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!