Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Protecting Natural Hair During the Winter Months

So this polar vortex thing is happening everywhere, huh?  Since I'm from the northeast, I've been "winterizing" my hair for years, but now even the curlies in the south need to think about cold, dry air and snow affect their hair.  Here are some of my tips to ensure our healthy locs make it to spring:

Deep Condition
This is probably the most important thing you can do.  I know it's easy to slack off on deep conditioning, especially when your hair gets to a healthy state, but keep doing it!  I skipped two weeks this winter, and I saw a clear difference in my hair's moisture level, elasticity, and manageability.  Since my hair is low porosity, I always deep condition weekly under my hooded dryer or heat cap, which helps the product absorb into the hair better.  I also need a good deep conditioner.  I know when I've found a good one when my hair feels soft and moist when I rinse it out.  I've also incorporated oil rinsing into my regimen, which has helped a lot.

Cover hair when going outside
I know this isn't always possible, but I've made it a practice not to go out in the winter without a hat on my head.  When I don't, my hair becomes dry, hard and frizzy.

Don't forget the satin!
I wear a hat every day, but I make sure it either has a satin lining or I have a satin scarf or cap on under it. These wool and cotton hats will rob your hair of all it's moisture!  It's also important to cover your head with satin when sleeping.  If the air outside is dry, imagine how dry the air is inside!  Satin pillowcases are great, but I retain more moisture when I cover my head with a silk or satin scarf.

Humidifiers are your friend
To the point about it being dry indoors, get a humidifier if you can to moisten the air a little, especially while you sleep.  If I'm in the kitchen for a long period of time, I'll keep a pot of water boiling to add some moisture to the air.

Reconsider Your Products
In general, I prefer lighter moisturizers and oils.  I realized last month that heavier products like shea butter castor oil, and thicker leave-ins aren't too heavy for my hair during the winter.

Stay warm, dry, safe and healthy!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year, Better Hair

Happy 2014!

I had a great Christmas and New Year, and a long, much needed break.  Since I didn't have to go to work for a couple of weeks, I got a little lazy about twisting my hair every night.  This was a good thing, because I got to be creative with styling and trying new products.  I do still need to re-twist every night though, because my hair frizzes a lot, even if I put my hair into a bunch of ponytails at night like I used to.  I'm going to stick with my twist/bantu knot out for a little while longer until my hair grows some more.  My twistouts have been less than stellar, mostly because I can't keep the ends curly, and I want my hair to fall down a little more instead of sticking out!

I also stopped blow drying my hair before twisting.  It's not as necessary as I thought it was to achieve a good bantu knot out, and I was losing so much hair in the process (breakage and shedding).  Also, my hair is so much more moist and "springy" when I don't blow dry.

I'm still using most of the same products, but I've incorporated protein and castor oil into my regimen again. I've been using Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor every week or two, and it really has helped cut down on the shedding (I am a heavy shedder!).  The castor oil helps control frizz, keeps my hair moisturized longer, and creates more defined twistouts.  It's definitely a winter staple.  I always think that the heavier products weigh my hair down, but they've been pretty good lately- probably because it's winter, and the air is so cold and dry.

The most exciting thing was that I was able to pull my hair into my first puff!  I'm not able to pull it all into a ponytail, but I can use a headband or a scarf to pull up the sides, front and back.

Since I've been on such a good roll lately with my hair and it's moisture level, I had been afraid to try anything different.  But, I'm glad I did, because now I know not to be afraid of heavier conditioners and moisturizers and oils like castor oil and coconut.