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3 Myths About Cold Weather and Natural Hair

Avatar • Nov 22, 2014
Nat Caine

Image Source: Nat Caine, natcaine.tumblr.com

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.)

- Cut the coconut oil with another oil, like olive, grapeseed or avocado.

- 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?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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The One
The One
6 years ago

From experience, using unmixed coconut oil on my hair in the winter does make my hair stiffen up when I’m outside, but it softens when I’m indoors. That’s because the freezing temperature of coconut oil is so high. It’s fine in my shea butter mix as long as it isn’t the main ingredient.

Chanda
Chanda
6 years ago

Alright. I may have to go old school and start using grease again this winter. (Hair) grease never hurt anybody. If I don’t like it then I only spent $1 to $4 on it.

Renee
Renee
6 years ago
Reply to  Chanda

I have also switched back to hair grease and I am so happy I did. I used natural oils for four years and I’ve found they do not work for my hair. My hair always looked dry and dull. Now that I’m using hair grease, my hair looks moisturized and feels so soft.

BlueCornMoon
BlueCornMoon
5 years ago
Reply to  Renee

Same here ! Went back to grease December 2013 because of severe weather…multiple snowstorms & cold dry air; worst winter in decades. I hadn’t used grease in decades & had been using Qhemet & Carol’s Daughter when I went natural & they worked wonderfully. HOWEVER ! I got awful breakage & dryness in December 2013 & decided to get some Blue Magic & Dax. I would use the Qhenet & CD creams & butters & seal over them with grease.That saved my hair. I did the same thing this fall & winter.

Athorn23
Athorn23
6 years ago

I sure have been using Blue Magic’s coconut oil hair conditioner since the weather changed, unapologetically. Oil just wasn’t cutting it anymore. My hair is shinier and moisture retention is up in my hair. Best decision I’ve made this fall/ winter. I’m in Michigan where it already feels like January.

kia
kia
6 years ago

i think another myth is that the only way your hair will make it thru the winter is if it’s in a protective style and wash n goes are a no go…ehhh

cnj
cnj
6 years ago

I like products with glycerin. I’m starting to look for it more often. I never liked grease and never will. Not a huge fan of coconut oil either. Well as a sealant because it solidifies and melts so quickly. I don’t trust it by itself or diluted in any weather. I do like it for detangling though.

Robin
Robin
6 years ago

#1 is not a myth for me. My hair hates glycerin in winter — and spring, summer, and fall. I’ve tried using glycerin in my hair various ways, but that stuff turns my hair into a tangled, fairy-knotted desert. Then I have to send lots of olive oil on a rescue mission. (Thank goodness for the power and mercy of olive oil rinses.) So I’ve given up on glycerin. The only exceptions are SheaMoisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Curling Souffle, which both contain vegetable glycerin. Some kind of witchcraft keeps those 2 products from killing my coils. Granted, I only… Read more »

Robin
Robin
6 years ago
Reply to  Robin

Oh and here’s another myth I’ve heard a lot: “You MUST protective style in the winter.” My coils disagree, because they get babied in the winter. My winter routine involves regular olive oil rinses, more frequent deep conditioning, and extra sealant on my ends. Normally I can get a good 5 days out of my wash & gos, regardless of season. In the winter, sometimes I need to wet my hair down on day 3, reapply my leave-in, and reseal. That’s a lot quicker than starting all over with shampoo or cleansing conditioner, plus oil rinse, plus conditioner (or deep conditioner),… Read more »

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

i can’t imagine putting blue magic on my skin or hair. but i’ve started experimenting with coconut oil lately. I even wrote about ways to use them in the winter in this blog post
http://www.coilsandglory.com/5‑ways-to-use-coconut-oil-in-your-natural-hair-this-winter/

uli
uli
6 years ago

JC’s article is no longer works??? I want to read that article…

Alwina Oyewoleturner
Alwina Oyewoleturner
5 years ago

As I con my healthy hair journey, I focus on what works for my hair. So far I know not to use glycerin in the summer but I’d like to experiment with it in the winter. I use products with coconut oil and my hair likes it and all oils/butters. I haven’t tried grease yet. Since my hair responds well to oils/butters, I think I can hold off on grease. Thank you for dispelling these myths!

Queen Maja
4 years ago

…you said the opposite in another article. I’m so lost :’(

http://bglh-marketplace.com/2012/09/transitioning-to-cool-cold-weather-hair-care/

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