After four years of being natural, I think I’m finally starting to crack the riddle….
Why does my hair love a product one month and detest it the next? How can a product nourish my curls one day but break them the day after….
I’ve been scratching my head profusely for the past four years! As you will see from the below video, I love making my own hair butters! To me it’s like Christmas cookie baking! Throwing in any oils and scents I want, whilst treating my curls to some chemical free TLC!
However…..something peculiar happens every year! Around late March time, this thick velvety butter starts to feel greasy, my curls dry out after a day and my hair begins to tangle like apple earphones!
I had an inkling that the problem may be seasonal, but it wasn’t until I realised that my two-year-old bottle of Mixed Chicks leave in conditioner was only used for two short durations throughout the year….spring and autumn! The rest of the year, my hair detested it and the bottle just sat on my shelf gathering dust!
This obviously led me to question this strange phenomenon. Just like my stomach wanted salad and ice cream in the summer but hot stew and bread in the winter……maybe my hair had taste buds of its own??
Summer Curly Hair Care
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Soufflé
Glycerine mixed with water in spray bottle
Aloe vera gel
Black Castor Oil
In the summer time when the weather is hot, it’s hard to keep the hair moisturised! Hair dries out like straw in the heat and I always thought the problem was keeping it locked in…..so I turned to silicone serums…..needless to say….that was a TERRIBLE idea!
Then….after one use of Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Soufflé….it hit me! The answer may not be sealing existing moisture in my hair…..it could be finding a way to make my curls constantly replenish lost moisture from the atmosphere.
Enter humectants! Humectants such as aloe vera gel draw water from the air into the skin/cuticle….and of course the dew point/humidity tends to be higher in the summer months! Applying humectants will force the curls to draw water from their environment whilst the heat evaporates the existing moisture in the hair shaft…..imagine a bath with the plug pulled but the tap running! The result….consistent water volume!
In the summer months, I’m able to get between 5-7 days out of a wash and go using curling gel soufflé alone. I just refresh my curls with a glycerine/water spray and seal with castor oil whenever they feel dry.
Other great products to use: Design Essentials Honey Curling Custard, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Kinky Curly Knot Today.
Winter Curly Hair Care
Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner
Eco Styler Gel
Now….as I found out the hard way, my hair doesn’t want humectants in cold, dry weather! The same way I don’t want Haagen Daaz when its snowing!
Back to the bath analogy. In winter, the plug is in and no water is flowing out of the tub. If there’s no moisture in the air (the taps not running), then no moisture will enter the shaft. If there’s lots of rain and moisture in the air, then your hair will become saturated in water….the bathtub overflows! Now, as you know too much moisture can actually cause breakage! See where I’m going here…..
Both scenarios are bad!! Bottom line is that your hair does not need humectants in the winter!
Due to the lack of heat (opening the cuticle), your hair actually does a much better job of retaining moisture as the cuticle seals in cold temperatures. Your focus needs to be on locking in that moisture and sealing the outer cuticle! Your product basically needs to act like a warm, fuzzy blanket for your curls!
If you aren’t afraid of product buildup and sulfates…then silicone based serums, oils, leave ins and stylers are a good option here! For all those who prefer all-naturals options, look for butters such as shea butter, mango butter and avocado butter. If you prefer to use classic leave ins, always seal with a good sealant oil such as sweet almond or Grapeseed oil.
In the winter, buildup isn’t necessarily as problematic as in the summer due to the benefits of the blanket effect. Just make sure to clarify once every 4-6 weeks, so that water is still able to easily penetrate the shaft and moisturise!
Other great products to use: “Big Hair ” Whipped Butter, “Real Mrs Millis” Leave In Sweetness.
Spring/Autumn Curly Hair Care
I personally have found that my hair wants the SAME products in the spring that it does in the autumn (fall). It’s only one product that will do…..Mixed Chicks Leave In Conditioner sealed with coconut oil!
When I first realised this, I found it strange! But then it occurred to me…..my hair wanted balance! The ingredients of this leave in contain a mixture of both humectants and sealants, including glycerine, amodimethicone, jojoba oil, safflower oil and primrose oil. Teamed up with a penetrative and therefore lighter sealant like coconut oil, this mixture struck a perfect balance between the extremities of Summer and Winter.
There are plenty of products with similar ingredients. Others include……Aunt Jackie’s “Curl La La” Curl Definer, Tresemme Naturals and Palmers Coconut Oil Curl Extend Hair Pudding.
I have to say though, I can only manage to stretch out a wash and go for up to four days during this time period before my hair needed to be re-introduced to water as it tends to dry out much easier.
Seasonal Curl Care Made Easy
Summer = Humectants
Winter = Sealants
Autumn/Spring = Balance
Understanding how my hair reacts to the different climates helps me to adjust my hair routine to ensure optimum care and keep my curls strong, healthy and moisturised.
Knowing my curls exact behaviour pattern for each season also helps me to plan and prepare by purchasing the correct products in advance! Ergo, saving money and limiting impulse product shopping!
Have you noticed any seasonal behaviour with your hair throughout the year? Leave a comment below and let me know!
The Curly Cockney