As I brace myself in preparation for the temperature to drastically drop in Chicago, I’ve stepped up my hair care regimen-force-feeding it more moisture and implementing protective measures to preserve my curly, fine and porous locks. Since deciding to grow my hair out, I’ve been having a ball experimenting with protective styles and hair looks. After wearing my hair short for so long, It feels like I’ve gone back in time to relearn how to manage it longer. But- I’m enjoying the journey and learning more than I’ve ever understood about how unique the needs our individual heads of hair have. Throughout the spring and summer, I embraced rocking my naturally curly in some places wavy in others, and a third- unidentified do what if feels when it feels (a real-life struggle of having three distinct textures) pattern, in a top knot or loose ponytail at my crown. I love a nice pony and live in top knots but wanted a new look. Welcoming that change, I was ecstatic to get my hair braided for the first time since college. I went for cornrows and fell in high-like with the look, almost as much of as I appreciate the lack of maintenance and liberation of being able to get dressed in twenty minutes flat. Right- I spritz it Carol Daughter’s Black Vanilla Moisture & Hair Sheen and go. I haven’t taken them down yet but I’ve already found my next cornrow hairstyle, and of course, booked that appointment.
Once I take the protective cornrows down, I’ll double up on extra moisturizer for a few days, by adding 10 to 15 minutes of a steam treatment while allowing the moisturizer to fully absorb. If you don’t have a steamer, a cordless heating cap (click for the one I have) will work. The steam helps open up the cuticles so it can further absorb the moisture. Moisture is our hairs’ best friend, and while water offers the best hydration, wetting my hair every other day this winter isn’t going to work. My hair in its healthiest state has medium to high porosity so it soaks up moisture well but it doesn’t hold it all. When it was warmer, I simply applied Oyn handmade hair dew, a little Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls and sealed the products with a dab of coconut oil before pulling it up in a high pony or top knot. For flyaways and a light but hydrating hold, I use Jason’s Aloe Vera Gel. Since hair doesn’t have the ability to pull as much moisture from the air as easily during colder months, it’s important for me to winterize by supplementing the moisture. When these braids come out, I’ll feed my strands with a weekly steam treatment with my favorite of the moment, Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Brilliant Mask. So on top of my normal routine, the weekly deep conditioning treatments will help restore and maintain my hairs proper moisture level.
Living in Chicago during the winter, I’ve learned I have to protect my locks from snapping winds, heavier clothing, and cold air by using as much protective styling as possible. I tend to go to buns, ponytails, lots of hats and recently, I’ve added braids. These protective measures help prevent dryness and breakage. While I’m not as consistent when its warmer, at nights and even under hats, I’ll wear a silk scarf to also eliminate breakage and tangles.
I’ll also be limiting my use of humectants. Humectants are ingredients commonly used in hair and skin care products to promote moisture retention. They work by attracting water from the atmosphere. Due to the lower amounts of moisture in the air during the winter, using heavy humectant products may end up drying out the hair. I eliminate humectants when it’s there isn’t much moisture in the air. Or, use I use a product with humectants low on the list of ingredients. Popular humectants include:
- Agave Nectar
- Hydrolyzed Silk Protein
- Propylene Glycol
- Sodium PCA
- Sodium Lactate
Amazon- Oyin Handmade Hair Dew
Amazon- Jason’s Aloe Vera Gel