I love the cold weather and the warm, cosy jumpers of winter. Throw in a clear blue sky, a Christmas market, sweet chestnuts, brussel sprouts (yes I know!!) and mulled wine, and you may have just about my favourite day! However much I love this season, my poor afro does tend to suffer. The air outside on these cold, dry days of winter, does not hold as much moisture as it does in the summer so it can cause us to lose hair moisture through osmosis. Indoors, central heating can also exacerbate the dryness of our curls – we’re not really safe anywhere. Therefore, it’s imperative that we get our winter hair care regime firing to keep our afros strong and vibrant.
When the days get darker earlier and it starts to get cold and windy outside, I make a point of adding a couple of extra days into my hair wash schedule. No matter what you do, washing your hair will always strip away some of the natural, protective oils that your body produces. By having some extra days between washes, it makes sure that I will wash my hair less by the time the ground starts to thaw, buds start appearing on tree branches and the weather gets warmer.
It’s super important to drink water regularly during the day for general good health. Staying hydrated can also really help your hair to not dry out. So I make more of an effort to drink water regularly, even if I’m not thirsty. I also keep a small spray bottle filled just with water, which I use to spritz my afro several times during the course of the day. Even if it’s up in a protective style, I will still spray the ends. The ends are also the part of our locks that will get most damaged when you’re out and about, as they will be in regular contact with woolly hats, scarves and jumpers that are keeping you warm. So when you’re out try tucking your ends away or wearing a style that keeps them safe from catching on the moisture sucking wool.
Lockdown has been great for my hair journey. It has allowed me to really experiment with different accessories and styles. I started wearing all sorts of things when I popped out to the local shops to gradually build my confidence, and now I’m comfortable rocking styles that just a year ago would have been a big no no! Half of them were protective styles that I discovered online, and they have been so useful. Finding out about twists has saved so much time on wash day, where before I used to braid!
On days I have my hair out and plan to spend some time outside, before going I wet my hair then add a little bit of a lighter feeling oil (investigate which works best for you but I use camellia oil for this), paying extra attention to the tips. The oil will seal in the water that was applied previously. Using a lighter oil sparingly will ensure that your hair won’t get too thick a coating; this can actually have the opposite effect of contributing to drying out your hair. Before going to bed, even if I haven’t been outside but I’ve had my hair out during the day, I will spray water then oil my afro again, then I’ll wrap it up with a silk/satin scarf; I love the feeling and effect it has on my hair in the morning.
Lockdown has certainly helped me kick my heat styling habit to the curb, but even in previous years’ colder months I always tried to limit the amount of heating instruments I exposed my afro to. Whenever I overindulged I loved how my hair looked but in the days after I definitely experienced more frizz and more strand breakages. Even deep conditioning and hair masks had limited impact in reversing the effect of using heat on my afro, so if you can I recommend staying clear as much as possible.
As with anything to do with your hair, you need to figure out a regime, practices and products that work best for you as we’re all so wonderfully different. But the universal truth is that cold winter air sucks out the moisture from your afro so please stay vigilant and fro stay strong! x