Natural hair needs extra attention in winter

Natural hair needs extra attention in winter

I thought I’d better write a quick blog on caring for natural hair in winter. Winter can take its toll on your hair in a number of ways.

All day long your hair is subjected to radical temperature changes, from hot to cold and back again.

Because it’s cold you’re likely to crank up the heating at home, drying out the air and leaving your hair parched and crying out for moisture. Then you leave the house and your hair’s in for another shock – the temperature is bracing to say the least, and the wind will whip any surface water from your hair leaving it brittle and vulnerable.

Next you go to the shop and the moment you step inside, your hair has to contend with hot air fans that blast the remainder of the moisture from your curls. There’s no getting away from it, winter is harsh on the hair.

Many naturals suffer from dry hair and frizz in the winter months, myself included. If you don’t condition, condition, condition, and give your natural curls the extra care it needs then your hair can experience more breakage than ever. Your scalp can suffer too – it can become dry and start to flake, as the temperature deprives it of the moisture it needs.

The problem is, hair is hydroscopic – which means that it absorbs water from the environment. When it’s warm and humid there’s no problem as your hair can drink in moisture from the atmosphere and rehydrate itself.

But in winter, the air is dry and the hair will start to dry up and shrink more than ever. Because there’s no moisture in the air, your hair will do the reverse and actually emit its moisture into the air – it’s a kind of balancing act that means your hair adapts to its surroundings and is highly susceptible to the environment.

Winter can make the moisture level inside your hair drop to around 10% or lower. In summer, it can reach about 30%. In healthy natural hair, the normal moisture level should be around 15% of the weight of your hair (according to my research), so it’s essential during the cold months to boost the moisture content of your hair.

The truth is that natural hair, particularly 4a, b or c hair can be dry anyway and in winter this problem can be exacerbated to the n-th degree. So what can you do to protect your hair in winter?

How to Care For Natural Hair in Winter

Here are some of my tips for caring for black hair in winter:

  1. Well, regular deep conditioning is a must. Treat your hair to a pamper session each week with a replenishing conditioner. You should also show your hair some love with the odd hot-oil treatment, which will infuse your hair with the essential nutrients it needs to combat the cold.
  2. Try to keep your hair in a protective style for as long as possible – the less stress on your hair at this time of year, the better. Some naturals choose to braid up their hair with extensions that last throughout winter, and that’s a great idea because it will protect your hair from the elements. Just remember to keep your scalp clean and don’t neglect it just because it’s in braids. You could also try rocking a weave for a few months. Buns and cornrows will also keep your ends safely tucked away, so get creative with the protective styles! Although you may want to wear your fro out and proud, your hair’s more susceptible to damage when it’s loose, so keep this down to a minimum when it’s cold.
  3. Never leave the house with wet hair when the temperature dips below freezing. Aside from giving yourself one helluva cold, the hair itself could freeze and snap off. So if you’re heading out early in the morning but you still like to co-wash, try doing it before bedtime to give your hair time to dry before you head outside into the cold. Just seal with oil and tie down with a satin scarf at night.
  4. I don’t use heat on my hair anyway, but if you do then try not to heat style your hair too much. This will dry out your hair at the best of times but in winter when your hair is screaming for moisture, heat will only make the problem 10x worse! Remember, it’s all about putting the moisture back in to your hair, not stripping away further moisture.
  5. Try to get a humidifier to keep the moisture levels up at home. This will pay dividends, not only for your hair but for your skin too. If you can’t do this, try keeping a bowl of water in the room at night to keep some moisture in the air.
  6. Keep your head warm! Wear a hat – not just for your hair, but for your health too. Remember that the same principle with cotton pillow cases applies with your head wear. Woollen hats will deplete the moisture from your hair and rub the ends up the wrong way, so wear a satin scarf underneath your hat or buy a hat that’s lined with satin or satin type material suitable for natural black hair. Be careful with those scarves too, don’t let them get caught in the back of your hair and cause split ends!

I can’t think of any more tips…if you have any to add, please feel free to comment below. Let me know how your hair’s coping with the weather…

Where to Buy Winter Hats

If you’re looking for a winter hat that won’t damage your hair, visit the Natural Hair Forum UK. We’re now selling a range of stylish hats specially selected to protect your crowning glory this winter.

Don’t let the cold weather undo all that work you put in over summer, protecting and nurturing your curls!  Our beautiful, satin-lined winter hats will keep your head warm without stripping your hair of moisture.

Choose from a stunning selection that’ll turn heads this winter – only for a short time via the natural hair forum UK. Visit the website for more details