How to Hydrate Dry Medium to Thick Hair

Lorie Knickle March 02, 2021

Dry hair can lead to all types of unruliness – frizz, static, flyaways and all around unmanageability. Luckily there are loads of moisturizing hair products that are made to help give hair a boost. If your hair type tends to be medium to thick or coarse you probably already know you might need something a little more heavy duty than finer hair types. Read on to find the moisture matches for your dry locks.

dry hair products

Tip #1

Use Hydrating Sulfate-free Shampoos and Conditioners

Sulfates can strip hair’s natural oils, so it is important to look for options that are sulfate-free. Sulfate-free formulas are also gentler on delicate scalps. Refresh with a dry shampoo between washes and try turning down the temperature in the shower to help minimize moisture loss through heat.

Ones to try:

sulfate free shampoo sulfate free conditioner Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner


Tip #2

Use a Hair Mask

Drench your hair in a moisturizing mask. Applying a thick mask 1 or 2 times per week as needed can target dryness even more than your regular conditioner. Apply to damp hair evenly and leave on your hair for as long as possible; usually around 20 minutes will allow the mask to really penetrate your strands. I recommend covering with a shower cap like this one from Kenneth Bernard to allow the mask to work it’s magic.

Try Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask for a full dose of hydrating moisture.

Moroccanoil Hair Mask for dry hair


Tip #3

Use a Leave-In Conditioner or Treatment

Dry hair has much to gain from using a leave-in: all-day moisture, tangle-free brushing, softness, increased elasticity, the list goes on. Most leave-ins have multiple benefits; depending on the formula some may even provide heat and environmental protection and strengthening properties. Formula weights vary as well, from heavier creams for thick or curly hair to lightweight sprays to add weightless moisture to finer hair types. 

dry hair treatment

For medium to thick hair that’s very dry try Redken All Soft Hydramelt Leave-in Treatment

frizzy hair treatment For medium to thick hair that’s somewhat dry, prone to frizz try Paul Mitchell Clean Beauty Anti-Frizz Leave-in Treatment


Tip #4

Use a Serum

Hair serums can make styling and maintaining your hairstyle easier. Oftentimes dry hair is accompanied by damage. When hair is damaged the cuticles (shingle-like scales that coat each strand, protecting the core) can become lifted and rough. This allows moisture to escape and leaves hair prone to frizz. Serums help seal the cuticle and add a layer of protection to keep hydration locked into the core. The result? Less frizz and more manageable hair. Apply to damp hair from mid-shaft to ends. For more information on serums, read our "Hair Serums: Why You Need Them & How to Use" article.

Try AG Hair Glow Shine Infuse Serum for easier styling and shiny results.

serum for dry frizzy hair


Tip #5

Use a Hair Oil

Where serums work on the surface of strands, hair oils penetrate, delivering moisture and nutrients to the core, which results in nourished and hydrated hair. Hair oils can be applied to damp or dry hair, to prep or to finish your style. A bit of oil applied throughout the day can help control flyaways and frizz when needed. If your hair is very dry and coarse you can cocktail an oil with styling product to give a moisture kick to your styling routine. For more on oils and how to use them click here.

Try Moroccanoil Original Treatment, a classic oil that leaves hair feeling incredibly soft and hydrated.

Moroccanoil treatment for dry hair


Tip #6

Go for an Ultra-Deep In-Salon Treatment (Plus an At-Home Option!)

Book an appointment with your stylist for a treatment, and you won’t be disappointed! In just a few minutes, treatments can transform dry, damaged hair. There are various types available – ask your stylist which would be best for you!


You can also try an at-home ultra-hydrating treatment. These single-shots from Drybar are ultra-concentrated to deliver intense moisture. Use once per week or as needed when experiencing a dry spell. 

 Drybar hydration for dry hair

I hope these tips help quench your thirsty strands.

Cheers to happy, hydrated hair!


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