Winter is one of the harshest seasons of the year for natural hair. If you take the time to give your tresses some extra TLC, your hair with thank you by looking fabulous and spring and summer long. Since the cold winter air can be so dry, the biggest battle for any #naturalista to fight this season will be dry and brittle hair. Here are Red Carpet Curl’s Top 10 Winter Hair Care Tips to keep you looking beautiful all season long.
- Deep Condition Bi-Weekly
This was a huge lifesaver for me when I first started the journey. As time rolls on, the needs of your hair are going to change, but deep conditioning never should. Think about it like your hair’s own insurance policy. Consistent deep conditioning treatments (especially while utilizing a safe form of heat), will continually hydrate and repair the hair from within. Consistent deep conditioning will naturally raise the moisture levels of your hair. For high porosity hair, over time, it will help equalize the porosity to prevent moisture from leaking out the gaps of the scales on the outer layer of the hair strand. When I first started the journey, my high porosity hair was constantly dry. At that time I didn’t know helpful tips like using oil to seal the hair strands, to lock in moisture. So, deep conditioning twice a week for 30 minutes at a time helped repair my hair faster and kept my hair moisturized no matter what the weather was during that time period. As your hair gets healthier, deep conditioning will increase elasticity and shine, for your absolute best curl potential.
- Incorporate and start your washday with steam
Steam has been a huge key to not only repairing my hair but keeping it hydrated longer to extend my wash and goes. Steam helps lift the closed hair follicle allowing the steam (water in vapor form) to effectively penetrate and moisturize. The heat helps keep the cuticle open so products can really penetrate, moisturize, and seal moisture into the hair. Incorporating steam helps encourage hair growth by keeping the scalp clean and moisturized. If your scalp is dry and flaky it means there’s not enough natural sebum (the oil your scalp produces) then your hair will lack the nutrients and moisture it needs to keep hair growing. By using steam, the heat will cut through any build up blocking potential hair growth in the scalp, moisturize the scalp, and soften the hair. Steam is a great option for length retention! Every morning I use my Q-redew hair steamer and focus the steam on my ends. Since the ends of your hair are the driest part of the hair (since it’s the furthest away from the natural oils your scalp produces) it’s the most vulnerable to breakage. By focusing the steam there every day, I am strengthening the ends by hydrating them which increases the hair’s elasticity.
- Use silk or satin pillowcases, hats, bonnets, etc.
Coarse fabrics can snag the cuticle of your curl, causing damage and frizz. This means stay away from wool hats during the winter months, don’t worry there are satin and silk options! You don’t have to suffer hypothermia to look cute. Common everyday fabrics like cotton leave us vulnerable to frizz and breakage. During the day we try hard with all our products and treatments to get moisture into the hair and lock it in. Yet, every time you lay your head down on that pillow every night you are reversing all the good you have done! Cotton sucks out all the moisture in hair strands, which is why we wake up with so much frizz. The friction between the hair strand and the pillow cause tension in the hair and often ends with the strands breaking off. Sleeping on satin or silk pillowcases or other accessories helps to protect the hair from moisture loss, frizz, and possible breakage.
- Scalp Massages Every Single Day
Naturally textured (waves, curls, coils) hair, grows differently than straight hair. It is very easy to notice growth in straight hair since it just grows out and down. Textured hair has a spring factor, it experiences shrinkage. That is why natural hair often looks like its not growing but trust me it is! Hair grows on average ½ an inch a month, resulting in six inches a year. Scalp massage (especially with a few drops of oil) helps to keep the scalp moisturized and gives the hair follicles the nutrients it needs to continue steady hair growth. Scalp massages increase the circulation of blood flow to the scrap increasing hair growth as well. The physical act of scalp massages helps promote relaxation, helps soothes headaches and migraines, and even helps soothe sore scalps from hair growth or weight (often seen in fine haired queens). Consistent scalp massages will loosen any debris that can possibly clog hair follicles, along with strengthening the roots. With scalp massages, you can create more volume, keep the scalp moisturized, and keep hair sealed. This will lead to the most successful length retention.
