It is undeniable that in many parts of North America, Fall is now in full effect…which means that Winter will be with us soon enough…le sigh…So, with that, we must take extra steps to understand the effects that the chilly winter air may have on our kinky, curly hair, and work with our tresses to prevent the potential damage that can take place due to the colder temperatures.
A change in the weather can cause not only changes in our energy levels and skin health but also impacts the way our body grows hair, and how it produces and distributes its natural oils. Even so, it’s a common half-truth that cold temperatures can cause one to lose quite a bit of hair due to excessive shedding. While it is true that colder temperatures can cause the skin- including the skin on the scalp- to become excessively dry, in terms of hair loss vs. hair growth during the colder months, the body is actually at a slight advantage.
The reason why is because, like other mammals, humans tend to grow thicker manes during the winter months; this happens because when it becomes colder, the human body responds by producing and releasing melatonin (a hormone which regulates biorhythms, such as sleeping and waking). Melatonin is said to cause your body to balance out its natural hair growth cycle, which in turn causes the hair to become stronger and potentially grow thicker to counteract the cold.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, it means that you should have no problem retaining your hair length as well as maintaining your hair health despite the winter season, provided you make certain changes to your hair care regimen. (Click here to find out more about the behaviour of hair in winter weather.)
Here are some key changes you should make to your hair regimen to preserve your tresses during the cold weather:
1. First, if you already have a good hydrating, conditioning, and moisturizing hair care routine, please keep it up- you’re already ahead of the game!
2. Coat your hair, as usual, from roots to ends with your moisturizing/conditioning product(s), paying special attention to the ends.
3. Make sure you seal-in your moisturizing product(s) by using your preferred oil. ***Keep in mind that low porosity hair prefers lighter oils whereas high porosity hair has an easier time absorbing either thicker or thinner oils- you can also seal high porosity hair by using a natural hair butter (shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter etc).
4. Spray a mixture of water, a little oil, and some aloe vera juice on your scalp to help protect, mitigate, and/or reverse the effects of the very drying cold air.
5. Deep condition once biweekly, at a minimum.
6. Put your hair away in protective styles: wigs, braids, twists, faux locs, etc- there are a variety to choose from, and they’re all beautiful!
***Do not neglect to properly treat your hair before you put it away; keep it hydrated; and maintain proper scalp care while wearing your protective style, to ensure that your hair will continue to thrive***
7. Consider purchasing a silk or satin lined hat for when you venture out into the cold. Silk and satin cause little to no friction against the hair and are wiser choices in comparison to cotton and knitted hats that can potentially snag and damage your strands.
8. And finally, as always, please do listen to your hair! Give it what it’s asking for, and it will show you love through its beauty and glory…even though it might be cold outside!
How do you plan on protecting your hair this winter season?