This time of year, I pack away my thicker sweaters and exchange them for the short sleeves I’ve missed all winter long. Similarly, I rotate my hair care products to complement the change in seasons. If you haven’t performed this spring cleaning ritual, here are a few things to consider as you begin choosing your spring hair care products.
Pack Away Winter Hair Products
To a head of curls, winter brings three major characteristics: cold outside, dry heat inside and cold humidity. Because curls need moisture to be their boosted best, this combination can rob them of their bounce.
In winter, I lean toward thicker creams and silicone-laden products to seal in the moisture from the creams, or leave-ins and products rich in oils and butters. The oils and butters penetrate deeply into my curls, imparting a lasting moisture that the dry air can’t evaporate away.
Gels, Light Leave-ins & Gentle Shampoos
When it comes to spring’s arrival, I have a theory about humidity and curls. Because curly hair has a more raised cuticle than straight hair, it is naturally more prone to covet the offer of more moisture.
In winter, the air is dry enough and the cold constricting enough that the cuticle stays as close to the hair shaft as it can. This is why creams and oils perform so effectively in winter, and a silicone sealant works as designed to keep that cuticle smooth.
Here Comes the Sun!
Once the mercury climbs past the 60s, the air can hold more moisture. That’s when the cuticle becomes unable to resist the temptation of more moisture and opens wide to try to drink it in. With the cuticle so desperate for that humid air, light moisture sources that mimic the humidity such as glycerin, propylene glycol and other humectants are very effective at stopping your hair from “reaching out” for the humidity and inflating your curls all day.
This is probably why my curls become somewhat silicone-sensitive in spring. They're trying to tell me that moisture is in the air, and no sealant is going to keep them from it. Similarly, I avoid the suffocation of a super-thick leave-in, as well as the oils and butters that can fry curls in warmer temps.
A strong-hold gel, while too harsh and drying in winter, is my windy-day weapon of choice in spring.
Let Me Clarify!
Finally, with the cuticle wide open in spring and summer, remember to clarify regularly. Other days, use a gentle shampoo to keep your hair’s natural moisture intact. With the lack of heavier, more buildup-prone products, a gentler shampoo is quite capable of cleansing your curls effectively.
Now you can head outside with the confidence that neither wind nor heat nor humidity can wilt or frizz your curls away!