Hair-Protecting Regimens For The Winter

It's that time of year where the warm sunny days are becoming a thing of the past as red, gold and brown leaves grace our sidewalks and cover our lawns. Yes, Fall has arrived and not to far behind is winter. With winter comes colds and dry skins so we have to keep the Vaseline on deck instead of lotion to keep our skin from getting dry in the harsh winter months. Not only do we need to keep our bodies protected from the bitter winds of the season, we also need to keep our hair protected.

The African American Woman’s hair is a versatile mixture of textures and patterns, whether it’s worn in its natural state of a variety of curls and kinks, relaxed and straight or enhanced with weave. Yet, with that versatility comes the task of caring for and growing our hair and keeping it healthy. For instance, with natural hair it is challenging to maintain the curls, kinks and coils while trying to keep it from getting dry, especially in the winter. Relaxed hair is fragile and tends to shrink when it’s dry, but has more give when it’s wet; however, it’s a challenge to keep moisture in it.

During this season the importance of having a regimen is essential for healthy hair in the spring and summer. With the harsh winter weather, maintaining a healthy head of hair is challenging. It’s important to take care of your hair at all times.

Why winter is harder on hair

The air in winter has no humidity without that hair becomes dry and brittle. The reason for this is hair pulls moisture from the air to hydrate itself. This is why it is important to keep your hair moist during the long winter months; here are some helpful tips:
  • Line wool caps with a silk lining to prevent breakage. If the scarf around your neck is wool, wear a silk scarf or pull it up 
  • Dry cold air outside to the dry hot air inside can dry hair out 
  • Deep conditioning can hold moisture in hair to help protect it from the winter elements. 
  • Wet hair in the cold winter months is a no-no. Freezing temperatures can cause hair to freeze and break, causing major damage 
  • Try to use less heat in hair. Flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons speed up the drying process during these times
  • Practice setting techniques, such as, wet sets, placing wet hair in curlers until hair has dried
  • Pin curls and wrapping the hair around your head then tying it up keeps the heat away
  • Lastly, try protective styles, such as braids, twists, buns and top knots, this will protect hair from the dry brittle air of winter
Some protective styles
  • Bun or Chignon is a versatile style that can be worn casually and dressy. Buns can be done on relaxed and natural hair. 
  • Two-strand twists works best for natural hair, this style will help keep the ends of hair from being exposed to the dry air and it can be styled in many different way. 
  • Braids can be worn on your hair or with weave, however hair and scalp care are still important to maintaining healthy hair in winter hair. 
  • Weaves help your hair to grow and it is a major protectant. With natural hair braided beneath the weave, it’s protected from all of the seasonal elements. 
  • Flat twists look like cornrows but with just two strands of hair. This style is good for both relaxed and natural hair.

Maintaining Relaxed Hair

It’s is important to have an ongoing regimen to maintain healthy, relaxed hair. When using chemicals to straighten hair, it can get permanently damaged. Allow a professional to put a relaxer in your hair. This is because it is easy to leave the relaxer in for too long, which could cause over processing. To avoid over-processing wait the suggested time for a touch-up or to reapply a relaxer. Choose a low to no-heat styling option because less heat helps lock moisture.

Protective styles to help this process. 

Prior to bed wrap your hair at night in a silk scarf or have a silk pillowcase to keep breakage at bay. Keep the ends of hair trimmed to prevent extremely dry ends from becoming damaged and to prevent shedding.

Maintaining Healthy Natural Hair
Many African American women have decided to let go of their relaxed hair to rock the natural do. Common mistakes many make when making the transition is to use hair products in excess. This leaves hair heavy and thick and in need of a wash; however, too much washing can cause dryness.

 Another common mistake is returning to the relaxer during the “in-between” stage. Hair has to go through a healing process in order for it to get to its natural texture and curl. To get through the transitioning phase, use less heat, a hood dryer is a good option, and apply foam setting and Bantu knots overnight to get the curly look. Braids or twists can also help during the transition phase.

Make sure to stick with your regimen and try different products to see what works best for your hair. Not everyone's hair will be the same, so some experimenting is a must in finding what works for you.

Maintaining Healthy dreadlocks

Dreadlocks have made a major comeback. The key to keeping your hair healthy is a daily regimen whether your hair is natural, relaxed or dreaded. Here are a few helpful tips for healthy dreads: Find an effective loctician who can give good advice on how to care for dreads and keep the scalp moist. Make sure the scalp is massaged to help stimulate hair growth. Try not to re-twist the hair too much as it can cause breakage and thinning out, instead. Try different styles for up keep. Sleep with a silk scarf or silk pillow case to keep hair from getting dry, brittle and breaking from damage. Lastly, be patient and let them grow.

Having a healthy hair regimen during the winter months will prevent unhealthy and dry spring and summer hair. Keep the hair moist and protected with styles that help the delicate ends will make it easier to care for later in the year. Wear silk lined hats that will aid in keeping your hair moist and avoid the harsh winter months.


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