Your hair often seems to live a life of its own. Sometimes its mood seems to match the weather out there. Are the two linked? How can the weather impact your hair?
First, let’s understand why.
Hair is hygroscopic, (yes, not hydroscopic as this is a misspelling for what we want to define), which means it can absorb water and moisture from its surrounding. The inverted flow is also true. A dry air will move your hair water molecules from your hair into the environment. In doing so, it takes out the moisture your hair needs and causing them to dry up and shrink.
During the winter, your hair’s best enemy is the dry, cold air. However, combined with the indoor heat it makes it a terrible combo. The constant change in temperature contributes to hair fragility and damages the scalp and hair. Winter accessories such as hats and scarves also contribute to friction on hair strands and stress on the scalp.
During spring and summer, the air is warmer. These seasons tend to be much better than the dryness of winter days, but it has some effects on your hair and scalp too. Humidity will cause absorption of the water, and the swelling of the hair. It has a direct impact on how well you can manage or style your hair.
It is a constant balancing act, as your hair interacts with the environment and surroundings. Hair care is an all year long task with some adjustment. After all, the weather is not the same day after day so, you need to prepare to adapt.
Two things to keep in mind to provide you hair the best care regimen. First is to understand how the weather can impact your hair, and second you need to know what your hair type is.
About the hair typing system
There are a couple of hair type systems. The most commonly one used in the hair industry is the one elaborated by Andre Walker, famous for being Oprah Winfrey’s hair stylist.
He started with two hair types. It is now grown into a list of 4 hair types each containing 3 subcategories (a, b, and c). The 4 Types of hair are as follows.
1 -Straight hair
2 – Wavy hair
3 – Curly hair
4 – Kinky hair
Type 4 hair is the most vulnerable to dry air and requires all the love and attention you can give. Find out below what are the steps to provide the right care no matter how the weather can impact your hair
How can you care for your hair no matter the weather?
Condition your hair
To keep your scalp and hair moisturized, use a thick and rich conditioner containing humectants and fatty acids. They will retain the moisture in the air. Once, or twice, a week will be enough.
Choose a conditioner suitable for your hair type.
Conditioning your hair will help them stay strong and healthy and avoid breakage.
You could also use hot oil treatment and infuse your hair with its essential nutrients. A good oil mix would be coconut oil, almond oil and castor oil.
When and how to Shampoo?
The general rule is to avoid products with alcohol or too much of chemicals. Even more so important during winter season, because the cold days make the dryness worse.
Wash your hair infrequently. Once a week should be enough. Use the shampoo mainly on your scalp and less on the lengths or end of your hair. Stay away from sulfates, as well as other ingredients such as parabens or silicones which dry out your hair.
The shampoo ingredients to opt for are the ones containing natural essential oils, like lemongrass, bergamot, YlanYlang, Shea butter. They will boost the ability for the hair cuticle to absorb the moisture.
Hair treatment such as coloring or perming takes moisture and oils out of the hair. Therefore, avoid them as much as possible. Choose natural and gentle ingredients to care for your hair whether it is washing, conditioning, moisturizing or style your hair.
Do not go out with wet hair
When it is freezing cold outside, do not leave your house with wet hair. Why? Besides risking getting cold, your hair can freeze and break off. Ideally wash the night before, so your hair can have time to dry off.
Avoid the use of heat
It is now of common knowledge that heat styling tools cause damages. Why? Simply because it will dry out your hair. The more you hair need moisture the more vulnerable it will be .
One of the good option you have is steaming, especially when following a deep conditioning treatment.
In the few occasions, where you need to use heat, use the blow dry at a low temperature.
During winter, the damage is 10 times worst when combined with the dry air outside and the wind.
Humidifying your home, will help keep moisture levels, which will be good to your hair and your skin. You have several options to do so. Keeping a bowl of water in the room at night will come at no cost. But if you want a professional device, you can get a humidifier.
Satin Silk Hat?
As we have already seen, winter is not the best season for your hair and scalp. The dry air prevents moisture from staying on, resulting in frizz, breakage and split ends. So for your hair, and your health, wear a hat! However, choose a hat that has the inside lined with satin, or similar protective material. Why? Woollen hats will cause further damage by rubbing the ends up the wrong way, and drain out the moisture from your hair.
The best hair protection is of course to moisturize. Even better during winter days. Cover your hair in oil, for hours or even overnight before washing them with shampoo.
The oil will penetrate the scalp, and form a protective coat along the hair strands. This treatment will prevent the hair from breaking or dying.
After washing or moisturizing your hair, you can use an anti-humectant to seal in moisture.
Jojoba oil and Olive oil are the preferred oils to use
Massage the scalp
Massages release tensions in general but even more in the hair and the scalp. By massaging you boosts blood circulation and open the hair follicles. Combined with the use of deep conditioning solution or hot oil treatment it will in healthy hair and boost their growth
Protective hair style
For my type 4 hair sisters, protective hair style during winter is ideal
Protective hair styles are often the easiest way to preserve Afro type hair during the cold days. You can braid up your hair with extensions, but don’t forget to keep your scalp clean . Protective hairstyles will minimize frizz, shrinkage and prevent reversion. Buns and cornrows will preserve the ends safely tucked in. Other options are twists, flat twists, updos, or buns.