9 Ways To Winter-Proof Your Curly Hair And Make Sure It Retains Moisture
Winter, with its windchill and dry air, can be a particularly brutal time on sensitive strands–especially for Afro-Latinas. Hair with a curlier pattern is more prone to breakage, as it is more difficult for the natural lubrication of the scalp to travel down the hair shaft and moisturize hair ends.
So although we love the winter months for all the festivities and the rare time we get to spend with our families, a part of us also dreads it. Or more accurately, our hair dreads it. With our (often) ethnically mixed heritage, our hair patterns can run the gamut–from poker-straight to kinky-coily. And because of this, we have to pay special attention to the way our hair reacts to the winter elements. Because what works for our primas doesn’t necessarily work for us. In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of ways to winter-proof our hair this season. Check it out below!
1. Trim Your Ends
At some point, as grown women, we have to come to terms with the fact that we need to trim our hair every 6-8 weeks. It may be hard to part with the puny amount of growth we seem to accumulate over the previous months, but it’s also universally acknowledged at this point, that trimming your hair is one of the best ways to keep your hair healthier and achieve more progress in your length journey. So, go make that appointment with your stylist ASAP!
2. Cover Your Head
To prevent your hair from receiving the full brunt of the winter elements during the colder months, try physically covering it. Scarves and hats physically shield your hair from wind, dryness, and precipitation–elements that are known to damage sensitive hair. However, it’s important to pay attention to the fabric you use, as some of the coziest fabrics out there have a rough reputation. By that, we mean that warm fabrics such as wool an cotton cause the highest amounts of friction against hair strands, making it break easier. If you truly want to baby your strands, buy a silk scarf or a silk-lined hat. You won’t regret it.
3. Don’t Leave the House With Wet Hair
This piece of advice may seem like an old wives’ tale that your madre has repeated one hundred times. But in this case, it’s true! Leaving the house with wet hair isn’t just damaging to your health, it’s damaging to your hair. We all know that our hair takes longer to dry in the cold weather, but we sometimes conveniently ignore the fact that our hair also freezes when it’s wet. And when you have frozen hair, you risk breakage. So, plan your schedule accordingly and make sure your hair is 100% dry when you leave the house (preferably air-dried).
4. Stick to Rinsing in Cool or Warm Water
We have to admit that there’s almost nothing as satisfying as stepping into a hot bath or a hot shower after freezing our butts off in the winter cold. Unfortunately, this practice can be damaging to delicate strands. When you wash your hair in hot water, the water opens “elevates” the cuticle of the hair making it porous. Porous hair is more vulnerable to the elements and more prone to breakage. If you must take a hot shower, make sure you tie up your hair or cover it in a shower cap.
5. Use an Oil-Based Moisturizer
The best route to the healthiest, happiest hair? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Hydrated hair is hair that is stronger and less prone to splitting and fraying. And because oil doesn’t evaporate as quickly as water-based moisturizers, oil-based moisturizers are the perfect tool to lock-in hydration this winter. Look into argan oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil for maximum moisturization and protection.
6. Deep Condition
There isn’t a time of the year when your hair needs moisture more than it does in the winter. Because of the winter months’ reputation from dryness and wind chill, your hair is more likely than ever to become a frizzy, brittle mess. Deep conditioners help to penetrate the hair shaft and nourish it with fatty acids, proteins, and nutrients that strengthen and protect that strand from the inside out. To get more mileage from your deep-conditioner, pop under a hair dryer for a few minutes to enable maximum penetration.
7. Cut Back on Heat Styling
The winter months are usually chock-full of opportunities to become extra-dependent on your trusty blow dryer and curling iron. After all, everyone wants to look their best during gatherings where there are sure to be tons of photo ops. But curling irons and straighteners weaken our strands by damaging the cuticle. Additionally, blow-drying our hair creates a “flash drying” effect that robs the hair of its moisture and natural oils. Although it’s okay to use heat once in a while, work on limiting your dependency–especially during the winter months,
8. Buy a Humidifier
You can slather on as many oils and moisturizers as you can get your hands on, but if you live in a dry-air climate, you’re fighting a losing battle. That is unless you buy a humidifier. Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture to your strands in dry climates where moisture is hard to come by. This one almost seems obvious upon further reflection, but it’s something that doesn’t even cross people’s minds. The equation is simple: a humidifier = moisturized hair. Moisturized hair = healthy hair. Case closed!
9. Utilize Protective Styling
If all of the options above still fall short of preventing breakage and dryness in your hair, opt for protective styles. Twists, braids, and weaves protect your hair from rough elements and the day-to-day unnecessary friction.’ It’s no wonder that some women report incredible length gains after protective styling for a few months. So if you’re tired of using hats, humidifiers, and deep conditioners take a break from the hair-mania and put your hair away for a while.
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