Now you have probably spent the entire summer in one protective style or another. You have kept your locks braided up because of the heat, and your hair has thanked you for leaving it alone. It has grown! However, now that the sun is going away earlier and the temperature is dropping you do not want to stop catering to your hair’s needs and lose all of your progress.
The winter months are notorious for stealing your hair’s moisture. Meaning that heavier products like butter and creams will need to be drafted into your hair care regimen to lock moisture into your hair. However, there are also a few more processes that will keep your hair moisturized in this dry cold.
The art of pre-shampooing is scared. Normally, we ditch this step on our wash day during the summer months. We want to use fewer products amongst natural elements like humidity and heat.
However, in the winter pre-pooing can not only help your hair to retain more moisture, but it can also be one of the best detangling agents when you are taking down your protective style.
Pre-pooing involves you applying a moisturizer, penetrating oil that can go into the hair’s cuticle, or heavy conditioner to your dry hair at least 30 minutes before washing.
Some may even sleep with the oil on overnight to ensure your hair sucks in as much moisture as possible. It enables your hair to improve elasticity and allows moisture to go directly into the strands.
Doing this before washing your hair is important because it stops the shampoo from completely stripping your hair.
Remember, if you try to pre-poo on wet hair the water will repel the oil. This will cause the oil to sit on top of the hair. This eliminates any chances of penetration.
Good oil to try for your pre-poo routine is extra virgin olive oil or aloe vera. Don’t forget: get some oil on your finger-pads and massage your scalp as well!
Shampooing your hair is a must!
Co-washing has turned into a fad amongst naturals and healthy-hair enthusiasts, and it has its perks in the winter. Nevertheless, your hair will not grow out of a product clogged scalp, and your product coated hair will not retain moisture; this is why I recommend both co-washing and clarifying during the winter!
In the winter, you should scale back from washing your hair at the same rate that you did during the summer. This helps to retain moisture in the midst of the drying wind whipping around outside.
For example, in the summer I wash my hair four to six times a month. In the winter I will only wash my hair two to three times a month. One of those three sessions will be a co-wash and the other two times I will use a gentle sulfate-free shampoo to clarify my hair and lift the product.
3. Deep Conditioning
If you are not a fan of deep conditioning consistently, it is okay! I get it; deep conditioning is a lot of work. However, in the winter months, a deep condition can give your hair the extra boost of moisture that it requires to flourish.
A compromise would be to deep condition after every take-down when giving your hair a break from a protective style, OR before installing a new hairstyle like a weave or braids.
A great deep conditioner for winter: a hair smoothie. As the DIY queen, I have a recipe that I stole and altered from Hey Fran Hey that works wonders for most hair types.
All you have to do is blend these ingredients in a blender or Nutri-bullet:
- ½ Banana: Emollient that will soften the hair
- ½ Avocado: All natural moisturizer loaded with fat
- 2 tbsp Organic raw honey: Natural shine serum
- ½ Cup Organic coconut milk: Protein booster to strengthen and fortify your hair
- ½ Cup Grapeseed oil (preferably organic): Awesome for sealing hair. It coats the cuticle of the hair strand and will aid in giving shine and less frizz. (Grapeseed oil can be a more economically friendly option with the same benefits as Extra Virgin Olive Oil).
Apply this hair-smoothie to your hair after you have wet it and let it sit for about 15 minutes. You can add heat to it as well for about five minutes and then proceed with your traditional wash regimen.
For added moisture be sure to use a leave-in conditioner before styling and seal the hair again.
Protective styling is the best way to keep your ends from splitting. Your ends are the most fragile part of your hair so a protective style like a weave or wig will not only protect your hair from the winter elements, but it will also keep the ends of your hair from rubbing on your sweater and other harsh fabrics that will cause them to split.
There are a few things that you can do to ensure you are getting the most out of your weave or wig during the winter months:
- Make sure your braid pattern in actually protecting your hair and not ripping at your roots. After your braid pattern is complete, be sure to look at your hair around the perimeter of your head and make sure it is not too tight.
- It would be helpful to have an anchor braid at the nape of your neck for your wig or weaves to hold the hair in place
Do not wear cornrows too small because you will still need to wash your hair to let the ultimate moisturizer reach your scalp: water.
Keep in mind that adding braiding hair to your braid pattern may dry out your natural hair. Your hair needs to stay moisturized under your weave so be sure to keep a spray bottle mixed with water, leave-in conditioner, and coconut oil handy to spray your scalp and keep the hair moisturized.
- Look after your leave out! Be sure to keep your leave-out moisturized and keep the use of heat under control. However, if wearing a straight style you have an option to wear a closure or frontal.
Those alternatives can protect the top of your head while giving you a natural look so that the prospect of heat damage is non-existent.
5. Wear The Right Hat
Knits and beanies are a great way to protect your hair from the raging winds. Wear headwear and scarves (depending on the length of your hair) made with a silk or satin lining! This lining will protect your hair from the headwear's acrylic material known to cause breakage.
In your current winter-hat doesn't have a silk or satin lining head over to your local beauty supply store and purchase a satin scarf for a few bucks! You can also sew that into the inside of your hat. Note that because fabrics like wool and acrylic can be drying, if you are wearing your curls out be sure to apply an oil-based moisturizer before putting on your hat.
There you have it! If you follow these five tips, you are sure to help your hair survive the winter months and flourish! By the time spring 2018 hits your locks are going to be ready to go on full display!
How do you switch up your hair care routine in the winter? Let us know in the comments below.