Monday, October 4, 2010

Winterproof Your Hair! The Weather Is Changing. Has Your Hair Regimen?

Straight or curly for the winter? [source]

The cold winter months can wreak havoc on your kinks, coils and curls. Extreme winter weather can rob moisture from your hair leaving it dry, brittle and filled with static electricity due to the dryness in the air. The heat from your central heating is also a culprit contributing to the lack of moisture as well. Here are a few winter tips to help combat dryness and retain moisture.

Put away glycerin for the winter: My favorite moisturizer is comprised mostly of glycerin, so I have to pack it away during the cold winter months. Glycerin is an amazing humectant when there is actually moisture in the air. Glycerin keeps hair moisturized by attracting water molecules to your strands which hydrates your hair. During the colder months there is very little "moisture" or humidity in the air, so glycerin has the reverse effect. It pulls moisture from your hair instead of from the elements around you. What this means is using glycerin during the winter could have drying effects; leaving your hair hard, gummy and dry.

* I only stash the products that contain a substantial amount of glycerin. Lets say in the first 2-3 ingredients [think moisturizing spritz's, or moisturizers with glycerin as the second or third ingredient] . Products that contain humectants further down the ingredient list may still work for me [and may also work for you] during the winter, it's just a series of trial and error and dependent upon the product and the climate of your location.- For example, lots of curlies in colder climates rave about Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive being their staple product during the winter, yet this product contains glycerin. Although I don't know the exact product formulation, I can tell by looking at the ingredients that come before and after it to know that it doesn't contain that much [ingredients are listed in descending order of weight, from most prevelant to least].

Use sulfate-free shampoo: The name of the game during the harsh winter months is moisture retention. Put away your regular shampoo and reach for a product that is sulfate free. Sulfate-free shampoo's are less drying to the hair and scalp which helps your hair retain more moisture.
Product Recommendations:
Always use a leave in: Leave-in conditioners nourish the follicles with hair-loving vitamins and nutrients whilst protecting the hair from the harsh elements of winter.
Product Recommendations:
Moisturize daily with a light moisturizer and seal with an oil: This replenishes moisture and helps your strands brave the elements of the dry, cold winter months. The moisturizer hydrates and nourishes your hair while the oil acts as a barrier and seals in the moisture.
Product Recommendations [Moisturizers]:
Product Recommendations [Oils]
  • Castor Oil
  • Avocado Oil
Apply a heavy moisturizer twice weekly for extra reinforcement: Apply a heavy moisturizer to the ends of your hair only, as the ends are the oldest most fragile portion of your tresses.
Product Recommendations:
Weekly deep conditioning steam treatments: Slather on your favorite heavy duty deep conditioner and sit under a steamer for a deep treat. You can also put a plastic cap over your head and wrap a warm towel around the cap for a steam treatment as well. Steam treatments during the winter helps keep your hair soft, manageable, improve elasticity of the hair, and helps the conditioner better penetrate the shaft by using steam to gently open the cuticles.
Product Recommendations:
Exfoliate scalp regularly: The dry, harsh weather can leave your scalp dry, itchy, flaky and inflamed. Please remember to exfoliate your scalp regularly to avoid hair loss and thinning due to inflammation. You can clarify to gently remove excess dirt, sebum, and dead skin cells, or you can use a natural DIY alternative like the methods outlined in {this} post.

Protective styling: Protective styling is an option to get through those winter months without exposing the most fragile portion of your hair [the ends] to the elements. You can wear buns, braids, wigs, extensions and even phony ponies. Often, many women also decide to go straight for the winter as they find it easier to deal with the needs of their hair while straight. - Over the next few weeks I will offer heat-free protective styling ideas that are a bit more fancy vs the run-of-the-mill bun.

**These products contain glycerin but still work well for me during the winter. 

What do you do to your hair over the winter to keep it soft and hydrated? 

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  1. I'll be moving to back home to New York this winter so my plan is to get kinky twists for a couple months to protect my hair from the weather - great post!

  2. I pre-poo with coconut and olive oil, wash with sulfate free shampoo, use a rich conditioner, leave in, moisturize, seal with oil and then twist. hide all of that under a satin do-rag and put on wigs for protective styling :D

  3. great tips for the winter. i was really short last winter so i didn't realize the effects of the cold weather.

    link up you DIY and outfit post
    for a chance to win a month long feature

  4. do you think a glued full lace wig is ok ?

  5. OMG!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I have been on the net for the last hour researching the best way to care for my hair during the fall/winter months. This is great information.


  6. my friends and i were just talking about this because i'm going to do my BC soon so i was looking for some help on winterizing my hair. Thanks!!! I love the blog!!!

  7. I love castor it's like no toher oil worksfor me like castor does so I will def keep it to seal. Asfar as protective styles all the way until the holidays. Great post!

  8. Could wearing hats also protect the hair when outside?

  9. Thank you for this post! I never understood why my hair ended up crunchy after a glycerin and water spritz :)

  10. Jamaican Black Castor oil became my best friend this past year and I am going to make this my go to product for the winter for the first time. Its liquid gold ladies!

  11. biggest tip here is to put away the glycerin! so many people involve it in their regimen without thinking about the weather change.

    great post! very informative and i LOVE the picture

  12. Great post very beneficial! it:) take care.


  13. Thank you for this article!

    However, fyi, the link in the "Exfoliate Your Scalp" entry is wrong. It points to the Aubrey Organics website instead of a post on scalp exfoliation.

  14. I am looking forward to the coming straight hair tips! I'm finally committing to straightening myself and I'd like to know about products, upkeep (the idea of "moisterizing" my straightened hair just seems so foreign to me - my hair is easily weighed down when I add anything to it while straight, so curious to see what hte suggestions are.)

    ALSO would love to see you try the "Silk Wrap." I'm not too keen on attempting to flatiron or press my own hair, but the silk wrap seems like a simpler alternative.

  15. Oyin's Whipped Pudding has vegetable glycerine and honey in it which are both humectants.

    My winter routine for last year:

    Shampoo: Giovanni Deep Mositure every 7 days
    Conditioner: Sauve
    Deep Conditioner: Jessie Curl Weekly Deep Treat or Aubreys Organic Honeysuckle Rose with every wash
    Leave-In: Giovanni Direct Leave-in
    Oil: EVOO

    This year I am going to revamp my reggie by adding Oyin's Burnt Sugar Pomade, a second leave-in without protien, another DC to sub for Aubrey's and Yes to cucumbers for my conditioner. I also plan on adding a light daily moisturizer without con's.

    Thanks for the post.

  16. @CURLY + NERDY; Thank you very much!

    @socialitedreams; sounds like you have your regimen all ready to go!

    @L ~DIY Diva~ Thank you, I hope you find these tips useful this year!; You must be very careful around the hairline. You also have to make sure that you moisturize more during the winter because not only does your hair have to deal with the drier weather, but the wig can also suck the moisture out of your hair. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

    @Growing and Living in NYC; You're welcome! Thank you!

    @Da DEFINITION...; Thank you!!

    @Hell Notes for Beauty™ Thank you! And isn't Castor Oil amazing?!?!?

    @vanilla-09; It can, but be sure to wear a silk scarf underneath to protect your hair from the friction!

    @The Randomness; There ya go! Glad I was able to make sense out of that one! It threw me for a loop the first time as well!

    @Afrikan Latina; I am going to have to buy some of this liquid gold real soon!

    @BreukelensFinest; Thank you!

    @zainab1; Thanks!

    @Fatin; Thank you! I just corrected the link!

    @Anonymous; Stay tuned! And I have never tried the silk wrap method. Honestly the amount of hair I have intimidates me to even try it! LOL

    @Passion; Humectants are definitely in this product but they are closer to the end of the ingredient list so they still manage to work for me. There are a lot of products that contain humectants [conditioners and leave-in;s especially], both natural and synthetic; however the key for me is making sure I pick products that has them listed further down in the ingredients versus the first few ingredients. I haven't tried Yes to cucumbers, going to have to give that one a shot! And I absolutely love Oyin's burnt sugar pomade.

  17. Wonderful advice.

    I use a humidifier in the winter to help combat the dry indoor air. It wrecks havoc on your tresses!

  18. hey, can you give tips on keeping the hair moisturized while protective styling (braids, twists)? i just got braids with extensions today and I am having moisture issues. i would hate to take the braids out and have drier hair. i don't want the state of my hair to deteriorate while protective styling.


  19. looking forward to the protective hairs styles!!!

  20. Great tips! I definitely need to change up my routine cause my scalp is already dry from the weather change. Question on protective styling: I have locs and when I get my hair styled, it can last 2 weeks but the dryness usually takes effect and I have to wash out my $65 hair do because I can't take the flakiness or itchiness anymore. What can I do to maintain it for 2 weeks? Braid sprays just didn't do it for me.

  21. WOW, great blog post Im taking notes!! Thank you for the information Im always trying to find something to define my curls & keep them moisturized!

  22. Kimmoy have you tried homamde flax seed gel made with spring water? there are some videos on youtube about how to make it. it works well on wet or dry hair without buildup and I find it hydrating. I gave it to my brother who has permanent locs once and he loved it. it's not a humectant (aloe is), so it works all year round, and it even has slight cleansing properties if you rinse it off. It also keeps your locs shiny and all put together.


  23. Thank you for these tips, I am really looking forward to your up coming post on protective styles. I can pull my hair back but it is just a big, thick puff and I can't seem to bun it. I also don't like to do twist because I look too juvenile since I'm 35+. I am still learning a lot about my natural hair and haven't quite figured out a routine I stick with, I keep jumping from products to products I really don't see much difference, but I do love Jane Carter's twist and lock.

  24. i was thinking of keeping my hair in protective styles this winter. I think that'll be my best best.

  25. It's the funniest thing, I can ONLY use stuff with glycerin in the winter!! In the hotter weather my hair boycotts it like crazy. Like curl junkie aloe fix, I can only use in the cold! And my hair is sooo soft. Go figure.

  26. I didn't know that about the glycerin, great tip for the winter! Is it okay if I post this on a natural info board i have up in my yoga studio? Such good into to know! :)

  27. This is such interesting information! Who would have thought after 12 yrs of being natural I still am learning new things! Thanks for the informative blog (both hair and fashion)
    So Im thinking its the glycerin in Oyins juices and berries thats making my hair kinda dull and dry?? Baffling though because when I use the Whipped butter its i love that stuff so Im happy,but I guess I'll just have to switch up my leave in this winter...bummer I really do like juices and berries lol

  28. Omg I don't if I should get a weave as a protective style anymore. I got a sewed in weave last Saturday and I had to take it down on the following Thursday. After 5 days It was still too tight. I couldn’t handle it no more. Believe it or not only 5 days and I already had 2 little bold spot. Me who’s been so careful with my hair since my BC in april. So ladies please make sure your extensions on not put on too tight

  29. we experiencing harmattan in Ghana n it n i just grew my hair to my middle back n my tresses are very healthy, hope these tips will be useful because i dont want to wear a weave this christmas


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