Winterize Your Hair Regimen

As the temperatures cool, leaves change colors, and shorts and tanks are substituted for jumpers and jeans, experienced naturalistas everywhere are gearing up for their cold-weather hair regimens. We all know that the cold weather makes our skin look dry and lack-lustre, but did you know that a similar phenomenon happens with our hair? To be quite honest, combating dry, dull hair in the winter is easy. The secret? Moisture.

Moisturizing the hair always seems more of a chore than a necessity, because let’s face it, laziness is too real and sometimes our hair just doesn’t want to retain moisture due to either the elements, color treatments, heat damage, or even wrong product usage.

Unfortunately, figuring out a regimen with products that work is the hardest part, however, follow these tips to winterize your hair regimen on a budget.

STEP 1: Cleansing the hair
Now whether this is with a co-wash once a week and a shampoo once a month (or any other washing method), what I can say is that you want to reach for shampoos, conditioners, and co-washes that are free of sulfates and parabens. Sulfates and parabens have a tendency to strip (or even over strip) the hair of its natural oils causing the hair to feel even drier and aid in breakage.

Instead, reach for those that have moisturizing agents in them. Some inexpensive products to try that I like are Suave Naturals Almond and Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner (retails for under $3), Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner (retails for under $4), As I Am Coconut Cowash (retails for about $7), Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Cowash (retails for about $9), and Organix Coconut Milk S/C or Moraccan Argon Oil S/C (retails under $8).

STEP 2: Deep Conditioning
This is the most fun part because creativity really comes in handy. A good deep condition to the hair really penetrates and rejuvenates dry, brittle, or otherwise “thirsty” strands. The best part about this is you can find ingredients to make your own in your kitchen, and tailor your recipe to what your hair needs. A simple recipe for a deep conditioner with all the benefits is as follows:
2 parts conditioner (acts as the base, adds slip)
3 Tbs. Mayonnaise (gives your hair a protein boost)
1.5 Tbs. Honey (is a humectant, which means it draws moisture to your hair)
3 tsp. Oil (moisturizing/sealing agent)
Egg (gives your hair a protein boost)

TIP 1: Hot Oil Treatment
I know that this can sound a little jaded, but doing a hot oil treatment gives your hair that extra boost of moisture-locking protection. If you do this before the shampoo, is disallows the shampoo to strip too much oil from the hair, and similarly, if done after the shampoo, it allows you to seal in any moisture that the conditioner left behind.

TIP 2: Steaming
Avoid that shower cap! When you shower, throw your hair up into a bun and allow the steam to work its magic. This probably sounds the most bizarre, but this little step does wonders. Steam is moist heat as opposed to dry heat and creates a humid environment for the hair, which is optimal for the absorption of moisture. It also promotes elasticity and strength, while enhancing your curl pattern by promoting clumping without sacrificing volume, and the best part is, it is completely free!

STEP 3: Moisturizing
This step is the most crucial. There are different methods to try, so finding a method and products that work for you will take trial and error, but what I can suggest is doing a method that is referred to as the L.O.C method (Leave-in, Oil, Cream). Essentially, you want to use a leave-in conditioner, oil of your choosing or a butter like shea or mango butter, and a creamy styler or gel (if you would like). During the colder months, it is almost imperative to use a thicker moisturizer no matter you hair texture. This will seal in the moisture and really keep your hair soft.
Some inexpensive leave-ins are Cantu Shea Butter (< $5), Giovanni’s Direct Leave In (< $6), and Elasta QP Leave In (< $5). As for the oils, any oil that works well with your hair is fine.

TIP 3: Protective Styling
Wearing your hair in a protective style shields your ends — and whatever else is protected — from the biting winds and chilly atmosphere. Wearing your hair in low-manipulation styles not only allows your hair to take a break, but it also aids in length retention. A style can be so varied too from crochet braids, to weaves, wigs, twists/braids, up-dos and sleek buns, the possibilities are endless.

Have fun with your hair, but don’t forget to moisturize!

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Why You Should Be Using Rosewater On Your Hair

Every natural has a spray bottle containing some DIY moisturizing concoction perched somewhere in their room. Usually equal parts water, leave in, and oils, having a simple moisturizing spritz for your hair is just something you must do. Because of its moisturizing and healing properties, aloe vera juice or gel is often a frequent ingredient in DIY moisturizing sprays. Many naturals swear by aloe vera juice, but I never felt that it was benefiting my hair when I used it in my spray bottle mixtures. Because of the magical wonderland that is Pinterest, I stumbled across Rosewater which has been a great addition to my moisturizing spritz.

(photo credit:http://bit.ly/1joNBT6)

Rosewater is an easily accessible super ingredient with many beneficial properties for hair and skin. I originally went on the search for a bottle of it because I read that it worked well as a light fragrance and morning refresher for the skin. I found an 8oz bottle of Heritage Store brand Rosewater at Vitamin Shoppe for $6. I started off spraying a little on my face in the morning or throughout the day, but after more research I found that Rosewater could work even better for my hair. Not only is Rosewater moisturizing, but it is also conditioning, antimicrobial, and stimulates blood circulation. After getting my hair braided, I mixed rosewater and castor oil in a spray bottle as a moisturizer and it worked amazingly for preventing my hair from feeling dry and brittle. I always go a little longer between washes while I have my hair braided, and the rosewater mixture was great at refreshing my hair and adding a light fragrance. Its antiseptic properties helped kill some of the germs and reduce product build-up that I had. Rosewater can also help reduce dandruff and stimulate hair growth by promoting blood circulation. Its like super water for your hair! There are various brands of rosewater that can be found online and in most health food stores. I encourage you to give it a try in one of its many uses and share your results with us.

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Below is the recipe for my Rosewater Moisturizing Spray. It’s great for braids and protective styles, as well as general everyday use.

Rosewater Moisturizing Cleansing Spray:

¼ cup Rosewater

1.5 Teaspoon of Glycerin

2 Teaspoons Coconut Oil (Or oil of your choice, I recommend a light oil)

Additional tap or distilled water as needed

Play around with the measurements and see what works best for you

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