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5 Things to Consider for your Winter Hair Regimen + Hair Ingredients to Avoid for Better Health

Winter is here but the cold shouldn’t stop you from taking good care of your hair. Here are 5 expert ways to keep your natural hair looking great while keeping your heads warm this season. 

Protective styles

You don’t have to wear extensions such as braids and cornrows to limit breakage during winter, rather any protective style that is low maintenance and doesn’t pull on the hair too much is ideal such as twist outs. You can wear wigs but wearing them often can also wear your hairline away. 

Reduce breakage this winter

Woolly hats are a culprit when it comes to keeping hair breakage at a minimum during the winter months. In order to reduce the chances of your hair breaking, you can wear a silk scarf before putting on a hat or hood. There are also hats available that have a silk and satin lining.

Trim your hair regularly 

If you’re doing your hair by yourself at home it can be difficult to know when it’s time for a trim. Some tell-tell signs include split ends, dry and rough texture, knots and tangles, flat and lifeless hair. You may find that it takes longer to comb your hair due to the lack of volume and knots in the hair and may even experience breakage as a result. Your hair can also have a lot of flyaways which makes it difficult to style.

On average, hair grows about half an inch each month so I usually recommend clients get their hair trimmed every 6 – 8 weeks where about an inch of hair can be trimmed off. 

Limit your heat usage

It’s true humidity rates are lower compared to the summer so it can be tempting to get the straighteners, blower dryers and curling irons out more often. But it’s still important to be mindful of the damaging effects excessive heat can do to your natural hair such as causing split ends to occur so I recommend using natural oils such as coconut, shea butter and castor oil which is good at sealing the ends and locking in moisture while preventing split ends and tangles.

Treating dry hair and dandruff this winter

Dandruff is very common and can particularly be an issue for those who suffer from dry itchy scalp during the cold winter months or for those who live stressful lifestyles. 

One way to deal with it is to use a hair scrub which helps exfoliate the scalp and alleviates the dry skin. It’s important to get close to the scalp by rubbing it but do not scratch as this can cause the broken skin to become worse. Additionally, eating nutritious meals such as oily fish, seeds and nuts and avoiding processed food can help your skin to replenish itself and combat dandruff quicker. 

To help keep dandruff under control and to prevent flaking, I recommend using specific shampoos that contain key ingredients such as ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid and selenium sulphide as they are good at removing the dead skin and washing the hair regularly prevents build up. 

Another way to deal with dandruff is to use hot oil treatment on the scalp. You can choose from a range of natural oils and heat it up gently in a basin of hot water rather than the microwave.

Ingredients to look out for in hair products

You may have heard that some of our beloved afro hair products can consist of key ingredients which are damaging not only to natural hair but also to our health and general well being. One popular ingredient to avoid are sulphates, which are particularly prominent in shampoos, as they can strip hair of its moisture, irritate your skin and can cause unpleasant allergic reactions. As an alternative, co-wash your hair instead or go for sulphate-free shampoo. 

Parabens are another culprit commonly found in hair products to preserve them on the shelves for a longer period of time. Additionally, mineral oil and petroleum jelly are commonly found in afro hair products but not only is it bad for hair growth but also increases the risk of skin cancers as they contain PAHs (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) which seep into hair and skin cells.

It’s best to opt for natural ingredients, many of which you can purchase yourself and make your own moisturiser at home such as shea butter, aloe vera, castor oil and coconut oil.

By incorporating some of these suggestions to your winter hair care routine, you’re bound to have healthy, bouncy and luscious natural hair for the chilly months ahead.

Words by Ama Safo, Professional Hairstylist and Founder of Ama Hair Salon 

Are you good at styling natural hair? If so we would love you to join our team at Ama Hair Salon. Please email us at amashairsalon@gmail.com

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