Spring can be a difficult time for hair. When the weather can't make its mind up and most buildings still have the heating on full blast, the extreme conditions can mess with your tresses.
Afro hair thrives on moisture, but indoor heating and cold, wet weather make maintaining moisturised hair in the spring a little tricky. So what to do?
5 Basic Stages for Spring Hair Care
Before we begin, it's important to understand that not all hair loss is a major setback. People shed anywhere between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day, during colder months, the number may be closer to 100 but that’s perfectly normal, it's called seasonal shedding. It is possible that these shed hairs are giving way to thicker hairs, similar to the way dogs grow a thicker coat of fur in the winter to help them stay warm. If you think you are losing more than 100 strands of hair daily or start to see patches of baldness, you may want to speak with your doctor or a trichologist.
Ok, let’s go!
Stage 1: Wash
First things first, make sure your shampoo is sulphate free so less moisture is lost when you wash your hair. Focus on your scalp when washing, a clean your scalp is less prone to hair loss causing fungal infections.
Try to wash your hair every 7-10 days (more regularly if you use heavy products like gel or shea butter or work out.)
If you find that it’s becoming very dry. Cut back on the number of times you shampoo your hair.
Top Tip: Your efforts to keep your hair moist and hydrated don’t stop with what’s on the outside. Just how hydrated your hair is also depends on the hydration status of your insides. Ramp up your water consumption to at least 6-8 full glasses a day. You’ll be amazed at what a big difference something as simple as drinking more water will make.
Stage 2: Condition
Wind speeds up the oxidation and ageing of hair whilst also causing extreme dehydration resulting in your hair turning into a split end prone, dried out mess. In addition, as a by-product of how indoor heating operates, your hair is constantly being robbed of its natural moisture while you spend time indoors avoiding the April showers.
Amping up your conditioning routine is another way to fortify your hair’s natural moisture to prevent dry, brittle hair. Look for products that contain vitamin E, hydrolyzed protein or keratin and avoid mineral oil in products. Our Swirl conditioner fits the bill as it provides slip without the silicones.
Top Tip: Add oils to your conditioner for an extra boost.
Stage 3: Dry Quickly
Whilst low winter temperatures linger, be more cautious going out with wet hair. Aside from the discomfort, our hair holds water which can freeze and expand when temperatures are low enough. Frozen hair is less pliable and more prone to breakage.
Blow dryers and heated styling tools can add insult to injury because we tend to use them more during the cooler months when it isn't practical to let our hair air-dry. Avoid the heat and use a soft microfibre towel or an old t-shirt to pat (for less friction) your hair dry.
Top tip: Stretch your hair using heatless methods such as African threading, banding, rollers and braiding.
Stage 4: Moisturise
Keeping your hair moisturised is especially essential in the colder winter and spring months. Remember, oil is not a moisturiser, hydrate your hair with water-based moisturisers and make sure to seal or lock in the water with an oil based product.
The moisturising step is most effective on damp hair as the absorption of products into the hair shaft is easier when hair is slightly wet. Refreshing between washes is also essential in maintaining the optimum moisture balance of our hair.
We recommend using the LOC method, our Liquid (Sheen), Oil (Seal) and Cream (Smooth) are available separately or in our Moisture Surge Set. So, whether you favour the LOC, LCO, LO, or LC method you can layer products to build your own regimen.
Top tip: Instead of using drying hairspray or gel, use a hair cream (like Smooth) to keep styles in place.
Stage 5: Protective Style
After moisturising and detangling comes styling. Spring is the perfect time to spruce up your style with some head wraps and hats to protect your hair as well as to keep your head and even your ears warm and dry... Remember to pop your bonnet between any headgear and your hair to maintain moisture and reduce friction which will cause static, frizz, and breakage. You could also lessen the friction your scarf causes by applying Smooth liberally to smooth down cuticles and prevent damage.
Whether you prefer the look and feel of your natural hair, or to add extensions, make sure to keep your hair tucked away in a protective style, these are great as they protect the weaker more breakage prone ends and encourage low-manipulation.
Some common protective styles are: braids, twists and crochet styles. Up-dos are another great way to style your natural hair and tuck the ends away to protect against friction from clothes and scarves.
Styling using the wrong tools can do progressive damage to the cuticle which will have damaging consequences. Avoid metal hairbrushes and combs at all costs: under a microscope you can closely see jagged shards which, when brushed through the hair, will tear and slash the hair shaft.
Finger detangling is the safest bet (make sure to file your nails), but if necessary, use a wide tooth comb or tangle teezer to detangle and style without snagging or damaging your hair.
Top Tip: For the best results, ensure that you start your styles on moisturised hair and maintain moisture while you wear the style.
As with everything, there’s a learning curve, and a bit of experimentation helps! Good luck building your spring hair care routine, let us know how you get on.