Applying a sealant to moisturized strands is a hair-care step many curlies skip. But for naturalistas, sealing tresses can lock in much needed moisture and leave hair with that shimmer usually reserved for TV commercials and glossy magazines. Here are several tips from to introduce you to the art of sealing.

Start with fully wet hair. Whether at the sink or in the shower, you should only seal once you’ve completely soaked your mane with water. When it comes to moisturizing hair, there is no substitute for water—all products work only in relation to this precious elemental liquid.

Apply a leave-in moisturizer. Find a trustworthy water-based leave-in hydrator that does not include petroleum or mineral oil in the first five ingredients. (A good leave-in maximizes hair moisture before you seal. If a certain product isn’t working, try another one; it might work better.)

Coat tresses with a sealing layer of oil or butter. A list of good sealants can be found on any naturalista website, but some of the more popular ones include olive, grapeseed and coconut oils and raw shea or mango butter. Find these sealants in supermarkets or at your local beauty supply store.

Wear a protective style. After you’ve slaked your hair’s thirst with water, moisturized it and sealed the deal with your favorite natural oil or butter, you’ll be smart to top it all off by wearing tresses in a protective style. This can mean an updo or bun if you’re trying to grow out your hair.
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