How to master winter skin and hair care

Nylah Powell | Contributing Writer

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Courtesy of Ayanna Maxwell

Although winter has a lot of great aspects, such as hot chocolate and marshmallows, it also comes with negatives, such as frigid temperatures that can damage your hair and skin.

Skin can become dry, flaky and cracked, which can cause pain or irritation to the body.

Factors such as indoor heat exposure and extreme winds make the skin even drier. Below are a few simple steps to combat damage to your hair and skin in the winter.

First, stay hydrated. We tend to turn to drinks such as coffee or tea to stay warm, but remember, hydration stems from within. Start by drinking an extra glass of water than you normally would in other seasons. Also, avoid hot showers in the winter. Taking hot showers causes the water to evaporate quickly, leaving the skin exposed to air if it’s not immediately moisturized. This air exposure may result in eczema, or “winter’s itch.” Hot showers always feel great in the winter, but instead, wash in lukewarm water to maintain natural oils in the skin.

It’s important that you don’t wash your hair every day. The more you wash your hair, the more oil it will overproduce. Some shampoos may also strip the natural oils from your scalp and leave it feeling dry.

“I wash my hair once every two weeks because shampoo tends to dry my hair out,” freshman Kyndall Garlington said.

It takes time for your hair to adjust to new routines, but eventually it will produce less oil, won’t leave the scalp feeling greasy and will leave your hair feeling and looking healthier.

Avoid using blow dryers and flat irons during the winter season. If your hair is heat damaged, try applying a leave-in conditioner to the affected strands of hair. Leave-in conditioner protects against further heat damage and also adds moisture to the hair to combat static.

“The winter months can be very cold and harsh to our hair, and we want to make sure we are giving our hair the proper nutrients,” Hampton student and beauty influencer Nia Imani said.

Moisturizing your skin and hair is just as crucial as keeping them hydrated.

After you wash, immediately moisturize your skin. Applying a moisturizer directly to damp skin helps seal the moisture into your skin.

Not all moisturizers are beneficial; it’s important to choose the right kind for the winter.

Rather than selecting a water-based moisturizer, use an oil-based one. It’s more likely that your skin will hold its moisture with this type of solution. The driest areas of our body, including our hands, elbows, knees and feet, require deep moisturizing. Lather on a thick oil-based lotion at night to seal in moisture while you sleep.

Protecting your skin and hair is the last, most crucial part of taking care of your hair and skin in the winter.

“I wash my face with hot water and rub tea tree oil on my face to keep my pores clean and skin soft,” Garlington said.

While most people think sunscreen is only for summer, this is false. Sunscreen is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Winter sun can be just as harmful as summer sun, so make sure to apply sunscreen when you go outside. Additionally, keep gloves and scarves handy to protect your skin from harsh winds, rain and snow.

Invest in a silk or satin pillowcase to sleep on in order to protect your hair. While cotton pillows absorb moisture, silk and satin retain moisture. This allows your hair to stay strong and healthy versus weak and dry. An alternative to the satin pillowcase is the silk cap or bonnet, which will benefit your hair in the same ways as the pillowcase.

There are several ways to keep your hair and skin glowing throughout the winter. As long as you master the steps to hydrate, moisturize and protect your body, you will make it through the winter comfortably.

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