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15 Nov 2014

A definitive guide to winter hair care

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November 15, 2014 Category: Beauty Posted by:

By Leah Fletcher 

Declining temperatures are a constant reminder of winter’s impending arrival. The change in season also signals that hair care techniques required to maintain healthy hair should change too. During the winter, most hair needs a little extra care. Following a few easy, common sense techniques will ensure that your hair stays happy and healthy throughout the cold weather months. 

Here are some winter hair care tips that will keep your tresses in great shape so that when spring rolls around, your hair will be ready to face the warm weather in good health. 

Watch out for breakage 

During the winter months your hair can be more dry, brittle, much more delicate and prone to breakage.  Because dry hair breaks easily, the most important thing you can do during the cold months is to deep condition regularly. Try to avoid over-brushing your hair and comb your hair gently with a wide-tooth comb. 

If you experience breakage in more than one or two specific areas of your hair, it might have nothing to do with how you care for it but what you wear on it. Wool hats and scarves can rub against and pull on delicate black hair, breaking it off at the nape of your neck (where the scarf might sit) or at the crown of your head. You need a hat or scarf if you live in a cold climate, but the trick is wearing it properly. Also keep in mind that as wonderful as fuzzy winter sweaters are, turtle neck sweaters may cause problems for you.  

Condition, condition, condition! 

There is no doubt that dry heat and cold weather deplete hair moisture. Heated homes and workplaces can dry out your hair. So combat dryness with extra deep conditioning. Seek products that hold in moisture and use a good deep conditioner regularly and use more intensive daily conditioners about once a week. As for humectants (noted for moisture-attracting properties), they offer varying results, but are not always desirable.  Glycerin, aloe vera juice/gel and honey are all popular ingredient, for adding moisture to the hair, but their water-attracting properties will have the opposite effect in winter weather.   

Because winter air, does not contain a high level of moisture, it sucks the humectant properties away from your hair. It’s a good idea to look at the ingredient label of each product you use. If glycerin or aloe are high on the list (usually, the first five ingredients), you might want to store it until spring.  If you don’t experience adverse effects from humectant products in the winter, feel free to continue, but using natural oil might be a better option for holding in the moisture your hair receives from water. 

Remember water matters 

If you live in an extremely cold climate, your hair may actually freeze and break when you step outside with wet hair. Even if a “wash n’ go” style was your go-to in the spring and summer months, winter requires less shampooing and daily wetting. While you should still routinely shampoo and condition your hair, avoid excessively hot water because hot water dries hair. Rinse hair in tepid water or cool water. 

Limit the use of heat  

Since indoor heat is going to draw moisture from your hair, don’t make it worse with heated appliances such as flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons. Winter is an ideal season to practice setting techniques like wet sets (completely dry before you head out the door) pin curls, curlers, and wraps, styles that don’t always require heat.

Routinely trim your ends 

Trim the ends of your hair routinely using a good pair of styling shears. This will help prevent any breakage from moving up the hair shaft and causing future problems. Examine your ends weekly to make certain they are not splitting or knotting. To lock moisture in, apply oil, cream or butter onto dampened ends and either twist, braid or roll them up. If you are actively growing your hair, trim your ends every other month during the cold season. 

Consider a protective hairstyle

While wearing protective styles is always a good idea for keeping hair ends up and out of the way, they work especially well in winter because they will limit your hair’s exposure to the elements and dry air. Further, snow, sleet and heat won’t damage your hair when you keep it styled in buns, topknots, braids, twists and French rolls.

Protect you hair at night

If you don’t wear a protective covering to protect your hair at night, winter time might be a good time to start. Sleeping with a satin-like bonnet or on a satin-like pillowcase will protects your hair and may reduce the time required to style your head in the morning. If your hair is relaxed or pressed, wrap it before applying your hair covering. Ladies with natural hair may twist or braid their hair before covering. The right covering helps hold in the moisture and prevent knots at the same time. 

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