If you live somewhere that has distinctive seasons, you’ve probably noticed the different effects that dry, cold and humid air can have on your hair. It’s well known that prolonged exposure to harsh cold begins to sap our hair’s moisture, leaving it prone to breakage, flakiness and dryness. The effects of which can become more pronounced the tighter your curl pattern is. Our modern lives also exacerbate these issues with the constant transition from harsh winter weather into our central heated homes and back again.
So what are you to do about this troubling news, you ask? Fear not, for we’ve put together 7 essential winter hair care tips so you can stop winter from wrecking your perfect hair game this season.
1. Protective styling
Protective styles can be a great aid when trying to optimise your winter hair routine. Protective styles can be anything from clip-in extensions to box braids and are styles that can be kept in for several weeks. They help shield your hair from the elements and minimise the need for manipulation with heat.
If you’re looking for some hairspiration we’ve got a great blog post on protective styles that you can read here!
2. Moisturise and seal
Although colder conditions are known to have an adverse effect on hair, it’s actually the frequent transition between the cold and indoor heating that hurts our hair the most. You needn’t go to extremes and cut off your energy supply just yet though, this can be combated with a good moisturising product like a leave-in conditioner and daily moisturiser. You will also want a quality oil that can seal in the hair moisturiser. We’re big fans of jojoba, argan and sweet almond oil, but you can use any oil that works for you. If you what to level-up your moisture game check out our blog post on the L.O.C method, which is perfect for dry hair.
If you’re only experiencing a little dryness or are looking for a preventative measure, simply apply a few drops of oil to the ends of your hair each day. This will help revitalise your hair and prevent breakage, as well as leaving it soft and shiny.
If you’re suffering from more severe dandruff or flakiness we suggest applying a heavier oil treatment to your hair and scalp, allowing it to absorb for 20-30 minutes before continuing your wash as usual. This will nourish your hair, and is a quick fix for any flakiness you’re experiencing.
3. Limit heat
We know you’ve heard it before, but it rings even more true when the temperature begins to drop. It’s important to try to limit your use of tools like hair dryers, straighteners and curling tongs, because the heat can dry out your hair and scalp, increasing the risk of damage and breakage. We recommend experimenting with heat-free styling methods as much as possible.
A braid out is a great way to add some curl definition to your hair that doesn’t require heat, and banding, the method of dividing the hair into sections and wrapping hair ties throughout, can prevent shrinkage and lengthen the hair, heat-free. (Although both methods are best done overnight, as it can take several hours for hair to adapt to its new mould.)
If you’re still having trouble putting away your straighter, read on for some tips on protective styles that might be a perfect solution for you whilst your waiting for the weather to warm up.
4. Watch your wash routine
If you’re guilty of overwashing your hair this is your final warning that winter will be even less forgiving of this sin! Over washing strips your hair of natural oils that help to keep it healthy and moisturised, which is even more essential during the harsher winter months.
How often you should wash your hair is a very personal thing and does require some trial and error. If you feel you’re experiencing dryness washing 3 times a week, try to extend the time between your washes and go for 2, or maybe 1. There are a lot of great dry shampoos for natural hair available that can help you between washes if you’re struggling.
If you’re finding your shampoo regime is drying out your hair, consider giving it a rest and co-washing for a few weeks. A co-wash is a specially formulated cream cleanser that helps to remove buildup without the harsh parabens and sulfates commonly found in shampoos. A co-wash is much milder than shampoo and because of this and can often be used more frequently without risk of drying out the scalp. The conditioning properties help to add moisture to the hair, while the mild cleansing agents remove dirt and grease.
6. Get silky
There’s a reason why most hair bonnets are made up of satin or silk, and that’s because wool, cotton and other coarser materials can increase breakage with the friction that’s created when rubbing against the hair. Consider replacing all fabrics that often come into contact with your hair with silk or satin. This includes hair bonnets and pillowcases, as well as any frequently worn hats, bandanas or headscarves.
Photo via naptural85 on YouTube
Replacing your fabrics with ones that will be kinder to your hair doesn’t need to break the bank. If you’re willing to do a bit of DIY, find an old satin scarf or head down to your local fabric store, and with a little measuring tape and thread you can sew the fabric into the lining of any hat or pillowcase. Check out Ayesha video (aka Healthy Hair Junkie) on how to make your own affordable satin-lined hat.
7. Keep hydrated
Last but certainly not least - stay hydrated. Hydration starts from the inside out, and if you’re dehydrated you can’t expect to have well-nourished and moisturized locks. Believe it or not, water accounts for almost 25% of the weight of just a single strand of hair. When our skin is looking dull and tired, we are quick to make the correlation with being dehydrated but due to our hair taking a little longer to show the effects, we often forget that our hair acts very similarly to our skin. Staying hydrated can prevent dandruff, dryness and itchiness as well as help to stimulate hair growth. To get these benefits you’ll want to be drinking at least 2 litres of water everyday.
Winter hair care can seem complicated but it really does revolve around one thing, moisture, moisture, moisture! Finding ways to ensure your hair remains well-nourished and moisturised is the key to healthy, happy hair in any season.
We hope these tips help you create a killer winter regimen of your own! Any tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!