How's everyone doing? I got asked to treat the topic of hair and protecting it during the harmattan season and I jumped at it as I was already thinking of doing a post on the topic.
So in the West there are 4 main seasons; winter, spring, summer and fall. In West Africa there are however just 2 main seasons, the rainy season and the dry/harmattan season- when the Northeast trade wind blows from the Sahara into the Gulf. This season starts at the end of November through Mid- March..
So right now we are very much in the harmattan season, during this season, our hair and skin get a hard hard hit!! Lips will start drying up and if care is not taken, cracks will form and even sores for those really badly hit, your skin will be ashy and dry and for those with dry skin, scaly and itchy. In the same breath, your hair cannot get too moisturized in this season. If not attended to, your hair will break at the slightest touch, your split ends will multiply and your edges can disappear!!
When I started to notice these changes I went into combat mode and I have been fighting harmattan hair ever since and plan to come out on top. In this post, I will share a few things I am doing- nothing beyond the usual but its the intensity, frequency and consistency which I have focused on to make me come out on top at the end of March!
Strategy 1; My focus is Moisture over Protein! As I stated earlier, your hair cannot be ''too moisturized'' in this season!! You think you are going to get away with just 2 pea sized pumps of hair moisturizer and a dime size of oil to seal in the moisture? No Ma'am :) You will need to increase the amount of moisturizing and sealing sessions in A DAY to get past this dry season successfully!!
I'm sure ladies that are busy working are giving me the side eye-LOL! You see I'm just being real, moisturizing and sealing your hair has to now be 3 to 4 times a day, if you are busy then the perfect solution to this is to make a moisturizing/sealing hair spritz- mix your favorite moisturizing (especially the thick ones- you don't want heavy products weighing your hair down since you will be using them quite often), mix in some light weight oil(olive, jojoba, sweet almond, grape seed) and if you want even extra moisture, mix in a conditioner or leave in conditioner and lastly a small amount of water- Have the spritz bottle with you in your bag, after a few hours in the day, check to feel if your hair is dry- ALWAYS CHECK FIRST ( Let your hair speak to you is what I always say) If it feels like you haven't applied anything on your hair all day- which is most likely how it will feel because of Mr. Harmattan, then shake your spritz to ensure its mixed well and spritz all over your hair from root to tip, spritz the mix until you have coated every strand without it being soaking, dripping wet! The trick is spritzing your hair from a distance, so the spritz lands on the hair like mist rather than massive rain drops :)
For us non weave wearers, the work is more...doing deep conditioning moisturizing treatments is now TWICE A WEEK for me! But again its because of the texture and length of my hair, if you have studied your hair enough you will know how often it needs deep conditioning but generally once a week in this season is advised. Another way I am adding moisture to my hair is co-washing( especially when I do not have time to deep condition- I simply douse my hair with conditioner for a few minutes in the shower, put hair in a shower/cholesterol cap and rinse out just before I get dressed. Co-washing I like to do at least once a week so that's 2 conditioning processes in a week usually on Fridays into Saturdays( overnight deep conditioning) Wednesday (co-washing) and then repeat the process of deep conditioning on Friday into Saturday. If my hair is feeling really dry, Monday I will do a co-wash too. And the cycle continues.
Today when I was done with the deep conditioning process my hair was sooo grateful!!
I could see the shine...Now as for protein, I will be doing that once a month so out of 4 weekends in a month, 3 weekends will be for moisture and 1 for protein, that's what I feel my hair needs (my post partum shedding has stopped, YAYYY) , the way your hair feels, sheds, breaks will let you know how much protein it needs but generally, 2 protein treatments in a month is just right.
That's that for treatments, let move on to styling...You cannot over manipulate your hair in this season. Your hair will not have any of that especially your ends, so you just have to find creative ways to style your hair that will not involve too much combing, brushing or tugging and for me that style is a meeeeannnn twist out or braid out- I like to incorporate a non-alcoholic hair gel for a more solid hold like the Ecostyler gels. With twists-outs I find that running my hand through my hair is impossible and combing it takes out the waves so I just keep my hand out of my hair, I can pack the twist out up, to the side, re-braid it, do whatever but if my hair was straight, I'd be brushing and combing to put every strand in place. Now that's my go to protective style, there are other styles you can explore, like buns, chignons, big braids, clip in extensions etc. I am compiling looks for my look book soon, stay tuned...
Finally during the harmattan season pay even extra attention to the very tips of your hair. You will need to coat them with a vitamin E and B packed oil like Argan and castor oil, just before you go to sleep(your hair regenerates while you are sleeping) coat your very ends, I'm talking the last 2 inches of your hair with a small amount of oil, its the extra TLC those ends need to stop them from splitting any further, it will derive the same effect as applying a lip balm on your lips before you sleep to prevent cracked lips. You can use the oil on your edges as well if your hairline is receding and of course further protect the whole hair and preserve the oils/shine with a satin bonnet/sleep cap.
With these tips my dear friends, we can overcome this dry, stiff aired hamarttan season that is upon us!! In other news, the demand has arisen and I have succumbed but not fully...well, I am opening a flagship store for my Savvy & Chic Hair Beauty Hub;
and I have decided to create a little appointment only salon area in there! Appointment only because I want to ensure that I am actively involved, it will be the salon day out experience all over again---with consultation, I will help guide ladies, put them on a regimen, recommend products and all this I will do in front of the stylist I will choose to train. Hopefully, I can find someone not set in her ways, willing to learn the new way of doing Naija hair. I will give this my best shot and with your support ladies, I am praying its a decision that I will be proud of... more updates will come on this project, there's a lot of work to do because I am scheduled to launch this space next month so its crunch time, heads down...can't wait to show you all the finished product...
Thanks for all your support!!Feel free to let us know if you have any harmattan combating tricks...