Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter is coming, are you ready?

I once thought there was something special about Summer, because our nappy hair thrived so much more. I always expected my hair to grow more in the warmer months. I'm not sure our scalps do something special as the temperatures rise, but nappy hair loves moisture. It's like a rainforest, growing lush with all the rain, and steamy humidity. I think if we avoid frying our heads in the hot sun, our strands become supple and we may retain more length.

Winter is the exact opposite. As much as we love to douse our heads in the warmer months and run outside while it's still damp--we imagine we'll all catch our deaths if we do the same in Winter. We may, especially if our bodies aren't accustomed to it. We can generally be reluctant to wash our hair as much. I know I've told myself in the past that our hair wasn't as dirty because we weren't sweating as much. I'd wash less and expose our hair to less moisture. I wanted styles to last longer and was tempted to send my girls out into the cold without their hats--especially on a Sunday when they were dolled up for worship services.

I was very misguided. Here are some simple changes I made to help us enjoy beautiful Winter hair because:

1. We may not sweat as much but dust and grime is still attracted to the natural oils or sebum our scalps produce. We still need to cleanse it regularly. Not washing will result in dirty smelling hair that no amount of dry cleansing, and topical moisture products will fix entirely.

2. Artificial heat is often dry heat, resulting in dry hair.

3. Harsh temperatures in general may stress our hair. Too cold may be just as taxing as too hot.

Here's what I do:

I continue to wash our hair regularly. You'll find me regularly sniffing my girl's heads. If my nose wriggles--I've waited too long to wash. In a pinch I will wash their hair however it is already braided up and let them be fuzzy until I can find the time to style again. My primary concern is keeping their scalp healthy because a healthy scalp will foster beautiful hair. If you know us in real life you'll testify that we can all look quite fuzzy at times--I can live with that.

I plan ahead. I don't use heat on my girls' hair--this includes hooded dryers. This means it takes HOURS for their hair to dry completely. In the Winter we wash early in the day and stay inside. If we must leave the house I make sure I give their heads enough time to dry to dampness. I will follow up by covering their heads with hats before we go into the cold air.

We save the loose styles and puffs for spring and summer. My exception for this is Mocha Baby, whose hair is still too silky and curly for a full head of braids/twists. I take special care to expose her hair to water daily as she splashes in her bath.

Spritz baby spritz! I've seen all kinds of concoctions. Consider your climate. Many moisturizing sprays contain humectants. They draw moisture from things to themselves. Your environment matters. If you are in a moist environment, humectants are great. They will draw the moisture in the environment to your hair. If your environment is dry, humectants will suck the moisture right out of your hair. Instead, you may want to look for an oil and water mix or simply spritz with water and then lightly coat the strands with oil.

Run a humidifier. This works to keep our hair AND skin supple while soothing our nasal passages and lungs.

Sleep cap or scarf to cover hair for bed. I use the synthetic caps/scarves, durags, satin caps, stocking caps found in beauty supply stores. These won't make the hair moist but will prevent the bedding and dry heat from leeching moisture from your hair.

Conditioning. Look for moisturizing conditioners, but avoid things containing too many silicones and parabens which can build up and require more shampooing to remove. I like Suave Naturals, Trader Joe's Refresh, Tresemme Naturals, Giovanni Direct. I really don't deep condition the girl's hair often...though I've read it's important. I think we are successful anyway because we never use heat and chemicals and constantly expose our hair to water. I do an occasional protein treatment (Aubrey organics GPB) for MG3 because her fine hair demands it.


  1. Thank you for your continued posts; they are so helpful to me.

  2. You're welcome and thank you for posting. everyone's responses encourage me to continue.

  3. I second the thanks on your postings and your beautiful styles. I worry even more about my daughter's hair in winter. I am getting her a satin lined cap for winter play but our old Victorian house is very chilly (think 62 to 65 degrees and no heat on the second floor where we just sleep) So deep conditioning or totally wetting her hair means I need to convince her to play for hours in the living room where our pellet stove is. Not always an easy task! :-)

  4. @Lee Thank you! If your house is cold you may want to consider getting your daughter a microfiber hair turban. I use them on my daughters and myself and they stay on great, catch the drips and keep our heads warm. here's a link http://www.amazon.com/Spa-Sister-Microfiber-Hair-Turban/dp/B001E6EXY8 I have heard good things about this one but I own knock off I bought from the Dollar Tree for $1. Secured by a button that has come off on several but it works just as well to knot it over their foreheads. I show our in the first hair washing video I have up on YouTube.

  5. Great info. No winter here, but good to know for when we travel during winter months. Thanks. :-)

  6. You are blessed Dr.D! Hubby and I still hope we can work things out to live somewhere we can CHOOSE when and how often we will experience Winter.

  7. Your blog is wonderful. Keep up the good work. I need the best moisturizing shampoo and conditioner there is for my 7 yr daughter. I am tryinig to locate the Gionvanni Direct and Trader Joe's Refresh. I have only seen it on amazon.com. Where can I purchase them?


  8. I get the Giovanni direct from a health food store, but I've also seen it in supermarkets. Trader Joe's Refresh is sold at Trader Joe's but these are not necessarily moisturizing. They are just more gentle than some shampoos containing SLS. I think they are comparable to other shampoos without SLS. I try to use a gentle shampoo and count on water for moisture followed by a light oil or butter (shea) to seal depending on what I'm trying to do style wise.

  9. I found Giovanni at the whole food store and I like the shampoo and conditioner. This morning her ends seems dry, I use coconut oil yesterday after washing, did I not use enough or is there something else I should try. Thanks again for all your recommendations.

  10. @hbeckless11
    You may want to troubleshoot to figure out why her hair feels dry. I'm assuming you applied the coconut oil to the hair while the hair was damp to seal in the moisture. If her hair was dry when you applied it--that may be the culprit. How did the hair feel after you applied it--was it moist then? Coconut oil is fabulous but everyone's hair may not like it. If the hair feels hard and crunchy after application that's a bad sign. Also did your daughter sleep with her hair covered? If so, what fabric is her cap/scarf? Depending on the fabric it may be drying her hair out--assuming it stays on.