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FEATURES Nov 26 2012 1:52PM

How to Keep Your Hair Moisturized Through the Colder Winter Months

by Fran of HeyFranHey.com
Now that the colder months are approaching, it’s important to make the proper adjustments to our natural hair regimens. Retaining moisture, for textured hair, is already a bit of a challenge at times and the harsher air can only make it seem harder. Hydration is the only way to keep our hair beautiful, healthy and thriving, so modifying our methods to ensure consistently high levels of moisture, regardless of the weather, is vital. It can be done! Here are a few of my tried and true tips for battling the dry winter winds.
I don’t usually have a deep conditioning schedule for my hair. I feel my hair and let it “tell me” when it’s time to give it a bit of a moisture boost. I used to have the bad habit of over-conditioning and my hair would often appear thinner, a bit limp and even mushy to the touch. However, during the colder months, a deep conditioning schedule is almost necessary. The harsh winds undoubtedly strip the hair of its natural oils every time we step outside. Dry hair leads to breakage and scalp problems. Increasing deep conditioning treatments to once a week or once every 2 weeks will ensure our moisture levels are consistently high and able to combat the cold and penetrating air.
During the warmer temperatures, it’s easy to get away with moisturizing every few days, since the humidity allows moisture to be retained a little easier. The colder winds, however, can be a little less forgiving! I tend to use less of the lighter, fluffier creams and more of the thicker butters, like shea and cocoa, combined with oils. The butters are vital for keeping the strands hydrated and the oils help seal all of the moisture in. I usually apply moisture daily being that the winds are so stripping.
It is generally advised to minimize the use of products containing humectants during the colder weather; the reason being, humectants draw moisture from the air and into the hair. With dry air, however, humectants will draw moisture from the hair and into the air. In other words, your application of moisture will be reversed as soon as you step outside. Everyone’s hair reacts differently, of course, but it is something to keep in mind. One trick I’ve found useful, with my products containing glycerin, is to apply them before getting into the shower. The steam of the shower allows the humectants to set my hair, so the impact of the colder winds is less harsh once I step outside.
Protective Styling
Wash & Go styling can be extremely drying during winter weather because of the hair being free, wet and fragile in cold air and more susceptible to tangles and knots. Protective styling, on the other hand, will ensure ends are properly tucked away and protected from friction against scarves and hats as well as the elements. Hair is able to retain moisture better and for longer, while in twists and braids, because of the strands being pressed and coiled around each other. I’ve retained the most health and length from wearing my hair in protective styles all winter long.
Hats & Scarves
Most of us wear knitted or wool hats during the winter months. While these materials protect us from the harsh winds, they’re also extremely absorbent and consequently strip our hair and skin of natural oils. It’s always best to sew in a quick silk or satin lining to hats and scarves, on the side where the friction may occur, in order to avoid breakage and dryness. If sewing isn’t an option, try looking for winter gear that already has the lining.


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