Winter Hair Woes: Solved!

imagesWinter really is a b*^&% on curly hair, isn’t it? Every single year I debate cutting it all off or straightening it. This year I’m growing it out for my wedding so I can’t do the former, and I get it all sweaty with my workouts so spending $40 on a decent blow-out is not worth it.

There are some important things that we can do to help our curls, but they come with a few snarls. Here’s how to overcome them for happy, healthy hair!

1) Frequent oil treatments.

olive-oil_sq-e4b656991b973d6de22fb74a05922bb0650e9e5a-s6-c30The Problem: If you do an oil treatment every week during the winter you will love your hair. There are just a few issues, namely the plumbing and the time. With shorter daylight hours we find less energy to do the things we have to do, let alone the things we want to do. Aside from time, which would be easy enough to overcome, I have to add to the fact that I live in a pre-war building with less than stellar plumbing and every single time I do an oil treatment it clogs the shower drain. We’ve have to use Drain-O in our already old and unreliable pipes, and that’s not good.

The Solution: I have decided to do bi-weekly oil treatments and to wash them out at the gym instead of at home. Their brand new building and commercial pipes will allow for easy flow. Exercising with an oil treatment in your hair is always recommended, just don’t put in so much that your hair will be dripping, and limit yourself to the treadmill, elliptical, stairs and free weights, or activities where the head doesn’t have to touch machines. Sweating opens pores and allows for additional saturation to your scalp and hair follicles. Apply the treatment the night before so hair has had time to absorb most of it, then tie it in a tight bun and go to the gym, and wash it out when you’re done! Be sure to pack your lemon/conditioner mix for cleansing. In between treatments, apply lighter oils to your ends.

2) A hat to protect hair from the elements.

The Problem: Almost every winter hat is expressly made for straight-haired people. It tamps hair down and flattens the heck out of the top, leaving the bottom frizzy and unmanageable from exposure and friction against scarves and high-necked jackets and sweaters.

montera-newThe Solution: The slouchy trend has brought about a plethora loose-fitting yet flattering hats. To protect hair you can wrap it lightly in a loose silk or nylon bandana before putting the hat on, but you don’t have to. You can also loosely tie hair up on top of your head to keep it covered. Hat styles that work best are those that are semi-loose around the band, and balloon out on top to accommodate lots of hair. I love the hat that I got from a Caribbean market in my neighborhood, loose enough to cover a head full of dreads. There is also a smaller and more discreet version for people with less hair, which can be found in many mall kiosks and online. I’d recommend buying one in person so you can ensure that the band won’t be too tight around your head.

Click below for more ideas to make it through the long, cold winter. Above all, keep your chin up and remember that things may look a bit different, but you’re beautiful all 365 days of the year!

Read More:
Winter Shminter: Curls in the Cooler Months
Winter Hair Care
My Waterless Week
Scalp Care

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Curly Hairstyles

One thing that always peeves me is how hard it is to find good examples of curly hairstyles. As if it’s hard to make curly hair look great! Quite the contrary, my dears. I, myself, have quite a few stand-bys that I like to sport, and it often looks professionally done (despite taking 5 minutes or less to “do”).

1) The Pile: This is the easiest and most becoming, in my opinion. It also works on any length that is long enough to pull into a pony tail. There are modifications for shorter hair, but we’ll get to that shortly.

What you need:

  • 1 thin elastic hair rubber band (“Ouchless” with no metal bar, preferably)
  • About 4-8 bobby pins, depending on your hair thickness and length

How it works:

  • Put your head upside down and gather all of your hair toward the middle of the crown of your head. How far toward the back or toward your brow is up to you.
  • Gather the hair into the elastic. Wrap the elastic around your hair once or twice. Only twice if it’s loose enough to slide right off once your put your hair upright. Never more than twice, if you need to wrap it more than twice get a newer, more elastic band.
  • Flip your head back up slowly and fasten the elastic band where you want the pony to stay on top of your head. Pull the hair up and out of the pony-tail holder so the elastic is as close to your scalp as possible. It looks kind of Victorian era, which is what I love about it, but it’s also a pretty quick and easy up-do sort of look that works at the office or at a fancier event. Experiment with how many curly tendrils you’d like to have escaping around your face for the best effect.

For shorter hair:

  • It will take time to perfect this look if your hair is too short to get into a pony tail, but you can use just bobby pins. Start with pieces on top and start positioning them the way you’d like them, a little higher up on your crown perhaps. When they look good, use as many bobby pins as it takes to keep it that way. Then continue to go down your head doing this with every layer. The bottom later can be pulled up and criss-crossed over the back of your head, and bobby pinned to stay that way.
  • If your hair is so thick that the pins aren’t cutting it, try using mini claw clips instead.

2) The Side-braid: I’ve mentioned before that I love this look, it’s so medieval. I often braid my hair when I’m sleeping since it’s so long that it gets tangled and matted to my neck in warmer weather. Just loosely braid your hair down the side of your head, as a french bread if you’re so adept, or you can bobby-pin stray tendrils if you can only manage a regular braid. I usually like to keep some hair around my face, but you can switch it up.

3) The Fountain: The regular claw clips also come in handy to simply twist your hair from behind in one large twist, then fasten it to your scalp toward the top of your head. If you have enough hair it will spout out of the top like a fountain. As with the other do’s, you can bobby pin any stray hairs in place.

photo4) Headbands: Until recently, I had equated headbands with those stiff plastic things that gave me headaches if worn too long in the 80’s. Much has changed since those days, there are some great options that don’t squeeze your head so tightly and are much more fun to wear–even more so when you mix and match. My favorite is to twist my hair in the back of my head and to pin it up with as many bobby pins are needed to keep in place. Next, I add on headband in the usual place, and one more toward the back to elongate the front-to-back direction of my hair, as seen at right. Use a few bobbies to keep the bands in place, and voila!
Headbands pictured are from LF.

NOTE: Bobby pins have a frizzing effect if used too liberally, so don’t attempt a highly pinned look if you want to let your hair down later on in the day. If you want to pin pieces back, go with the mini claw clips, as they come out easily and ruffle-free.