream is kinda sticky, I didnt really like working with it but it smells good... :)
Traci says:
December 14, 2006, 12:08 am
Thanks for the tips. I absolutely love Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme. It smells great, makes my dry coarse hair look amazingly soft, and really defines the curl pattern.
lovelyjd says:
December 14, 2006, 2:54 am
Thanks afrobella... I personally love good old Jojoba oil....
flygyrl72 says:
December 14, 2006, 2:55 pm
Organic Root Hair Mayo is my go-to product also! Works wonders on my big fro! But I also love the Ojon line, they're a little pricy, but so worth it. The Hair Restorative Treatment & the Ultra Hydrating Conditioner are awesome. And my hair is really thirsty, so if a product can moisturize my hair, it can work on anybody! I discovered the Cantu line this past summer, & I love it also. I use the leave-in conditioner, but sparingly, because as JillyAnn mentioned, it can be a bit sticky.
pam says:
December 15, 2006, 1:33 am
Thank you Bella. I have read and re-read and researched your article to work out my situation. You surely have put me in the right direction. Who'da knew there were so many products for all this hair on my head :)
Watch_and_Learn says:
December 15, 2006, 4:09 am
Ok now Bella?!, I went ahead and made my Miss Jessie purchase- (Thank the Lawd for buy 1 get one free)- If this product is as good as their online pictures we're gonna have to pass a collection plate for me once a month to maintain my situation!! The promotion ends on 12/31 so I had to grab my while I could afford it!! I'll keep you guys posted on my results!! Hairfully yours, M.E.
jerseybred says:
December 16, 2006, 11:53 am
Watch N Learn said the "collection plate". I love my sisters. I've fallen in love with Dove Therapy conditioner in the blue bottle. It's great.
Tashikayo says:
February 6, 2007, 7:19 pm
marlene says:
April 28, 2008, 1:48 pm
which one do you thing is better kare care oil miosturizer with jojoba oil.cantu shea butter daily moisturizer or hawaiin 14-in1 miracle worker. AND WHY? what was your experiances with these products
nursesteffy says:
September 18, 2008, 12:33 am
I went natural 5 weeks ago with the big chop. I'm a product junkie, but the best so far for my 4a hair has been Cantu leave-in creme. With wet hair, apply a lot, comb through, and diffuse dry. It is so cute! I also like results from Giovanni Direct leave in and silk elements leave in. I tried Miss Jessie's Curly meringue and it's pretty good too, but the smell makes you wanna go somewhere tropic!
BMW says:
December 11, 2008, 6:46 pm
I love cantu Shea buuter! I have nothing bad to say about it at all. I use the shampoo, conditioner, and leave in hair condioner! loves it! my hair is soooooo soft and easy to work with. I went natural 6 months ago and I allow my hair to go without braids for two months and I braid it back again! I love the growth and the stress free hair styles!
Kim Karsha says:
January 9, 2010, 4:27 pm
Heard about the Made from Earth skincare products from one of my co-workers. Since the majority of us are big fans of organic products we tend to discuss them quite a bit. Received a sample of the "3 Berry Face Serum" and was extremely impressed! Ordered a full-sized container of this product 2 days later. My skin is pretty sensitive & is also dry. I did hesitate when I read the ingredients (on website after I'd tried the sample of this product) because I have had no allergic reaction at all. Have now been using this product at night for over a month & am extremely satisfied with the results & the product itself! Just 2 pumps of this product will cover my face & neck. It leaves my skin, moisturized without greasiness, soft, & seems to have even improved my skin tone/texture/clarity to a small degree.
Maria McNiks says:
January 23, 2010, 8:40 pm
I was looking for a moisturizer at an affordable price that makes the promises that the more expensive ones do. I was kind of skeptical because there were no reviews for the Made from Earth Vitamin Enhanced Moisturizer that I could find - but after reading the ingredients and description of the product, I ordered it. Only after 3 days of using the product at night on my face, I noticed the deep vertical lines above my lips, have already softened and look as if the lines have reduced significantly. The product leaves no oily or greasy feeling on the skin and absorbs quickly. I highly recommend the Vitamin Enhanced Moisturizer (from Made from Earth) if you are looking to reduce fine lines on your face, and I am excited to try other products from this company.