By: Rachel Edwards, Contributor
Every natural knows the struggle of dealing with dry, crackly hair–especially during the frigid, winter months. As the air gets colder, it’s important to spend a little extra time keeping our hair both smooth and moisturized. Whether you’re rocking a protective style, or bravely sporting a wash and go, here are five essential tips and tricks to ensure your natural curls stay soft and moisturized both in and out of this chilly season.
Coconut oil is the “handyman” of natural oils and a must-have for naturalistas. It’s the perfect go to product for detangling, moisturizing, and pre-shampooing. The distinct molecular properties of coconut oil allow it the unique ability of penetrating the hair fiber, thus locking in moisture and strengthening the hair. Read more about the benefits of coconut oil, and its structural properties, here. Before your next wash, try My Natural Sistas DIY Whipped Coconut Oil Hair Treatment or regular extra virgin coconut oil, and see if there’s a noticeable difference in the softness of your hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Rinse
ACV rinses are a great way to cleanse the hair as well as restore its natural pH level (a number which varies from person to person but is generally between 4.0-5.5). Balancing the pH of your hair using an ACV rinse is an important part of maintaining scalp/hair health and promoting hair growth. The added bonus is that ACV rinses will no doubt leave your hair feeling soft and smooth. Check out Curly Nikki’s post on apple cider vinegar and natural hair care to learn more.
Regular deep conditioning should be an essential part of every natural hair regimen. Deep conditioners not only help to fortify strands, but they also increase elasticity , combat dryness, and leave your hair less tangled and easier to work with. There are numerous homemade natural deep conditioners on the web; I suggest blending a bit of mayonnaise, fresh avocado, and some olive oil together–you’ll be good to go. Naturally Curly has some helpful dos and don’ts of deep conditioning.
Most naturals hear the word “steam” and run in the other direction. “Water vapor on my hair? No no…you thought wrong!” Confession time: that used to be me!! However, conspiracy theories aside, steaming your hair is one of the most effective ways of retaining moisture and keeping your hair soft. It’s a great way of revitalizing an old twist out, or prepping your hair for another hard-core detangling session. Don’t believe me? Watch this.
The LOC or LCO Method
You’ve probably heard of this, but have you tried it? Moisturizing your hair is useless unless you seal it in. The “LOC” Method (Liquid-Oil-Cream/Conditioner) is a layering technique designed to “lock” the moisture into your hair. Some people chose to practice the LCO method instead–switching the order of the cream and the oil–as it helps them to retain moisture better. Find what works for you, and stick with it!
See these tips combined in the PERFECT Moisturizing Regimen on Natural Hair: