With winter arriving, it’s time to think about protecting and keeping your natural hair healthy during the cold, wet, rainy and downright harsh winter months. Check out these 5 ways to keep your natural hair healthy during the winter.
1. Use the L.C.O Method
What is the L.C.O. method? (Liquid, Cream and Oil) It works like this: First you apply a liquid (i.e., a water-based product) to your hair. Then you follow up with a cream. To seal, use an oil (e.g., olive, avocado, coconut). This method during the wintertime can help some naturals retain moisture better than sealing with oil alone.
2. Protective Hair Styles
Protective styles help lock in moisture better than loose hairstyles. For some naturals, twisted and braided updos are the best protective styles in terms of moisture retention. You can do various styles such as: big twists or small twists, big braids or small braids, flat twists or cornrows. Any twisted or braided style that works for you.
3. Wear a satin scarf under your hat
Winter hats are usually made from acrylic, wool, or cotton, which are all fabrics than can suck moisture from the hair. To avoid this problem, wear a good quality satin scarf under your hat OR purchase a satin-lined (silk or polyester) winter hat. You can even sow a silk patch yourself onto the beanie or hat.
4. Deep condition more often
During these colder months, depending on your hair’s needs, you may want to increase your frequency to bi-weekly or weekly.
5. Shampoo less
Natural hair does best when you don’t shampoo on a daily basis. 1-2 times a week is ideal, because too much shampooing will lead to excessive dryness and breakage. Consider specially formulated shampoos (NO SUDS) or “no shampoo” products that don’t contain harsh cleansing agents.
As you know, natural hair can be unpredictable in the sense that you never know what you will get. Here are day to day tips to having a good hair day every day.
Start on detangled hair
Freshly shampooed and thoroughly detangled hair will give you the best results. Twisting or braiding hair that is already matted and tangled can produce more knots and tangles.
Less is More
Excessive amounts of product can lead to weighing down your tresses and causing product build up. You can always apply additional product if necessary. Start off with a quarter size portion- adjust based on texture and desired style and apply in sections – sections are easier to deal with.
Seal those ends
Skipping this step will give your ends cause to fray and only make more work for you later. Healthy ends will have an overall healthy appearance and hair will be more manageable.
If retwisting or rebraiding at night is not your thing, or perhaps you may be feeling tired or lazy and want to skip this step, then the pineapple will do the trick! By gently placing the hair high on top of the head, you will be able to preserves the curl pattern and maintain your look, you can secure the hair with a satin scrunchie, satin scarf or loose band.
Don’t Touch Your Hair
Fussing too much with your hair before it is fully dry, can lead to excessive frizz. If you are rocking a wash and go, resist the urge to touch your hair after styling. Let twists or braids dry completely. The cardinal sin when it comes to styling is to unravel hair prior to it being 95-98% dry.
Steaming my Natural Hair has been one of my staple practices that I have incorporated into my regimen. I find that my hair retains more moisture and my curls are more livelier than before. Considering steaming your hair? or want to know what all the hoopla is about? Check out the benefits of steaming your hair below.
What is steaming hair?
Steaming involves using moist heat on the hair, as opposed to dry. Steaming the hair creates a humid environment, optimal for absorption of moisture, among other benefits.
What are the benefits of using steam?
Natural elements such as sun, wind, heat, etc. tend to dry out natural tresses. Steaming allows you to add moisture to your hair promoting moisture, length and growth. Think of your hair like a plant. When a plant does not receive any moisture and is dry it will become dull, brittle, break and eventually die because the roots are not receiving any moisture. The same concept should be applied to your hair.
Steaming helps to gently lift the cuticle for better penetration of ingredients. Conditioners and products are able to penetrate the hair more effectively.
Adding steam to your hair adds moisture. Whenever your hair has the proper moisture balance, you ward off dryness, brittleness, and breakage. This is especially important for transitioners, and dealing with the line of demarcation between the natural and damaged hair.
Enhances Curl Pattern:
Steaming also enhances your natural curl pattern and promotes clumping without sacrificing volume. It also helps to use less heat when straightening hair because the steam makes it easier to flat iron the hair.
Steaming your hair is the best way to get moisture back into low porosity and coarse hair.
Increases Hair Growth:
Using steam increases hair growth and diminishes the occurrence of dandruff because of the added moisture. The steam increases blood flow into the scalp which may lead to hair growth.
What are your experiences from steaming your hair?
Why is moisturizing so important? and How do we moisturize correctly?
