Winter is with no doubt one of the harshest seasons on your hair. Even thing from your favorite heat tools to warm wool hat can be accomplices in damaging delicate strands. Yes, literally everything that you do can snatch your edges!
“Hair breakage occurs more during the winter months due to the lack of moisture in the air,” explains Unilever partner hairstylist Ursula Stephen, who works with Zendaya, Mary J. Blige, Laverne Cox and Jourdan Dunn. “The cold dry temperatures cause the hair to become dry and brittle, therefore more susceptible to damage.”
According to Pureology, there's a reason why your hair starts to break. "Once it becomes damaged, so do the cysteine bonds that make up the protein. You can find these bonds throughout your hair’s inner cortex layer. Also known as amino acids, cysteine bonds are what help make your hair strong and durable. After the cysteine bonds become compromised, you may find that your hair doesn’t have the same elasticity it once had because it’s more susceptible to breakage."
OK, clearly there's nothing sexy about dry, brittle strands that break off! Like us, we know you are probably tired of hearing that you need to "drink more water" (which, BTW, you do!) We caught up with a few experts to learn their strand-saving techniques to keep your hair looking fleeky this spring and beyond.
1. There’s a BIG Difference Between Shedding And Breakage
“Hair in its natural, highly textured state, is delicate,” explains Dove hair stylist Cynthia Alvarez, who works with Dascha Polanco, Anika Noni Rose, Angie Martinez and Rachel Lindsay. “Each bend or curve along the strand creates a point of potential breakage. The curlier the hair, the more fragile it tends to be.”
“Normal shedding is hair that has naturally shed from the root. Breakage is hair whose root remains in your scalp but the midshaft to end has broken off,” explains Cynthia. “If you’re experiencing hair loss and aren’t sure why, take a look at the strand. If the bulb is attached, then it’s from normal shedding.”
2. Don’t Rush Detangling
“Detangling wet hair can be harmful if it’s not done the right way. For safer measures, you must add a product that makes the detangling process easy like Suave Professionals® Avocado + Olive Oil Smoothing Leave-in Conditioning Cream ($2.94),” explains Ursula. “Continue by sectioning the hair and within those sections, take even smaller sections and comb out thoroughly using a wide tooth comb or paddle brush.”
PRO TIP: “Start from your ends and work your way up,” adds Cynthia. “Your comb will get stuck if you start to detangle from your roots, but your ends are in knots. Patience will get you through this process and save your length as well!”
3. Healthy Hair Starts In The Shower
“The best way to maintain hydration other than drinking water and diet is through the right products,” explains celebrity stylist at Frederic Fekkai Fifth Avenue Salon Hos Hounkpatin, who works with models like Golden Barbie, Winnie Harlow and Grace Mahary.
“You need to be sure you are working conditioning treatments into your care routine. The best thing you can do is to find a great mask – one of my favorites that really works for damaged hair is the new THE ONE BY FREDERIC FEKKAI The Ultimate One Repair Mask ($42).”
4. Give Your Heat Tools A Winter Break
It can be challenging in colder months, but it’s imperative to find alternative styling methods. For example, rollers sets and opting to air dry (versus blow dry) are always a great ideas.
“Any style that requires heat from a styling tool will be damaging — especially sleek, straight styles that require several passes from a flat iron," cautions Cynthia. "Protective styles are the way to go if you’re trying to get your hair in tip top shape." See some of our favorites here — especially if you are transitioning.
Pro Tip: "If you are using hot tools, you need to be using a heat protectant before," explains Hos. "[Other tips to minimize breakage] are not leaving the iron on the hair too long, avoiding putting the blow dryer nozzle directly on hair and using lower heat settings when possible."
5. Literally, Leave Your Hair Alone
“The best way is to avoid excess breakage is to steer clear of hairstyles that require a lot of upkeep,” Ursula reminds us. “Protective styles done correctly are a great alternative. The less the hair is manipulated the better it can flourish.”
6. Check Your Labels
“Products with any form of alcohols, parabens or any type of sulfates will increase breakage," explains Hos. “[Those with] oils and moisturizing agents like shea butter are good for promoting stronger healthier strands.” Ursula also recommends “products that contain protein” to reinforce the hair shaft. One of our editor’s picks is BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask ($36).
7. Skipping Trims Will Backfire
"If you are someone that is concerned with breakage, you should be getting a trim every six weeks to prevent split ends from splitting all the way up the hair shaft," advises Hos. "You need to keep the ends clean and healthy looking – it really does wonders for the overall health of hair."
8. Sleep Like A Princess
“Cotton draws moisture away from your body, so sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase will allow your hair to maintain its moisture through the night,” Cynthia advises. “Colder air tends to be drier, making your skin and hair feel super dry. Put moisture back in the air by using a humidifier at night."
So, BET Beauties will be putting any of these expert tips into practice? Let us know in the comments below.
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