Love Your Hair This Winter with Protective Styles
It never fails. By the time you finally figured out the perfect recipe of products that allowed you to achieve perfect summer hair with perfect kinks, coils and curls that wouldn’t explode into a frizzy mess, you blinked and the cold weather season arrived. That same list of glycerin gels and serums that worked so well for you in the humid, hot months, probably won’t do the job this winter. Many people assume that parched, brittle hair is as much a part of winter as hot cocoa and snow days, and figure they’ll just have to ride it out. There are actually things you can do for your hair throughout the winter that can keep it as soft and springy as it is in the middle of June.
African-American hair – in fact, all highly textured hair – is prone to severe breakage and dryness during the winter months. Curly, kinky, coily hair craves moisture more than any other hair texture, and, without it, becomes brittle, coarse and breaks easily. The humidity in the summer air that naturally aids in keeping your hair hydrated is, for the most part, usually absent in the winter months. You’re going to have to figure out a way to get and keep moisture into your precious locs. Read on for tips that will help you keep the moisture in and the dryness out of your hair this winter.
Get rid of all of the products that suck moisture out of your hair in winter instead of putting it in. Glycerin based products are perfect at drawing moisture from the air during humid summer days and drawing it to your hair, keeping it soft and pliable. A strange thing happens to many women in humidity free zones during the winter: the glycerin pulls the moisture out of your hair. The best thing is to get a water-based conditioning moisturizer and seal it with an oil like coconut oil or shea butter. What does sealing do, you say? Sealing your hair means applying a coating of oil or butter to your hair after you moisturize it. You’re literally sealing in the moisture so that instead of evaporating into the air, it stays inside the strands, keeping them hydrated. You should also deep condition your hair super moisturizing conditioner at least once a week.
Cover it up
People love – need – to wear hats in the winter, but hats are another big reason people experience hair breakage and dryness during that time. Hats are usually made of things like knits and other materials that can wreak havoc on delicate strands. Try sewing silk into the undersides of hats so that all your hair touches is the delicately soft material. You can also just wear a scarf underneath your hat. Some women buy beautiful decorative scarves for just this purpose, so you don’t have to feel like you’re off to churn butter with an old scarf. Also, use a silk scarf to line your coat’s neckline. Hair breakage along the nape area is rampant in winter due to your hair rubbing against hair killing materials like the wool used to make your coat and scarves.
Winter is the perfect time to keep your hair in protective hairstyles. Protective hairstyles are exactly what they sound like: hairstyles intended to protect your locs, especially the ends, from damage from things like the environment and the overuse of styling products. Protective styles include buns and chignons, cornrow weaves, individual braids, etc.
Protective styles are generally no muss and fuss, so it’s easy for you to focus on keeping the hair moisturized well without worrying too much about the style. The ends of your hair are the oldest part of your hair, and therefor the weakest. This means that when they’re attacked by things like excessive cold, wind, dry air, and heat, they’re the first things to go. Have you ever noticed your hair getting shorter when you overuse things like straightening irons and other styling tools? You just keep damaging the ends and they break off bit by by, making your hair shorter and and shorter. Your hair is still growing as it breaks, so to your eyes, it looks like your hair isn’t growing at all when all that’s happening is your new hair keeps replacing your breaking hair. With protective styling, you will protect the entire strand, including those ends, and your hair will flourish.
So, you know that they key to having well-hydrated, soft winter hair is moisture. Some people believe that “greasing” or oiling their hair will moisturize it, but it won’t. Your hair needs water for moisture, so choose moisturizing products that are water based. Water will penetrate the hair shaft and infuse it with moisture. Oil sits on top of the hair, which is why you use it as a sealant to keep the moisture (water) in.
Some people wash and condition their hair less often in winter due to the cold, but this is exactly the time when your hair needs more moisturizing conditioning.
If you deep condition and co-wash your hair on a regular basis during the wintertime, you’ve already got the right idea. Co-washing is simply washing your hair with a conditioner vs a shampoo, which can be drying. Those who co-wash on a regular basis use a clarifying shampoo every few weeks in order to remove any product buildup from their hair. Those with kinky, coily and curly hair benefit tremendously from co-washing. Deep condition at least once a week, and co-wash as often as you feel is necessary. If you’re worried about catching cold, one option is to wash and condition your hair in the evenings, seal it with an oil, and wrap it up with a silk scarf or bonnet. In the morning, use protective styling or style as usual.
When time is short, some people keep a spritzer bottle filled with water and moisturizing products and essential oils to spritz on their hair in between washes.
Winterizing Your Hair Care
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