- Eat Healthily
Remember that old saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this but it’s true. You cannot rely solely on hair growth vitamins and our products to make our hair grow. If we are doing everything right on the outside but everything wrong on the inside, there will be no progress, or at least, very little of it. Hair best receives its nutrients from the foods we eat, that is why we need to make sure we sustain a diet with the nutrients vital for hair growth:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Healthy Fats
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
These nutrients have to be part of your diet for your hair to continue to repair its health, give off a natural shine, and reinforce elasticity and hair strength. By consuming these nutrients through your food instead of pills, they are more effective. If your body is healthy, your hair will be healthy. Whereas if you rely solely on pills, these nutrients may be redirected to areas that need to the nutrients more than the hair. At least with eating your nutrients, you know the nutrients are spreading throughout the body to support all functions for overall health.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Your hair is like a plant it needs water, well if you want me, to be honest, your entire body needs more water. Water is the most natural and easiest way to detoxify your body. Water hydrates the body and helps to regulate the circulatory system, which is responsible for feeding the hair follicle. This process stimulates hair growth. If the roots are deficient in water levels, your hair begins to try and preserve whatever moisture it currently has. This will end up leading to dry and brittle hair that can eventually stop growing. Water is a key ingredient that supports the absorption of vitamins and other nutrients. Water makes up 25% of hair strands weight. Drinking at least 8-10 glasses a day will ensure the strengthening of your strands. Remember, dehydration immediately stops any potential hair growth. Ideally, you want to drink half your body weight in water every day. For example, I am 150 pounds, half weight in ounces of water is 75. Meaning I would have to drink about 9-10 glasses of water a day to keep my body and hair properly functioning and hydrated. The more water you drink, the stronger it will be to resist drying out and breaking off.
- Co-wash more often than shampoo
Winter months are especially brutal to the hair because there is no humidity (moisture) in the hair. The more we expose our fragile hair to hash dry winds, the drier it will become. Using shampoo frequently on top of this can lead to dull, frizzy, and brittle hair. Co-washing provides the same clean scalp feeling while giving your hair the extra dose of moisture it needs. During the winter I shampoo my hair once every two weeks and co-wash in between. This will also help avoid breakage to maintain length.
- Use oils like broccoli oil to SOTC (scrunch out the cast) ensuring that your hair is sealed
Broccoli oil acts the same way silicones do in the hair. The oil leaves thin filming around the outer layer of the hair strand in an attempt to seal in moisture for longer periods of time. Properly sealing hair with broccoli oil will help prevent frizzing during times of high humidity. Broccoli oil is a great way to prevent excess moisture in the environment from entering the hair strand and swelling it up (also known as frizz). During the winter months, broccoli oil will still serve you by locking in washday moisture for longer periods of time, to stretch out your wash and go in the harshest of winter conditions.
- Rotate Products Seasonally -Temporarily Avoid Humectants
As the seasons change, you should be rotating your products. For example, I have a few products in my closet that work amazingly for my curls during the summers but cost me definition in the winters. The reason might just be the humectants inside the product! Humectant ingredients including honey, wheat protein, fructose, sorbitol, glycerin, and panthenol are great in the summer but can be a problem in the winter months. That is because humectants have one main job, reaching into the atmosphere for moisture to replenish the hair strands. If there is no humidity (moisture) in the air the humectants will have the opposite effects. If there is no moisture in the air to reach for, the hair will just frizz. A seasonal change in products helps keep hair looking its best all year round.
- Utilize cold water rinses
Cold water rinses, although hard to get through during the winters, can be a quick but very effective way to treat frizz. The outer layer of your hair strand, also known as the cuticle, has overlapping scales that rise and fall to allow moisture and nutrients in and out of the hair. The more damage you cause your hair with straightening or chemical treatments can leave those scales permanently open. This allows the moisture from your hair to leak out through the small gap, resulting in frizzy, dry, and dull hair. After you rinse out your deep conditioner, rinsing one last time with cold water serves to in a way “shock” your follicles and make sure the scales are tightly sealed. With the scales sealed the hair strands are able to reflect sunlight and give off a natural shine. This is a great tip for high porosity ladies and gents. I would not recommend this step for those that have low porosity hair since low porosity hair cuticles are already sealed so tightly you do not want to make it even more difficult to get moisture into your strands.