One of the biggest pain points for curly hair is dehydration. If you find yourself wondering why is my hair so dry? You’re definitely not the only one. Learning how to moisturize hair properly can help not only solve issues of dryness, but can also help encourage curl definition, bounce, and shine. We’re going to walk you through some essential curly hair tips so you can make sure your curls and waves have the essential moisture they need.

Why is my hair so dry? Ingredients that cause dehydration:

There are several ingredients that you should avoid to help prevent dry hair, some more critical than others.

Why is my hair so dry? It could be Sodium Laurel Sulfate:

If you’ve researched the curly girl method, you already know that harsh sulfates can strip all textures not just curls, of essential moisture. That information might have lead you to consider an organic shampoo – but those cleansers often contain hard-to-rinse ingredients that stick to the scalp and cause hair loss (learn more about organic shampoo here). Your best bet is to focus on using a cleanser that’s free of SLS and ingredients that stay behind (learn more about the bad ingredients in shampoo here). Our pick? Color Security Shampoo. It’s clear formula always rinses away completely, and doesn’t contain harsh sulfates.

Why is my hair so dry? It could be harsh alcohols:

There are many alcohols that are super drying to the hair, watch out for SD Alcohol 40, and Isopropyl Alcohol. But it’s important to remember not all alcohols are created equal. There are fatty alcohols that can actually help silken and soften hair, and can provide slip which helps with detangling. We love Coconut-Infused Dream Cocktail and Kale-Infused Dream Cocktail which contain cetyl alcohol (a type of fatty alcohol).

Why is my hair so dry? It could be oils:

You may have heard that oils are all the rage for curls – there are claims left and right, they can help your hair grow, they boost shine, etc . But the truth is that pure oils just sit on top of your hair and scalp. Oils don’t rinse away easily, and as they build up on the scalp, they can clog your follicle which can lead to hair loss. When it comes to your strand, most oils are actually too big to penetrate the hair and provide hydration. Instead they end up coating the cuticle and actually block moisture from penetrating the hair. But just like alcohols, not all oils are the same. If an oil has small enough molecules, it can penetrate the hair (especially if you have high porosity hair). Two good options? Coconut oil and jojoba oil. They are the only two oils proven to penetrate hair quickly. Our favorite product with coconut oil? Coconut-Infused Dream Cocktail, which provides hair with much needed hydration.

Other oils may also have small molecules, but they will penetrate slower – unless paired with a penetrating agent like glycols, panthenol, emollients, or alkanes. So if you’re going to opt for a product with other alternative oils, be sure to look for these ingredients as well. Some of our favorites include One-Minute Transformation which contains hydrating avocado oil, and Color Security Conditioner which also contains avocado oil. Plus the fine to normal conditioner formula contains an infusion of Argan oil.