Moisturizing the hair is very important. Natural hair (kinky, coily and curly) are naturally dryer than other hair textures. It is also that more fragile. The only way we can keep our hair healthy and growing is to keep it constantly moisturized. DRY HAIR BREAKS!! So you have to be very careful when handling your hair when it is dry.
You can moisturize correctly by sealing in moisture (water or leave in conditioner with WATER as the first ingredient) with oil or for thicker hair a hair butter. Some use a leave in after their styling product or the oil last. It all depends on the person and the type of regimen you want to keep up. Keeping your hair moisturized is one step towards retaining length, here are some ways to keep your natural hair regularly moisturized.
Co-Wash In-between Shampoo Washes
If you are one to feel it necessary to cleanse your hair with shampoo on wash day, then make sure you follow up with deep conditioning afterward. In addition, in-between your wash day, co-wash your hair. For example, if you choose Sunday as your wash day, make Wednesday the day you co-wash. This way your hair is getting that extra moisture from the wash in the meantime. Also adding oils or even honey (which is a humectant) in your conditioner will help you retain moisture.
Use Water-based Moisturizers
Styling your hair with a water-based product will ensure that your hair is getting some additional moisture. This could also mean when you re-style your hair at night, you may not have to add more product. Make sure you are choosing the ‘moisturizer’ that is water-based. This means, the 1st or 2nd ingredient should be water, (aqua). If water isn’t one of the first two ingredients, then it’s not a water-based product.
Seal, Seal and Seal! (in Moisture)
After washing your hair, before styling, seal in the moisture (water) by adding oil to your strands. Oil will seal in the water, keeping your hair hydrated and moisturized. Aloe Vera is also a great sealant.
What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity is simply your hair’s ability to absorb water and maintain moisture. It is affected by the flexible outer hair layer called the cuticle, which determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. For most, porosity is genetic, but it can also be affected by external factors such as exposure, heat treatments and chemical processing. Knowing your hair’s porosity can help you choose the right products to keep your hair well-moisturized, supple, strong and shiny.
Determining you hair’s porosity is pretty easy, it is often referred to as the Float Test. Simply take a few strands, I recommend using freshly washed, clean hair so grab a few the next time you wash, and then place them in a glass/bowl of water. If the strand/strands sink to the bottom then you have high porosity hair. If the strand/strands float then you have low porosity hair. Knowing your hair’s porosity is important, especially if you struggle with maintaining moisture because it can at as another tool in helping to determine what products work best for you hair. So let’s break down the different porosity levels.
DETERMINING HAIR POROSITY
There are two methods you can use to find out how porous your hair is:
• The Float Test: Take a couple of strands of hair from your comb or brush and drop them into a bowl of water. Let them sit for 2-4 minutes. If your hair floats, you have low porosity. If it sinks, you have high porosity.
• The Slip’n’Slide Test: Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you feel little bumps along the way, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If your fingers slip smoothly, then you have low porosity hair.
• Hair with low porosity has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is usually considered healthy, and is often very shiny, especially when it’s dark in color. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet it and is hard to process since it resists penetration of chemicals.
• Low porosity hair is also prone to build-up from protein-rich deep conditioning products, which can leave it feeling stiff and straw-like. Stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey. Use moderate heat with protein-free deep conditioning treatments to help open up the tightly bound cuticle.
• Low porosity hair requires moisturizers rich in emollients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and mineral oil. It also benefits from humectant products, which attract and hold moisture to your hair. Choose lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milks that won’t sit on your hair and leave it oily or greasy.
• Hair with medium porosity often requires the least amount of maintenance. The cuticle layer is looser, allowing just the right amount of moisture to enter while preventing too much from escaping. Hair with normal porosity tends to hold styles well, and can be permed and colored with predictable results. Over time, however, these processes can damage your hair and increase its porosity.
• Occasional deep conditioning treatments with protein conditioners can benefit medium porosity hair, but proteins should not be included in your daily regimen.
• High porosity can be either an inherent property of hair or the result of damage from chemical processing, rough treatment or environmental damage. High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, which let too much moisture into your hair and leave it prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. Even simple acts such as bathing, swimming and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the sheer amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.
• Be sure to use anti-humectants in climates with high heat and humidity. This will help seal your damaged cuticles and prevent them from absorbing excess moisture in the air.
• Because highly porous hair can also lose moisture easily, it’s important to use leave-in conditioners, moisturizers and sealers. Layering these products will help your hair hold on to the moisture you’re giving it. You can even follow up with a heavy hair butter to help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and further protect your hair from losing too much moisture.
What is your hair’s porosity and how are you treating it?