How to keep your hair healthy and hydrated when it's cold outside
“Julia. Julia! Put your hat on! It’s cold out there!”
I hear this particular phrase often from my mother before my walk to school in the morning. With good reason too, I live in central New York, and around here (like most of the Northeast, and a good part of the Northwest) it’s cold.
Hair needs lots of hydrating during the drier winter months.
You’ll have to forgive me if you’re reading this in a warmer, sunnier part of the world. In some climates, you have to combat the humidity, the relentless sun, or the salt water. Here, in January, it’s the cold and dry that wrecks havoc on healthy tresses, drying out your scalp and hair. This leads to a scratchy feeling, which (if you give in to the itch) can lead to flakes. We have our favorite lotion for our arms and legs, and lip gloss for a pretty pout, but what do can we do for winter hair?
In drier weather, especially when it’s cold, special considerations must be taken to keep hair healthy all year ‘round. My best advice is to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water can keep you beautiful inside and out no matter what the weather, but will especially help your scalp. Water is one of the most important parts of my routine, making me look and feel healthier head to toe!
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid shampoos and conditioners with a lot of dye and perfume, which can make it worse. If your scalp is dry, a moisturizing conditioner can do the trick. If you ask me, conditioner is a panacea for a litany of curly hair woes. But beware. If you don’t rinse well, the build up can also lead to flakes. There are many good choices out there. Olive oil is a great natural conditioner that you can find on your kitchen counter top!
One characteristic of curly hair, especially if it’s thick, is that it may not need to be washed everyday. This can be hard if you swim or play on a sports team, but if you don’t, try putting on a shower cap before you hop in the shower. This will allow your scalp to retain some of the natural oils and regain its natural balance. The combination of dry air outside, and dry air inside (thanks to indoor heating) can really make your body’s own natural conditioner an asset.
We know that heat can dry out our hair, straightening and excess blow-drying being the first examples that come to mind. Long, steaming hot showers (while one of my favorite ways to relax before bed on a particularly cold night) can also have the same effect. Try lowering the temperature a bit so it’s not quite so scalding and see if your hair doesn’t benefit!
Winter can be a dreary time, but one thing that doesn’t have to suffer in the colder months is your hair! So, take good care of it, and enjoy flake free, shiny locks from January to July.