My Winter Hair Care Plan

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My "ends" will need the most
protection this winter!
So it's official. Winter is almost here. Which means I have to figure out how to alter my hair care regimen and product selections to ensure that my hair is protected from the cold, dry air (particularly my ends). I also have to figure out how to sustain the right moisture/ protein balance for my hair in the colder season. It's also the time of year where I have to be more practical with my styling choices. For example, it's not practical to leave the house with a soaking wet wash and go when it is freezing cold outside. That simple luxury went right out the door with summer weather :(

So I need a plan of action. Thankfully, I've already gone through one winter fully natural (right after my big chop), and since then I've been learning more about my own hair's likes, dislikes and needs. So I feel more prepared than ever to come up with a winter regimen / hair care plan.  That said, I still totally expect those days where I don't quite know what the heck is going on with my hair. Here's to hoping (and praying) those kind of days are few and far between! Overall, I just plan to really listen to my hair during winter and do whatever I think it needs.

My Winter Hair Care Plan:

Continue pre-poo & detangle routine: I plan to continue the pre-shampoo routine that I started doing back in July. For me, it is easier to detangle during this step - and I end up losing less of my hair and keeping more of my sanity in the process :)  Lately, I've been really liking sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil as the primary carrier oils in my pre-poo oil mix.

Shampoo every 1-2 weeks (or when my hair feels like it needs it). For the winter months I plan to switch from my favorite Chagrin Valley Ayurvedic Herb shampoo bar to one of their more moisturizing shampoo bars (most likely the Butter Conditioner Shampoo Bar). But when not using a shampoo bar to cleanse, I will probably continue to use and finish up my Carol's Daughter Monoi Shampoo, which my hair seems to really like (can't say the same for the rest of the CD Monoi line though.)

Deep Condition after every wash. More often if needed. I'm usually pretty consistent with deep conditioning in general, but over the summer there were a few weeks here and there when I just skipped the deep conditioning step altogether (due to a lack of time or just sheer laziness). Maintaining moisture is probably one of the biggest challenges for natural hair in the dry winter weather and low dew points, so I plan to stick to deep conditioning religiously after every wash - and no skipping weeks if I can help it. I will probably rotate between my staple deep conditioners and do overnight deep treatments, regular deep treatments under my hooded dryer, or steam treatments. If my hair feels especially dry and thirsty between washes/deep conditioning treatments, I plan to mist my hair with water prior to bedtime and then "baggy" it overnight.

Full Steam Ahead. Over the summer, I wasn't steaming as consistently as I did earlier this year in late winter and spring. But I definitely will be re-incorporating steaming back into my routine in combination with my deep conditioning treatments. My goal is to steam my hair 1-2 times per month. While steaming may not necessarily "save your hair's life", I find that my hair loves it and its one of those special pampering nice-to-haves in my hair care regimen. Besides, a few extra shots of moisture during winter can only help, right? Check out my post on steaming.

Continue Sealing in Moisture. Since I plan to up my deep conditioning game to keep my hair as moisturized as possible, it'll be that much more important to make sure that I seal that moisture into my strands. Therefore I plan to continue using a really good leave-in conditioner to help seal in the moisture prior to styling. Two of my favorite leave-in conditioners I tend to reach for during winter is the Oyin Hair Dew and Curl Junkie Curl Rehab.

Practical, Protective and Low Manipulation Styling. My hair generally looks and feels its best when I keep the manipulation to a minimum and also when I am both thoughtful and practical with my styling choices. I don't plan on giving up on my beloved wash and go altogether for the winter, but I do plan to do less of them and incorporate more protective styling whenever I can. That is not to say that I will never wear my hair out during the winter. I just plan to do more styles that focus on keeping my ends protected in some way as well as keeping my hair in a stretched state when possible. That means more twists and more twist-out up-dos. Currently, I am able to keep my twists in for about a week and a half before they begin to get frizzy, messy or itchy. My goal during winter is to put my hair in twists at least once every month, and keeping the twists in for a full two-week stretch before taking them down and washing if I can. If I do a wash and go I will most likely do it in the evening using my favorite winter wash and go product combination, dry it under my hooded dryer, and then use my loc soc to pineapple and preserve it until the next morning.

Minimize/Eliminate the use of Humectant-heavy Products. I remember my hair having a mini identity crisis when the weather changed from cold to warm back in late spring (see my "Just When I Thought I Had My Hair Figured Out..." post). But eventually, my curls got the hang of the warm summer weather and stopped freaking out. Learning from that experience however, I hope to avert another hair identity crisis as the seasons begin to change yet again. This means staying away from humectant-heavy styling products on days when the dew points are very low and there is not much moisture in the air for the humectant to do its best job at attracting moisture to the hair. I consider a product "humectant-heavy" if it has a humectant such as glycerin listed in the first 6 ingredients (which usually means there is enough of it in the product's formulation to have an impact on the way your hair feels).

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