A natural haircare regimen for winter or harmattan requires frequent deep conditioning and moisturising to prevent dryness and breakage.
Harmattan in tropical countries or winter in Western countries means two things for your hair:
You can wear ‘out’ styles like Bantu knot-outs, twist-outs and braid-outs without worrying about humidity and frizz and;
Your hair is more prone to breakage and dryness.
Whether you choose to wear your hair in a protective style or flaunt it by wearing it out, you need a tailored hair care regimen to keep your hair keep your hair in good condition.
A key rule during cold or dry weather is to deep condition and moisturise your hair very often. This will keep your hair moisturised and soft, and less prone to breakage. Winter/Harmattan is also the time to use heavy products because you hair will have no trouble soaking it all up.
Note that you may need to moisturise you hair up to twice daily especially if you have very dry hair or if you choose to to wear your hair out.
Sample Natural Hair Care Regimen for Winter/Harmattan
Moisturise your hair at least twice per day if you choose to wear your hair out with a moisturising leave-in conditioner. Then seal your hair with a thick sealant like castor oil, shea butter or a mineral oil and petrolatum-free pomade.
If you wear your hair in a protective style, moisturise your hair at least once per day with a sprayable leave-in conditioner. Avoid using heavy oils and butters if you can’t reach your hair directly to prevent build-up. Use light oils like grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil or a light oil mix.
This step only applies if your hair is excessively dry or if you work out frequently and sweat a lot. Salt can be very drying to the hair, so it is a good idea to rinse out.
If you find that sweating doesn’t really affect your hair, skip this step.
It is best to wash your hair with a co-wash during the winter/harmattan, because it provides extra conditioning. If you don’t like co-washes, make sure you use a sulfate-free shampoo to prevent stripping.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to deep condition your hair during winter/harmattan. If you choose not do anything else, you must do this one! That is, unless you don’t want to retain any length to show off during the summer holidays😜.
During the dry months, stick to moisturising deep conditioners. Moisturising conditioners are those that don’t contain any protein in them. Protein conditioners, especially if they are made with heavier proteins like keratin can make your hair too stiff, ultimately leading to breakage.
After deep conditioning your hair, be sure to add a leave-in conditioner, followed by a light oil or heavier moisturiser, and then seal with a product that doesn’t contain any water like shea butter or a pomade.
This three-step method of moisturising and sealing is called the L.O.C method in hair lingo. Where ‘L’ is Liquid or Leave-in conditioner, ‘O’ is oil and ‘C’ is cream. I will write more about this in another post.
To summarise, a winter/harmattan haircare regimen for natural should look something like this:
- Moisturise & seal your hair daily
- Co-wash or shampoo your hair weekly
- Deep condition your hair with a moisturising deep conditioner weekly
- Moisturise & seal using a leave-in conditioner, oil, and oil-free butter after washing each week
- Repeat as necessary
*Avoid protein deep conditioners unless your hair is severely damaged and needs reconstructing. But, you may use them every six-eight weeks to keep up your hair strong.
You can adapt this guide to suit your needs. You may need to moisturise your hair more or less often than I’ve stated so please pay attention to your hair and give it what it needs. Don’t forget to always sleep with a satin bonnet or on a satin pillowcase.