I hear too many ladies saying that different butters and oils are moisturizing and they are not. For a product to be moisturizing, it MUST contain water (as the first ingredient) in it. Oils and butters are emollients that lubricate your hair which makes it pliable so that it's less prone to break with manipulation, protect your hair from daily "wear and tear" and help keep moisture in your hair longer (than if you didn't seal your hair with them).
Yes, there are a few oils like coconut oil that are able to penetrate the hair shaft buuuut they still do not moisturize. Remember, only water can do that. Jc, over at The Natural Haven, has excellent post on this where she shares that while some oils are capable of penetrating the hair shaft, it's not a significant amount that gets in. This means most of it stays on the surface. Nothing can take the place of water!
You Need More Than Just Water Though.....
Now, we should all be on the same page, right? Only water can moisturize. Some may then come to the conclusion that we should just be able to moisturize with water alone then. Not quite, kurly grasshoppa. Another one of Jc's posts explains, as easily as water can enter our hair, it can exit it just as easily too leaving you with dry hair. This is why sealing our hair with an oil and/or butter is important especially when it comes to afro textured, kinky-kurly hair. It helps to keep the water/moisture in your hair for a longer period of time (than if you sealed with nothing); slowing down how fast water/moisture would normally leave your hair. There are products like hair lotions/milks, leave conditioners, and hair creams that have both water (as the first ingredient) and oil/s in them. I consider these products moisturizing and depending on your hair's needs, it may not be necessary to add an oil or butter over top.
So, let's stop saying oils and butters are moisturizing, ok? Let's also remember that water isn't moisturizing on its own either. They both work together to comprise the moisturizing process. "United they stand, devided they fall." Lol.