Surviving the Winter, Urbanbella-style.
We’ve nearly made it halfway through, but we’ve still got a couple more months of winter chills to plow through. Exposure to chilly conditions, icy winds, and going in & out of heated environments leaves your hair crying out for moisture, so we need to give our locks some special attention during these colder months.
It’s bad enough that these extreme conditions can cause dryness, flaky products and a dry scalp… But these are also warning signs that your hair is more susceptible to damage and breakage that will last long after the snow has melted.
Many of you have asked how we can enjoy softer hair during the colder months and protect it so you can look forward to luscious locks come summertime, and we’ve got your back. Here, we’ll show you how to switch up your routine and adjust your Urbanbella products for optimum hydration and moisture so you can say goodbye to those dry hair days and fend off the winter blues. Let’s take a closer look at the things you may have missed to ensure you have beautiful, moisturized, natural hair this winter.
1. Upgrade Your Hair Products
Your regular hair products might be falling short during these harsh winter months, a time your hair really needs some extra TLC. The best defense to keep your hair healthy, shiny and strong starts with using high quality products. Here’s why:
- Higher quality products contain premium ingredients... and more of them. It’s essential that your winter hair products contain a high quality oil (that will actually penetrate the hair rather than coating it) and in higher concentrations, to impart long-lasting moisture.
- Premium products focus on ingredients that actually help your hair and skin hold onto moisture. Try out our current favorite, our Urbanbella The Neat Conditioner which is full of Amino Acids that penetrate the hair shaft deeply and attract moisture below the cuticle. These Amino Acids keep your hair hydrated for weeks after treatment, and make it manageable and easier to comb on Wash Day.
- High quality styling aids really matter. Premium quality products contain more hair-hydrating humectants, and a variety of them. Unlike their cheaper competitors which are packed with fillers and water, the high concentration of moisture-attracting humectants in premium styling products will give you the hydration and control your hair needs right now. To lock in important moisture when styling, we swear by Tamu Curls (Moisture Level 4) and The Neat Extra Soft Gel (Moisture Level 5). Both give great definition without relying on hair-drying alcohol as an ingredient for hold, like you’ll find in many lower-quality styling products. They’re great for styling all year round, but their carefully curated ingredients also pack the punch you need to get you through the harshest of days in winter.
2. Wash Those Tresses More Often
Contrary to popular belief, washing your hair more often in winter is actually good for hydration. While many believe that by washing regularly, you’re washing away the natural oils and therefore making it dry... we beg to differ. Here’s the scoop:
- For Afro textured hair, natural oils secreted by the scalp (called sebum) never have an opportunity to travel past the first few millimeters of your hair shaft, providing moisture to the rest of the hair. We need to introduce moisture we are lacking in the midshaft and ends by applying nourishing ingredients on a regular basis.
- Just like your skin, your hair needs water to be healthy, and relies on the humidity of the environment around it to keep its water content at an optimal level. Winter means constant exposure to low humidity, due to heated indoors and drying chilly temperatures outside, so give your hair the drink it needs in the shower and be sure to always follow up with a high quality conditioner.
- The process of washing your hair stimulates the scalp and promotes blood flow to your hair follicles, encouraging healthy growth. For those of us who haven’t been washing as frequently, this is the perfect time to increase our number of Wash Days, and try out our No.7 Non-Lather Cleanser. It’s perfectly formulated for more frequent use to gently open the hair cuticle and allow trapped dirt and buildup to be cleansed away, giving your scalp that gentle exfoliation it needs with peppermint essential oil.
- During the cooler dry winter days, you still want to use a clarifying shampoo once a month, like our favorite No. 78 Honey + Aloe Lather Shampoo. If you’re already a fan of this incredible deep-cleaning shampoo that cleanses without drying, kudos to you- keep up enjoying the benefits! And if you haven’t experienced a truly nourishing deep clean before, add this beauty to your regimen once a month. Don’t forget when you’re done cleansing your tresses, to finish with a cold shot to rinse out your conditioner at the end of your shower, locking down the cuticle and enhancing shine.
3. Steam Hydrate Your Hair Every Week. Yes... Every. Week. Periodt.
It’s no secret that the Urbanbella Crew are big fans of Steam Hydration Treatments. And we’ve seen firsthand the benefits of doing this every week. This step (combined with quality products) has been the game changer for most naturals. Hair porosity plays a major part in our hair’s ability to take in and retain moisture. Black women come with as many different levels of hair porosity as we do skin color. Here’s where the power of steam comes in:
Many of us with Afro textured hair have low porosity strands- meaning the cuticle (or top layer of your hair) is tightly packed and needs a boost to allow products to penetrate deeply for the best results. (You know who you are… you’re always saying your hair is never shiny) Low porosity means that we can’t take in a lot of moisture and oils can sit on top of our hair shaft, making it appear greasy, but not providing any softness. We need to use steam to allow the oils in to work their magic.
- For the low-porosity naturals, steam opens up your hair shaft gently, allowing your products to make it past the cuticle layer and work their miracles on your hair cortex. The cortex is where the benefits of the amino acids and proteins in your products go to work, providing strength and softness for weeks.
Steam can also benefit those of us with high-porosity locks! Just like a sponge, high-porosity hair drinks up more water and product, but then as the cuticle tends to remain more open even after conditioning, we can lose that hydration quickly.
- For high-porosity naturals, steam provides moisture at the same time as concentrating the benefits of your products, helping your conditioner absorb more effectively. This gives your hair shaft more softness, suppleness and flexibility...something that we’re often lacking. This means less dryness, breakage and more shine!
- No need to use a conditioning cap- simply crank up the heat in the shower and leave your hair down to allow the steam to circulate around your strands.
- We recommend steaming weekly for 20 minutes with a deep treatment such as our No. 14 Organic Coconut Cream Repair Mask. This miracle worker was formulated especially to take your steam treatment to the next level, with lots of lipid-rich organic coconut oil and not one... but TWO humectants to keep that moisture right where we need it.
Shout us out in the comments below and share your tips and tricks for surviving the winter hair blues!
Cozy Nights and Gorgeous Hair Days to You All,