By Alexa Santory
Fall is such a lovely time of year. We get to pull out our cozy sweaters, the leaves turn an array of beautiful colors, and the smell of pumpkin spice makes it annual appearance, reminding us of all the the changes that come with a new season. Another thing that changes during the fall?? The moisture levels of our hair and skin. That crisp air comes with strings attached, but we’re here to tell you that there are lots of ways to stay moisturized during the coldest months of the year!
Top 10 Hair Moisturizing Hacks for Fall
For some of us, dry hair is a year round problem that’s only made worse by the cold air that washes over us come fall. Here are our top 10 hacks to achieve and maintain your most hydrated hair ever!
#1. Know your porosity
So you’ve just applied all your creams and oils and moisturizers and your hair is still dry. What gives? Knowing your hair’s porosity might be the answer you’ve been looking for. Our hair essentially has pores that allow moisture to pass through and the higher or lower your porosity, the more difficult it is to retain moisture. With high porosity hair, where the cuticle is wide open, the challenge is keeping moisture locked in. With low porosity hair, were the cuticle is pretty much sealed shut, it’s harder to get moisture to absorb at all. Understanding your hair’s porosity will allow you to switch up your products accordingly to get the highest possible amount of moisture in your hair.
#2. Oils are queen!
Want shiny, moisturized, and all around healthier hair? Use oils and try doing an oil pre-poo before every wash. Each oil has different benefits, but some of the best for our hair include castor oil, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil. Castor oil is a thick oil that works well for lower porosity hair types. Since it’s harder for the hair shaft to allow the oil to fully absorb, it actually creates a protective barrier around the hair, keeping it strong and keeping moisture in its place. It’s also a great choice if you’re trying to grow your hair. Coconut oil has been lauded as a holy grail ingredient by naturalistas for decades and that’s because it’s thin enough to be fully absorbed by the hair, delivering shine and intense moisture. Vitamin E oil is fast absorbing and full of antioxidants that protect the hair and scalp from damage. Avocado oil is full of essential fatty acids that keep the hair healthy from the inside, plus it helps seal the hair’s cuticle and keep moisture in place. Jojoba oil is thin enough to use all over your body, and it’s full of vitamins B and E, which work to keep the hair strong and prevent breakage!
#3. Deep condition with every single wash
No matter your hair type, this is an essential part of maintain moisturized hair. Deep conditioners deliver targeted results for your biggest hair issues and can even resolve them with a few consistent uses. Make sure to find the right deep conditioner for you — there are tons to choose from — but always ensure that moisturization is the overall goal. For deeper conditioning, I like to apply low heat with a blow dryer for about 20 minutes of the hour I leave my deep conditioner in. Not sure which one to get? We make some bomb hair masks that turn your favorite conditioner into a super charged deep conditioner!
#4. Try the LOC method
This is a moisturizing method that uses three main products: liquid, oil, and cream. The point of using the products in this order is so the hair absorbs and retains moisture. The L or the liquid is a water based leave-in conditioner, one that hydrates and will help with bringing out your natural texture. The O stands for oil, which helps seal the moisture into the hair, and the C stands for cream, which seals the cuticle and holds moisture in place until your next wash. This is a really effective way to test out new products, see which ones work well together, and provide your hair with some intense moisture and hydration.
#5. Stay away from the flat iron
If you can avoid heat styling, do it. It’s easily the most effective way to keep your hair from drying out and becoming brittle and lifeless. Heat damage is some of the most difficult damage to reverse and it’s almost like no amount of heat protectant can save you from split ends. Sure, it can be great every once in a while, but be sure to give your hair some TLC before pressing it between two extremely hot metal plates! This is a good opportunity to explore your natural texture and learn how you can style and protect it without heat. You’re beautiful with any texture, though. I can promise you that!! :)
#6. Explore some protective styles
A great way to keep moisture where it belongs is to protect your hair in protective styles. Hairstyles like braids, Bantu knots, and twists have been part of the natural hair community since well before natural hair became as popular as it is now. These styles are meant to protect the hair from damage, keep it out of the elements as much as possible, and keep moisture locked in place. The result? Soft, shiny, moisturized hair that’s super curly and healthy. Braid outs are my go-to and my hair is long and healthier than it’s been in a while!
This oldie but goodie is perfect for preserving moisture, and gives you a chance to leave your hair alone for a while.
#7. Don’t go outside with damp hair
I’ve heard horror stories of women going outside with wet hair in cold weather and their hair literally breaking off. Let’s just say cold air and wet hair do not mix and it will mess you right up. Cold air takes no prisoners when it comes to sucking the moisture out of things, and that especially includes wet hair. Make sure your hair is completely dry before you go out in the cold. Or, at the very least, keep your hair in a protective style while it’s drying! It may take longer to dry, but your hair will thank you in the long run!
#8. No dye. No bleach.
Stay away from chemical treatments during the colder months. Like cold air, they are moisture suckers! Color treated hair is already weaker than non-color treated hair. Add cold, dry air on top of that and you have yourself a big, brittle problem. Since hair dye and bleach leave the hair cuticle wide open, any moisture applied to the hair will pass right through it. Avoid chemically altering your hair during fall and winter as a precautionary measure. If you already have color treated hair, adopt a moisturizing routine like the LOC method to keep ends from splitting and to reverse any brittleness!
Sometimes having too much of a good thing can do more harm than good. That is, all those creams and butters are good for nothing if you let them build up on your hair and scalp! Product build up can make your hair look and feel super dry because your hair isn’t allowing the products to do their job. The best way to get rid of product buildup is to deep clean the hair and scalp with clarifying shampoo. It’s a special kind of shampoo that rids the hair of dirt, debris, and product buildup without stripping. You don’t have to worry about your hair feeling stringy after a good clarifying wash — that’s not what they’re meant for! Clarifying shampoos work with your hair, rather than against it. This is a sure fire way to get your moisturizing products to work their proper magic again. Try and clarify at least once a month!
#10. Trim those ends
Sometimes our hair actually isn’t even that dry, it just looks that way. Oftentimes, this is due to some serious dead ends. You’d be surprised what a difference a trim will make for the feel and appearance of your hair. Trim your split ends as often as possible and watch your hair grow to some great lengths, while also helping it look and feel much more moisturized.