5 Natural Hair Mistakes NOT to Make This Winter

Winter is coming...

it's (almost) the most wonderful time of the year: everyone is wrapping up in large knit scarves, wearing Ugg boots and drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes even though it's still a smooth 75 degrees outside. Everyone, that is, but me. Why, might you ask? Because the fall and winter months wreak havoc on my hair.

After five full years of having natural hair, I think I've mastered surviving winter . And because i'm feeling generous (and because it's actually the reason I started blogging), I figured I'd share what I've learned with you.

Wigs are great protective styles for the winter months.

Wigs are great protective styles for the winter months.

5 Natural Hair Mistakes Not To Make This Winter

1. Using too much heat... Winter may as well be called silk press and roller set season for those of us who wear our natural hair. After all, the cold months are the most ideal time to straighten your hair: there is little to no moisture in the air, everyone wants to look fancy for holiday/ family events, and we all want to see the length and process we made. That's all well and good but don't get overzealous! We all know that using too much direct heat can cause heat damage, breakage, and dryness which would be no good once you want to wear your hair curly again.

2. Neglecting hair while in protective styles... Just don't, okay? Yes I know you're wearing a wig... you still need to wash your hair. But my box braids look so clean and dirty hair grows faster... no it doesn't. Oh and by the way...

3. Deep Condition For Your Life.... for real. DC ing is not optional. I don't care if you're protective styling or wearing it out you have to deep condition regularly. I switch from bi weekly during the summer to weekly during the winter just to make sure I have enough moisture in my hair to outlast the harsh temperatures.

4.  Going out with wet hair... your mother told you that it would make you sick and while that's not completely true it can damage your hair. Imagine walking around with wet hair in below freezing temps. What do you think will happen? There's a possibility that your hair could freeze and break and that's not cute.

5. Don't "Overprotect" your hair.... if you're like me then you would probably keep your hair in protective styles all winter long. But back to back to back high manipulation protective styling can put a ton of stress on your hair and edges. I try to give my hair a break of at least seven days between styles so that it can recover from what was possibly a long period of stress.

Let me know what your tips are for maintaining healthy hair during the winter are!

Major Keys To Avoid Natural Hair Setbacks

Are you following DJ Khaled on snapchat? You should be.

I feel like I've heard this story so many times before. Girl (or boy goes natural), girl falls in love with hair, girl starts experimenting with some crazy styles and takes it a step too far, and then girl has to cut off all of her hair. Tears are usually involved. And then the cycle continues. Listen I'm the first one to tell you go out and be a hair ho and go ahead have fun with your hair; however, if your goal is length retention and health there are some ways to avoid natural hair setbacks.

1. Know Your Limits - Depending on your length or your hair's overall health, there are certain things that your hair just can't do. For example, as someone with about two inches of hair MAYBE a slicked back puff isn't for me. You see how I recognized my natural hair limitations? This saves me time, frustration, and inches.

2. Lay off the heat! Ugh I know. Everyone says no heat, no heat, no heat! Trust me, I'm not that girl. I love a silk press during the winter season as much as anyone else but I would suggest limiting direct heat to once a year. Many naturals like to use straighter styles to measure length. I would suggest combining your length check with your yearly flat ironing session. Now that we've talked about the much feared flat iron let's talk about it's evil side kick the blow dryer. This tool can cause just as much, if not more, damage as the flat iron. Naturals tend to feel safer using a blow dryer on high heat and with out any heat protectant. STOP DOING THAT! It's seriously the worst and will fry your hair with a quickness.

3. Get out of your head- Keep it simple and get your hands out of your hair. Your twist out doesn't need to be fresh every single day and a bun or low manipulation style is your best friend. Think of ways to stretch your styles: buns, puffs and even wash and gos are great low manipulation options for prolonging styles.

4. Protective Style with a plan - Naturalistas everywhere will tell you that protective styling is KEY but what they won't tell you is that long term protective styles can do more harm than good if your hair is not properly cared for. When I go into a long term style I like to have a plan: a start date, a take out date, and a hair care regimen that is easy to stick by. It sounds like much but having a plan of action keeps me on track for optimal length retention results. During my last protective style which lasted about 6 weeks I was able to grow and retain almost three quarters of an inch of hair which I mostly accredit to my regimen.

5. Learn from your mistakes. - When it comes to my natural hair, I've done everything wrong. And I do mean everything. I've over processed and I've had heat damage. I've over conditioned and suffered from protein over load. I've done the disastrous at home cut and I've kept my mouth shut in a stylist's chair when I should have spoken up. But guess what? I won't be making any of those mistakes (unknowingly) again. As it is in life, we have to learn from from the past in order to grow. Once you've had a setback, decide to see the lesson in it and be sure to remember it for the future.

So tell me about your natural hair setbacks. Have you had any? What did you learn from them? Sound off!

Until Next Time,

Joelle

Cool Weather Natural Hair Do's and Dont's

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.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

 

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?

Joelle