The year 2020 has taken us for a wild ride, to put things lightly. And it doesn't seem like the madness is over just yet.
Hair salons were initially shut down in March to stop the spread of COVID-19, but luckily, businesses were able to open back up by early summer with new safety protocols in place. However, as cooler temperatures begin to set in, experts are predicting that coronavirus numbers are likely to surge come winter.
We're not exactly sure what this will all mean for the future of salons and independent braiders just yet, but if you're airing on the side of caution, you may not necessarily feel comfortable taking the risk and booking an appointment.
While protective styles can quite literally protect your delicate curls and coils from breakage and dryness this winter, it's not the only way to ensure your hair will still flourish once spring arrives.
To help guide you through a solid cold weather routine, celebrity hairstylist Kiyah Wright is here to tell you everything you need to know to about guarding your strands from the brisk, dry air — if you choose to skip your winter braiding appointment this year.
What's the Best Way to Avoid Winter Breakage?
Here's the good news: You have more than one option.
If you wear wigs on the regular, don't be afraid to put your natural hair in braids, then secure a wig over top. However, if you prefer to wear your curls out, the key is keep them hydrated and moisturized.
"I love using products that don't compromise on moisture, which is why I'm loving the Gold Series Hydrating Butter Creme," says Wright. "Since most natural hair is porous, this product is great for hydrating your kinks and coils."
To shop: $7; amazon.com
The expert stylist recommends applying it to the hair while it's dry so it can soak up the product's full nourishing benefits.
And of course, if you are going to apply any heat to your hair, always use a heat protectant.
How Can I Avoid Dryness?
Aside from making sure to coat your hair with rich, moisturizing products, you also want to cut down on washing — especially if you regularly use shampoo.
Wright recommends sticking to washing the hair once a week. However, if your hair is feeling dry or brittle, swap out your shampoo for a co-wash. We love Ouidad's Curl Immersion Coconut Cleansing Conditioner-Low Lather.
To shop: $36; ulta.com
If your hair needs a little extra oomph, add a hot oil treatment to your wash day routine. Wright likes Gold Series Intense Hydrating Oil Treatment, which also helps to add shine.
To shop: $8; target.com
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Why didn't I make a hair appointment before all this?
Is There a Way to Protect My Hair from Friction?
In the wintertime, wearing a heavy jacket and scarf isn't really negotiable. But if your delicate curls rub against these fabrics for too long, it can lead to breakage. Good thing there's a hack for that.
″It's important to remember that if you are wearing a wool or knitted hat and scarf, keep the wool off of your edges and hair,″ says Wright. ″The best kind of hat and scarf to wear would be one lined with silk [or satin.]"
Grace Eleyae offers a range of satin-lined accessories to keep your hair protected.
This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.