We consulted with Dara Lenoir, a licensed cosmetologist with 23 years of experience who serves customers in Dallas and Nashville, for tips on how to effectively shield your curly hair from the elements and seasonal changes so that it looks gorgeous and healthy all year long.
Why adjust your hair care with the seasons?
Every season presents a unique set of challenges for those with curly hair, especially in the summer and winter. Because of the natural texture of your hair, changing environmental circumstances, and product buildup, caring for curly hair throughout the year requires adjusting your hair care routine with the seasons. The result is beautiful, healthy, and frizz-free hair all year long. Here are a few tips by season.
Winter naturally brings cooler and dryer air, especially if you live in a part of the country where cold weather and extremes are common. Your skin and hair can lose moisture when the air is dry since dry air draws moisture from any source. Not only do you have to deal with the elements, but also static, heaters, hats, and scarves, all of which cause your hair to become dehydrated.
To combat moisture loss, Lenoir recommends "drinking more water to keep hydrated, sleeping with a satin cap or pillow, using deep conditioning treatments and if you have one available, use a steamer or plastic cap to help lock in your moisture." You can also use the steam from a hot shower or a humidifier to add moisture back into your curls.
When washing your hair, reduce the temperature used, and avoid using harsh shampoos, like those with sulfates, parabens, or silicones. Using a restoring or moisturizing conditioner can help to seal in further moisture. After washing, apply a leave-in conditioner or curl-enhancing cream and let your hair dry completely before heading outdoors. At night apply a heavy oil treatment or overnight hair mask to increase the amount of moisture your hair absorbs and retains. However, avoid using too much oil in your hair as this might result in overproduction and clogged hair follicles.
Wind, snow, hats, and scarves can cause your curls to get tangled and matted. Detangling your hair properly helps minimize breakage, split ends, and damage. Whether you detangle while you wash your hair or between washes, never detangle while your hair is dry. Wet your hair thoroughly, apply a leave-in conditioner, divide your hair into segments, and detangle using your fingers, a wide-toothed comb, or a brush made specifically for your hair type.
Sew-ins, messy buns, and other protective styles not only protect your hair and scalp but also help it to retain moisture. Just remember to continue performing your regular maintenance, such as having your hair trimmed or your braids refreshed.
Spring is a season of refresh and renewal, especially after the harsh winter conditions. These months are perfect for removing product buildup from your scalp and experimenting with new hairstyles and products because the weather is kinder to your hair during these months. Renew your hair with a hair detox treatment to promote hair growth and get rid of harsh chemicals, dandruff, and scabs. Refresh your look with a new hairstyle. Get a trim to remove any ends that are dry, split, or otherwise damaged, so your hair is at its healthiest.
Spring is also an excellent opportunity to evaluate your hair care products and figure out which ones are ideal for your hair. Additionally, you can try out new products.
Many women are more active and spend more time outside during the summer. Your scalp and hair truly suffer as a consequence of the heat, humidity, air conditioning, UV rays from the sun, and your own perspiration. If your curls are not protected, the summer heat, sun, and indoor air conditioning can make your hair dry, lifeless, and brittle, making it vulnerable to breakage and damage. Your curls may retain moisture in humid conditions, which contributes to product buildup and an increase in bacteria and oils on your scalp.
A healthy scalp is a foundation for gorgeous hair — however, many women only pay attention to fixing their hair. To maintain scalp health in the summer, Lenoir recommends taking proper steps to cleanse your scalp by "incorporating a scalp cleanser or scalp wash in addition to your regular shampoo." The condition of your hair as a whole can be improved by a scalp massage, which can also help to increase blood flow and stimulate hair growth.
Also consider washing your hair more frequently, especially after exercising or swimming in chlorinated water or at the beach. Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to prevent moisture loss, which could cause more harm. Apply a heat protectant to your curls before using styling tools or heading outside to prevent heat and sun damage. While styling, heat protectants will keep your hair hydrated and shield it from harm from prolonged exposure to heat.
Don't forget the sunscreen, and consider using a scalp or hair spray with SPF. Wearing a hat or scarf not only protects your curls but also your scalp. Before putting your hair up in a ponytail, let it completely dry because using bands and holders can cause damage, including breakage.
As the fall approaches, it's time to prepare your hair for the upcoming winter conditions and check in on your hair care routine and products. Since the cooler temperatures and increased wind can dry out your hair, your scalp and curls may require an extra boost of moisture during this time. Try applying a deep conditioning treatment, adding a hair mask, or using a repairing shampoo or conditioner to help your curls adjust to the changing environmental factors.
Just like in the summer, another option is wearing a protective style. You can shield your curls from the elements and give them a break from styling equipment and products by wearing braids, twists, or wigs.
In addition to changing your hair care routine in response to the changing seasons, you'll want to protect your curls year-round from fluctuations in temperatures, pollutants, and other environmental conditions. There are a few ways to do that, including:
Check your diet
Conscious eating will guarantee that your hair receives the nutrients it needs to be healthy from the roots to the tips, regardless of the season. The general health of your curls can be enhanced with sufficient hydration and a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods like those listed below:
- Omega-3 is abundant in avocados and salmon, which helps to promote silky, lustrous hair.
- Due to their high vitamin A content, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale promote the general growth of your hair.
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges and berries, are rich in vitamin C, a component of collagen required for healthy hair.
Embrace what works best for you and your hair
Learn about your particular curl type and its distinctive textures. Knowing your curl type might help you decide which style products suit your particular curl pattern the best. Avoid trendy products, fresh fads, and one-size-fits-all products. If these products aren't made specifically for your curl type and texture, these treatments can frequently cause more harm than good.
Be mindful of accessories
Some accessories can harm your hair, causing split ends, breakage, and damage along the hairline. Rubber bands and ponytail holders, for instance, can tangle and break off your hair. Ponytails that are too tight might cause stress around the hairline and contribute to hair loss. Traditional towels remove vital moisture from your hair and are too rough for your curls.
Your ponytails and sloppy buns can be held in place without tugging and pulling with satin and "ouch-less" elastic bands. While preventing your curls from falling into your face, lined headbands and head wraps can ease tension on your hairline. Towels made of microfiber are kinder to your hair and absorb extra moisture without drying out your curls.
For gorgeous, healthy curls in any season, proper curl management is essential. By keeping ahead of the changing temperatures and environmental conditions and understanding and embracing your hair type, you can keep your tresses looking fresh and striking all year long.
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