One winter during high school a strange thing began to happen to my hair. My hair was relaxed at the time and up until that point gave me little to no problems. I rarely used direct heat because my mother would roller set my hair and I regularly washed and oiled it (didn’t know what sealing was back then). Aside from lacking the thickness that only my natural texture could provide I was fine with my hair, especially because in the 1990s girls my age with natural hair were an unusual sight. However, this particular winter the hair along my nape began to break. I actually didn’t realize it until the hair went from about bra strap length to about four inches within a matter of weeks. Upon inspection it appeared as if someone had taken scissor to my nape and cut the hair clean off. As my mother began to contemplate what might be the cause she realized that the wool scarf I had been wearing that winter was likely the culprit. Indeed it was and to this day I will NEVER wear a wool scarf. Avoiding wool scarves, especially if you wear your hair down, is perhaps the easiest way to avoid breakage along the nape. There are other helpful tips you might consider as well.
I find that because the hair along my nape will have the most contact with whatever I’m wearing, the hair in that area is prone to lose moisture. Even if the hair is not in contact with an abrasive fabric like wool the constant loss of moisture can make the hair drier and thus more prone to breakage. So what can you do to protect your nape hair?
1. If you wear a wool coat and your hair is shoulder length or longer try clipping your hair up when wearing your coat. Using a claw clip, flexi‑8 or even placing it into a loose ponytail should allow you to maintain the style while keeping your hair off your shoulders.
2. If you like wearing stylish wool hats consider finding one lined with satin. If you cannot find such a hat, you may consider wearing a satin bonnet underneath hat. I’ve done this with cotton hats and find that not only does my hair not lose moisture but my style doesn’t suffer from frizz. You’ll have to remember to visit the rest room and quickly remove the hat and bonnet. Forgetting that you’re wearing the bonnet may result in awkward glances from colleagues and friends.
3. Regularly assess the health of the hair along your nape. Often this part of the hair is forgotten because breakage doesn’t necessarily impact the appearance of your styling. It’s only when you decide to wear a high ponytail or bun that your realize the hair along the nape is far too short.
4. Moisturize and seal the hair along your nape at least every other day. Even if other sections of your hair feel moisturized remember that this section is possibly drier.
5. If you have suffered breakage along the nape, consider flat twisting the hair horizontally even while you wear a twist out or braid out. If your hair is at least neck length the flat twist won’t be visible and protecting the hair this way gives it much needed rest. By the way, this is how my mother successfully got my broken nape hair to regain length after my wool scarf incident.
How do you keep your nape protected when it gets cold?