Just a couple of days ago, I sat down to have a long talk with my hair. It’s in its natural state but I decided to dye it jet black. Although, at this point, my hair has been almost every hue I can imagine, there is something about it being as black as it can be that I really, really like. The problem was, after about a week of coloring it, I noticed that my hair was feeling extra dry.

Some might say that it was because of the dye but, actually, I don’t think so. The dye was ammonia-free; besides, it’s the bleach from lighter colors that tends to be more damaging than when you tend to go darker. Plus, I did an overnight deep conditioning treatment right after. Nah, I think the real culprit was the weather. I live in Nashville and, weather-wise, we’re known for the temperatures being all over the place. Anyway, it wasn’t until a few days ago that we got our first real freeze. Coincidentally, that was also the time when I was outdoors quite a bit, running errands.

Since I didn’t want my hair to lose any of the length that it currently has (especially since I just recently trimmed it), I knew the dryness was a sign that winter had come to zap out the moisture in the air and so I needed to be proactive as possible to ensure that I could give my hair the moisture that it needs. Here’s what I did—and recommend that you also do this winter season—to accomplish that.

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Image Source: curlyfro_angie

1. Stay hydrated.

If you’re dehydrated, it’s going to show up in your hair. That’s why it’s so important to consume as much water as possible. The cool thing about this time of year is you can get a good dose of H2O by drinking herbal tea. Check out “7 Herbal Teas That Your Hair Will Absolutely Love!” to find out what kind of teas contain nutrients that your hair will especially benefit from. Then, make sure to add some honey—not sugar—to your tea. Honey contains antioxidants. Plus, it acts as a humectant which is another way for your hair and scalp to get the moisture that it needs.

2. Shampoo just a little less.

Everyone’s hair is different. This means that when it comes to how often someone should shampoo their hair, it depends on a variety of things—how much product they use, the health of their scalp and, how often their hair becomes frizzy and/or difficult to style. Personally, I wash my hair every week with a sulfate-free shampoo. But during the winter season, sometimes, I’ll do it more like every 10-14 days instead. One reason is because I rock blowouts more which means I’m not using a ton of product. Another reason is because, while shampooing is good, it can still strip my hair of its natural oils. I need more oils than ever when the weather is cold, so I try and reduce how much washing I do in order to make that happen.

3. Deep condition on a weekly basis.

Honestly, it really doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, you should always deep condition your hair. It prevents dryness which can lead to brittleness and damage. It promotes hair elasticity and strength. It can pamper the oldest parts of your hair which are your ends. It aids in restoring your hair’s pH levels. It also helps to nourish your hair. If you’re someone who deep conditions on a monthly basis, I strongly encourage you to switch that up to doing it on a weekly basis during the winter months. The more conditioned your hair is, the better it will be at withstanding the harsh elements outside and the dry heat from your central air unit while you’re indoors. By the way, we’ve got a list of awesome deep conditioners that you can try here.

4. Use a cream-based moisturizer.

We’re made up of mostly water; that’s why it should come as no shocker that our hair needs a moisturizer, pretty much on a daily basis. As you’re trying to figure out what kind of moisturizer that you should get, first check out our article “These Things Don't Moisturize Your Hair”. You might be surprised by how things like hair butters actually work as moisturizing sealants not true moisturizers, or that silicones give hair “slip” without actually moisturizing it. The best way to give your hair the moisture that it needs is to get a moisturizer that has water as its main ingredient. We’ve got a few articles on the topic to totally help you out—"12 Best Curly Moisturizers”, “10 Best Moisturizers For Dry Hair” and “The 15 Best Moisturizing Products for Coarse, Dry Natural Hair”. As far as texture goes, look for a moisturizer that leans on the side of creamy. The thicker it is, the more protection your locks will have during the winter snow, ice and chills.

5. Pamper your scalp.

Your scalp is your hair’s foundation so, of course, it needs moisture too. You can pamper it by giving “your foundation” a hot oil massage once a week (coconut, argan or jojoba are great ones to apply; click here for tips on how to do the massage correctly). You should also consume foods that have Vitamin B in them. Why? Because there is a direct connection to dry skin and Vitamin B deficiency. Some foods that are high in this particular vitamin include whole grains, eggs, almonds, dark leafy greens and poultry. If there is a particular spot on your scalp that is dry, itchy or irritated, applying a mixture of 100 percent Aloe vera gel, Vitamin E oil and a drop of tea tree oil should bring about immediate relief. Oh, and sleep with a humidifier on. It will put moisture back into the air that the heat from your central air unit is pulling out.

6. Take an omega-3 supplement.

Another way to moisturize your hair from the inside out is to take an omega supplement. Not only does it give your hair the kind of essential nutrients and proteins that it needs to stay soft and nourished, omega-3 also promotes blood circulation, prevents hair follicle damage and, there are studies to support that, when it’s taken on a consistent basis, omega-3 can also reduce hair loss while increasing hair growth. Just make sure that you aren’t allergic to fish oil before you take it because that is exactly what omega-3 is.

7. Oil your ends every night.

Between your wool hats and scarves, if your hair is out, it’s going to experience friction and dryness more than ever during the winter months. Since your ends are the oldest parts of your hair, something that you can do to make sure that they don’t become brittle is to oil your ends on a nightly basis. It doesn’t need to be anything super heavy. Shea butter. Lavender oil. Olive oil. Coconut oil. These are some of the things that your ends will easily absorb so that they remain in great condition all winter long.

8. Be careful with heat.

I am a huge fan of blowouts. I wear them year-round. That doesn’t mean that I’m not aware that overusing heat can also lead to dryness and, ultimately hair damage, though. That’s why you need to use a ceramic dryer. You should apply a cream-based thermal heat protectant before drying your hair (a spray is fine if your hair is fine; cream is best if it is thick). Finally, you should go with the “less is more” mentality when it comes to how often you use a blow dryer; especially if you are going to follow it up with a flat iron. If you want some tips on how to do a silk press at home, click here and here. All of this should keep your hair feeling soft, moisturized and totally ready for what Mother Nature has in store—all winter long.

Have some tips of your own to share for combatting winter dryness? Share them in the comments!