Winter is here; which means a change of wardrobe, driving conditions and should mean a change in your hair care regimen. This may also mean a change in your hair care products, especially if you have natural hair. If you were lax in your hair care during the warmer months, you may have survived with minor damage, but if you do not take some serious precautions during the colder months, come Spring, you will definitely regret it.
Because the winter months can wreak havoc on your hair, it’s very important to choose low maintenance styles so that you do not have to comb or brush often. It’s also a great idea to incorporate a routine that causes very little stress on your hair such as letting the hair air dry instead of blow drying it; finger combing the hair instead of using an actual comb; or if you do use a comb, use a wide tooth comb. Also, chose good moisturizing hair care products that do not contain mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, SLS or SLES, as all of these cause dryness.
The harsh cold and frosty winds can cause excessive dryness and dandruff, and if you don’t retain or replenish the moisture in your hair, damage will soon follow. The best way to combat this is by protecting the hair. During the winter, I never leave out of my house without my hair being covered. I generally wear a satin or silk scarf under my winter hat to preserve the style as well as prevent direct contact with the harsh material most hats are made of.
In the winter the air becomes extremely dry and harsh; inside and outside. In order to retain moisture in your hair during the day, it is good to use a humidifier to emit humidity in the air inside of your home or office. This will not only combat dry and brittle hair, but can help prevent or minimize dandruff.
Many women opt to wear protective styles during the winter. Protective styles are styles that guard the ends of the hair from the elements; buns, braid extensions, and weaves are a few protective styles to consider. Each of these styles are generally low maintenance, and if maintained properly will allow you to preserve as much of your hair as possible throughout the winter months.
If you choose to wear a bun, it’s important to make sure that the hair is not pulled back too tightly, as this may cause stress on the hair line. It is also a good idea to take the bun down every night and lightly mist the ends (about the last 2 inches of hair) with a good moisturizing spray such as Growth by Sweet Nature by Eddie; and then lock in that moisture with a heavy oil such as castor oil. This will leave the hair super soft, strong and moisturized in the morning.
Braid extensions are also a great choice for winter months. If you follow these simple tips, not only will you preserve your hair, but you will have much stronger, softer and healthier hair come Spring. If you are going to use synthetic braiding hair such as yaki, kanekelon or other synthetic fibers, it is best if you soak the hair in apple cider vinegar and then rinse in cool water before getting your extensions put in. Synthetic braids come coated with a chemical that causes our hair to become dry; this will strip the chemical away. Another way to reduce dryness is by spraying the hair with a braid spray every day, again the Growth Spray by Sweet Nature is an excellent braid spray. You don’t have to drench the hair; a fine mist throughout the extensions will suffice.
Weaves are considered protective only if they are sewn in and your own hair is cornrowed, out of harm’s way. In this case, the only thing that is essential to retain moisture is to make sure that it is replenished on a regular basis. Depending on the quality of the weave, it’s a good idea to run water through the hair on a regularly, followed with a good moisturizing spray.
Regardless of which protective style you chose to rock during the winter, it’s important to make water your best friend; drink plenty of it and let it run through your hair often. You don’t have to shampoo your hair every time you get it wet, but just letting water run through your hair will restore lost moisture. When I wear braid extensions, I let water run through my braid every other day; although I wash them only once a week. I also try to kick up my water intake to no less than sixty or so ounces a day.
The best way of all to combat winter damage is to be proactive. If you start out with your hair strong and healthy before the winter, it will be a lot easier to maintain and preserve during winter. Adopt a weekly routine of washing with a moisturizing shampoo void of SLS and SLES; a good deep conditioner, and good moisturizer that does not contain mineral oil, petrolatum or paraffin, as these ingredients lead to dryness.
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