Conditioning, protection help hair bear the winter
What is predictable, cold and lasts long? If you said a Minnesota winter, you got it right. You can feel the fall season in the air, temperatures dropping giving us cooler air that will ramp up quickly into our blustery winter very soon.
Different seasons require different hair care techniques to maintain healthy hair. Cooler temperatures, dry air outdoors and dry hot air indoors can result in increased breakage to our hair. It is recommended to keep a healthy level of moisture in our hair through the cooler months. A good weekly deep conditioning routine is excellent for all hair types, textures, and thicknesses.
Here are several other tips you may find helpful to avoid the breakage during a harsh winter!
Deep condition more often
If you have never deep conditioned your hair, this is a great time to start. Use deep conditioner of choice, place plastic cap on head, or sit under dryer or steamer for 15-plus minutes, then rinse. Apply leave-in conditioner or heavier moisturizing creams, and seal with butters to retain moisture and help fight dryness.
To strengthen hair, it would be nice to add a protein treatment at least once a month as a deep conditioning treatment. For those who do not like butters to seal in moisture, some other options can be natural oils like grape seed oil, safflower oil, apricot oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc., to seal the ends of hair. After you apply water or a water-based moisturizer, seal the moisture in with an oil that helps retain moisture.
As many of you know, the oldest part of our hair is the ends. Protective styling is simply selecting a style that tucks away or protects the ends of your hair. The ends are already the driest part of our hair, so winter makes moisture retention difficult with the dry air indoors and out. Some folks cover their ends the entire winter to help retain moisture in the cold elements, lower manipulation and increase overall health of hair.
However, many people do not like protective styling, so maybe try one week out of a month to cover your ends; that is better than nothing, as it will give your hair a brief break. Some forms of protective styling include braids, wigs, buns, French rolls, bantu knots, some flat and regular twist and French braiding (watch the tension and pulling especially near the hairline).
Dry cold air outside and warm or hot air inside, along with adding the heat of blow drying and/or curling iron, creates a wicked combination of pulling a lot of the moisture from your hair. Try using other styling tools for sets like curl formers, flexi-rods or any other hair-setting styles because many of them can air dry without heat. However, should you blow dry or add heat to your tresses, it’s good practice to use a heat protectant to avoid heat damage and excessive dryness.
Wear a hat and purchase a satin bonnet/silk scarf
Try to protect hair from the elements of the weather. I would encourage you to invest in a silk bonnet or scarf to wear under your hats and over your coat collars to avoid breakage from other materials such as wool. Hair tends to rub against rough materials, causing excess friction and damaging the hairline.
Use plastic caps
(Some folks use plastics bags from the stores…don’t through away grocery bags.)
What a fantastic way to deep condition. Add conditioner or hot oil treatment to your hair, put on the plastic cap or bag, cover with a bonnet and then wear your hat. This is a great weekend or evening way to moisturize your tresses.
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.