Now that the cold weather is officially here, most hair care regimens undergo restructuring for the better. Protective styles become more the norm. Deep conditioning becomes more crucial. Naturals who want to maximize their length retention this season aim for regimens that are robust all around.
With this focus in mind, it is time to bust a few hair care myths related to cold weather.
1. MYTH: Glycerin is, no doubt, our enemy in the winter
This is one myth that is prevalent in the hair care community since glycerin/glycerine is hygroscopic (i.e., water-loving, or attracts water). However, the mistake that some naturals make is inferring that glycerin “dries out the hair in the wintertime by removing water from the strands”. Think about it this way: we wear body lotions, apply facial moisturizers, and use hair conditioners during the wintertime yet these products generally contain glycerin. If this substance is so bad, why use any of these products at all?
The reality is that whether your hair will continue to benefit from glycerin during cold, dry winters depends on how you use it. The substance is simply most effective when applied before or in combination with water and followed up with a sealant (e.g., oil, butter, etc.). On the other hand, applying glycerin after you wet your hair or without a sealant may not do much of anything for you. BGLH blogger Jc talks more about effective techniques and more in the post “How to Use Glycerine Effectively in Winter”.
2. MYTH: Only oils and butters are best for sealing winter hair
The belief that only oils and butters can lock in moisture during the cold season is actually false for some naturals. While grease has been given a bad name in much of the hair care community, it actually works just as well or better for some of us. Why? Well, two major components of grease are petrolatum and/or lanolin, both of which are great barriers to the harsh, drying winds. That being said, check to see if you are one of those naturals who benefits more from grease than oils and/or butter alone for sealing in moisture. Try following up your L.O. or L.O.C. method with Blue Magic or Softee to provide the additional layer of protection. If you would like to read more tips on using hair grease, check out this earlier post: “How Hair Grease Can Help Retain Length in Natural Hair”.
3. MYTH: Coconut oil in your hair leads to frozen strands
Another myth that I hear frequently is that applying coconut oil to your hair during cold seasons is asking for frozen strands. Now, not every head of natural hair likes coconut oil, and those that don’t tend to experience this disdain in the form of stiff, crunchy strands year-round. On the other hand, for those that do generally like to use coconut oil, that won’t necessarily change in the wintertime if you find the right technique. Here are some tips:
- Allow the coconut oil to properly melt into your hair. This includes giving the oil time to penetrate the strands. (Try applying it the night before, rather than the morning of.) This also includes not using more than what is needed. (Too much coconut oil will simply sit on top of the hair.)
- Use an emulsified product containing coconut oil (e.g., Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk, etc.).
Have you heard any of these myths or others?