Prevent severe hair damage in cooler weather months.
Cool weather brings many beauty challenges: dry skin and brittle hair are definitely not the least among them. Managing natural hair in cooler months can definitely be challenging especially for those of us focusing on retaining length and maintaining health. Here are some simple dos and don'ts for those of us who would like to maintain the health of their hair.
DO practice protective styling.
I know that we've heard this time and time again but protective styles are the most effective way to retain length because it shields the hair from harsh elements AND extreme manipulation. Protective styling is not limited to braids, weaves, and wigs. Easy and low manipulation protective styles include twists, mini twists, simple braids, and updos.
Don't Neglect your hair during protective styles.
One of the biggest mistakes naturals make in regards to wearing protective styles (especially wigs weaves etc.) is to completely neglect their natural hair. Lack of washing, moisture, and a dirty scalp can lead to major setbacks in your natural hair and are counter productive. Make sure that you continue you to give your hair love and attention. Leave Protective styles in for six weeks at the most and give your hair time to breathe in between.
Do keep your hair conditioned and moisturized.
Condition. Condition. Condition! I cannot say it enough. This is the number one rule of natural hair and it is especially important during the winter months. The cold air can suck the moisture out of your hair faster than you can say "it's freezing". For this reason, it's important to stock up on and invest in great leave in conditioners and moisturizing products (I prefer cream based products).
Don't skip protein treatments
Many naturals talk about moisture and conditioning and say nothing about creating a moisture/protein balance. It is possible to to over condition your hair which makes hair soft, mushy, and weak. Protein treatments help strengthen hair and can help fill gaps in the hair shaft.
Do Take this time to straighten your hair.
Cold weather months are the best time to straighten your natural hair; the low temperatures help preserve your straight styles and will prevent you from having to touch your style up with a flat iron. If you need a step by step guide on straightening your natural hair there are many tutorials on Youtube.
Don't use excessive heat.
Any go ahead to use heat should also come wit a warning and I would be remiss if I did not urge you to use caution. Not only can extremely high temperatures cause permanent damage that can only be "repaired" by cutting it away but using heat repeatedly can also cause damage. If you choose to heat style your natural hair this fall or winter be aware of these risks and only straighten your hair two to three times during this time.
These are my tips for maintaining natural hair. What are yours?