Natural Hair Care for Winter Months

Winter isn’t everyone’s season, and your hair is no exception. We find that in the winter months hair gets a little…unpredictable, and finding the proper routine can be frustrating. A common issue you’ll find is that hair seems to get very dry, particularly because the air around you lacks moisture. When your hair is dry, you can see it—split ends, tangles, and a loss of shine. Here are some tips to maintain healthy follicles and a covetable sheen.

It all starts in the shower—
In the winter, you hair is already vulnerable because of the cold, harsh air, so subjecting it to the same type of wash regimen you would use any other season may not be in your best interest. Try switching to a sulfate-free shampoo, which is gentler on your strands. If you can help it, try not to wash as often because frequent washes can pull out natural oils, drying out the hair and scalp.

Add an oil treatment into your routine-
Before you get in the shower, freely distribute your preferred oil throughout your hair. This is what is known as a pre-poo (or pre-shampoo,) and protects your hair from any stripping properties of your shampoo. An easy and often recommended pre-poo oil is an olive oil mask: apply the oil to your whole head and let it sit for 20 minutes to one hour, then go about your normal washing regimen. It is also recommended to incorporate a deep condition treatment once a week; this can be applied before or during your shower.

Protect against the storm—
With blowing winds and snow storms, you and your hair really do see some awful days. Pull up your coat hood and grab that hat before you run out the door— you’ll find that when you protect your skin and hair against the frost, you’re less likely to see breakage and dryness. Consider wearing a thin silk hat or wrap underneath a cotton hat, to maintain your ‘do’ and to protect it from rubbing against the material of your head-gear.

You are what you drink—
Hydration doesn’t occur just from lathering on oils and moisturizing, it’s also very important to keep your bodily health in mind. It is recommended that you drink about an ounce of water for every pound that you weigh, in order to ward off dehydration. Drinking water has a plethora of health benefits, and this daily intact will certainly show its benefits on your hair and skin.

Add some moisture indoors—
When we switch on the heat in the home, we can get much drier air. Consider purchasing a humidifier, particularly because a humidifier has a multitude of health benefits— from keeping nasal passages lubricated to decreasing airborne viruses’ ability to cause infections—it can do wonders for your skin and hair. Think of it as a constant moisturizer in the air, maintaining the hydration of your whole body.


The Curly Girl Method

You may have heard of it in passing, but never tried it or knew what it was all about. Meant for those with springy, well defined curls, the ‘Curly Girl Method’ refers to the co-washing method popular with individuals with natural hair. Co-washing, also known as the ‘no-poo’ method, consists of washing the hair and scalp without shampoo, and instead replacing it with conditioner. For those struggling with thick and curly natural hair, the problem lies with trying to tame dryness and frizz. To combat this, the Curly Girl Method removes sulfates, silicones, and heat from your typical hair-routine.

Sulfates, found in many shampoos, are chemicals which strip your hair of oils and buildup, giving you that ‘squeaky-clean’ feeling after you wash. The problem with sulfates is that they are enormously drying and harsh, which is why they are ingredients which natural-haired gals and guys should try to avoid. Many products also incorporate silicones that are meant to calm the frizz and fly-aways, but instead leave a great deal of build-up. Silicones aren’t water soluble, and typically need a hasher/sulfate-based shampoo to remove them. And so, the endless cycle of hair-care torture ensues. For more information on what kinds of ingredients you should avoid when using products for the ‘Curly Girl Method,’ read more here.

Before you start the process, it’s recommended to have a ‘last-hurrah’ with your sulfate shampoo. This is a precaution so that you can get rid of any remaining build-up from silicones and other chemicals that could still be sitting on your hair and scalp. After you’ve cleansed your hair with shampoo, you can toss it, as you won’t be needing it anymore with this routine.

Step 1: Co-washing
You’ll find that most conditioning products have cleansers in them, but they will not be nearly as clarifying as you will see with shampoo. To start the ‘Curly Girl Method,’ apply a small amount of conditioner to your hair, really massaging it in like you would with shampoo. Keep in mind that it won’t strip build-up as easily, so it could be helpful to rub it and massage it with a little more force (not too much, as you don’t want to apply too much mechanical stress on your hair.) Once you’re done, run water through your hair to get rid of the conditioner

Step 2: Condition
Take about a quarter sized amount (larger/smaller depending on your hair thickness and length) and condition the outside of your hair as if you were putting a protective layer over it. Using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb, untangle your strands lightly. Leave the conditioner on for about 5 minutes, allowing this step to act like a deep conditioning treatment.

Step 3: Rinse out
When getting conditioner out of your hair, use cold water. This helps reduce frizz and dryness that can be aggravated with any kind of heat application, even from hot water. Rinse out the conditioner, and using your own discretion, you might want to leave a little conditioner on the ends. This means you should still run all your hair under the water, but put less emphasis on removing the conditioner on the bottom of your strands. This can act as a type of leave-in conditioner for dry ends.

Step 4: Drying
Dry your wet hair with a microfiber cloth/towel, or use a cotton t-shirt—these are materials that won’t be so harsh on your hair or stick to strands, causing breakage. When drying your hair with the material, make sure you squeeze, not rub, the towel through your hair. Once you’ve gotten rid of the excess moisture, scrunch and switch your hair the way you want, using pins and clips to keep your curls in place.

…and that’s the Curly Girl Method! Some users of this method have found that they encounter an ‘adjustment’ period where hair can either get a little worse or be a little finicky in the beginning. Some claim that it only takes about two or three washes to start seeing a difference, but results vary for each person.
Have you ever tried the Curly Girl Method? Let us know your experience!