Chapping and windburn and frostbite - oh my! If these are the effects winter can have on your skin, imagine what it's doing to your hair. Fortunately there are easy ways to avoid incurring any serious damage, and the first step is knowing what the causes are. In my experience, natural hair has had to fight against three enemies in particular:
1. DRYNESS - I've got a relatively thirsty head of hair. Daily spritzing has done it wonders, even with high humidity during the summer. If your 'fro shares the same personality, then moisturizing in winter is especially crucial. Denying it the hydration it needs leaves it more susceptible to splitting and breakage. This is because moisture boosts the strength and elasticity of each hair strand. Dry hair is especially vulnerable to the next two enemies, so don't skimp on the deep conditioning!
2. COLD TEMPERATURES - While the lower temperatures in and of themselves probably don't hurt my hair, I have noticed that many of the products I use function differently in cold weather. The best example I can think of is liquid coconut oil. It melts gloriously into my locks if I apply it while it's warm. However, if I don't stay indoors long enough for the oil to properly moisturize my hair, it slowly begins to solidify and become more like a gel! I sidestep this by making sure I only use coconut oil at night in the winter so that by the time I awaken, pretty much all of it has been gobbled up by my hair. Some of the products you use may also be temperature-sensitive, so it's important to tweak how you use them in the winter in order to continue achieving optimal results.
3. FRICTION - I'm wearing a toque as I write this blog post knowing full well that it could be breaking my hair. This is because wool, cotton, and other fibres that make hats and earmuffs warm are also notorious for tugging at kinky hair. The friction these cozy accessories cause by rubbing against our strands dries out and weakens our hair. If you like chunky cable knit scarves like I do, be sure to protect the hairs at the nape of your neck by hiding them away in braids or twists. Right now I'm wearing my hair in flat twists and I've got them wrapped up in a silk scarf underneath my toque - just to be safe!
What's your winter hair care trick? Share in a comment below!