Sunday, December 21, 2008
Cold weather hair care
Have you been confused about why so many of the products you normally rely on suddenly seem to have stopped working their magic? The answer: WINTER.
(Apologies if you live in a different hemisphere and are in the middle of a humid summer. I promise to cover that more in depth in about 6 months...)
Back in August, humidity might have been the demon you were fighting and so you adapted your routine to keep moisture out because there was just too much of it in the air. Summertime dew points were upwards of 55 and the weather was warm. Now, maybe your dew points are more in 'teens and twenties and it's much colder. Does that really affect how products perform? Does it ever. Laurabeth has a fantastic post about the difference in hot and cold weather and the effect on hair, if you care to learn more from an expert.
When the weather gets cold, your primary goal is to keep your hair moisturized. It's impossible to get the moisture from the air, so you have to use products that will do the trick. This means lots of aloe vera, creams, and butters (if you hair can tolerate butters). Humectants such as honey or glycerine may defeat your purposes -- remembers that humectants pull moisture wherever it's needed, so if the hair is dryer than your hair, guess where the humectant will pull from to try to hydrate the air??
In addition to the dew point situation, you also have to remember that your hair cuticle is tighter (like most things, hair contracts when it's cold). This means that not much pollution is getting in, sure, but it also means that not much moisture can, either. Even the type you apply yourself. Where does that leave you? For some people, it means just using bigger helpings of moisture. For others, it means applying moisture more than once a day. If you're in an environment where heaters are running to combat the cold, consider that a double whammy -- the air is already devoid of moisture and now the heater is making things even drier. Oy vey, what's a girl to do?
- Use heavier conditioners. Now is the time for serious stuff, not the empty conditioners I'm always railing against anyway. You want to pull out your Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose or White Camellia or Island Naturals, your Jessicurl Too Shea, your Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Milk. Try to leave some in or if you aren't a fan of that, add some as a leave-in.
- Ditch the light leave-ins. Especially if your dew point is below 20, just don't waste your time with anything that doesn't contain some oil or shea butter. (Try to stick to jojoba, coconut, and other hair-friendly oils. Stay away from mineral oil, also known as parafinium liquidum. Depending on your hair, you might also want to steer clear of castor oil, but I'll leave that to you to decide.
- Use creamy curl cremes. I'm a fan of Pink Boots curl creme, but in this cold weather, it is not enough unless I put something under it (yes, in addition to my leave-in). Curl cremes I've been loving so far this winter include Loma Imply, Donna Marie's Lock & Twist (just a little goes a LONG way), and Karen's Body Beautiful Super Silky. All of these are excellent! They either contain no glycerine at all or have it in very minute amounts.
- Avoid gels that contain humectants. I've noticed that I get better results with, say, Max Green Alchemy Sculpting gel as opposed to Biotera. Aubrey's B5 gel is really fabulous in this weather.
Not sure what constitutes a humectant? Check out this article for some guidance. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the article for a list of humectant names in products.
- Consider scrunching out your crunch with the help of a butter. Jane Carter's Nourish and Shine was a favorite among many last year, but this year, I'm hearing raves about Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Cream as well as Butter. (I don't personally scrunch out this way but many curlies have success with it. I'll be trying it when I'm in New England next week -- their dew point is scary low.)