Baby, it’s cold outside!
Ok, so maybe this doesn’t apply to those of you reading this article on your South Florida balcony or inside an air-conditioned office building in the Arizona heat. However, for much of North America, the warm, humid air of summer and early fall has given way to a distinct late-fall chill, and soon-to-be frigid winter temperatures.
Just as our skin reacts to the change in climate, so does our hair. We know naturally curly hair is an especially accurate weather vane, and I can tell just by looking at pictures of my hair what season the photo was taken. Some curlies love winter and its absence of humidity, as the colder and drier air makes it easier to style hair for a frizz-free look. Others, like me, struggle with the lack of moisture brought on by indoor heat, woolen hats and frigid hair – I might be one of the outliers who actually prefers the heat and humidity to winter curls.
With a little extra TLC though, we can keep our tresses looking their best during the winter months. And even I have to appreciate the consistency of winter hair versus the unpredictability my curls have when faced with the summer heat and humidity.
Here are a few tips to make every winter day a great hair day. (Even if your hair freezes in the cold. Yes, that can happen.)
Pack for the chill: Raise your hand if you check the weather forecast in your destination city before you travel. If you do – or don’t and want to start – make sure to bring products designed to provide as much moisture as possible if you’re traveling to a cold climate. Winter often calls for holiday-related travel, so you don’t want to be on the road away from your favorite products or supply stores during a blizzard. Water conditions in different areas could also wreak havoc on your hair, so pack accordingly for such jaunts away from home and don’t be afraid to use more of your favorite product if you’ll be somewhere frigid.
Moisturize: Whether you’re traveling somewhere cold, live in a cold area or have seen the temperatures drop in your usually temperate location, you’ll need to maintain the moisture in your curls if there’s little that the air can give. If you shampoo your hair, find a shampoo that will prevent dryness and combat a flaky, itchy scalp. Perhaps you might need to deep condition once a week instead of every other week. A cold winter weekend when you’re trapped inside by snow might be the perfect time to experiment and find different ways to give your hair the essential moisture it needs!
Avoid the heat: If you’re using straightening tools such as a flat iron or blow dryer, limit their frequency. More dry air in already dry conditions can make your hair feel even more brittle than usual. If you do plan to straighten your curls, make sure you use a heat protectant first to keep your hair safe!
Protect your tresses: This isn’t your usual “wear your hat or you’ll catch cold” advice from Mom. You’re probably doing that already, and now struggling with static electricity, hat head and breakage from the friction with the fabric. Look for a nice winter cap with a satin insert – curly entrepreneurs often sell them on sites like Etsy – and get a functional, stylish look while preserving the style and moisture of your hair.
Every season has its challenges, but good hair is a possibility all year long. Take care of yourself and your hair during the winter, and your tresses will reward you with minimal frizz and great definition.