For people who love the outdoors, every season has something exciting to offer. Whether you are skiing down snowy slopes during the winter or tackling white water rapids in July, it’s important to know how to take care of your natural curly hair. The following tips can help you adjust your hair care practices to accommodate your favorite outdoor activities.
1. Understand Your Hair’s Specific Moisturizing Needs
Knowing how your hair reacts to different environments is the key to maintaining its shine and luster no matter what pastimes you pursue. Spending time outdoors may tempt you to over-cleanse your hair, but this can dry it out, particularly if extra washes are not part of your normal routine. When you go hiking or sailing, try using products that help retain moisture without weighing your hair down. This minor adjustment can decrease the frequency of your washes.
Of course, if you have natural curly hair, you don’t want to skimp on moisture. You understand your hair’s needs better than anyone else, but changes in activity introduce new factors that can affect it, such as sun, wind and humidity. Carry a spray bottle of jojoba, olive or almond oil for on-the-spot fixes while you are out.
2. Adjust Your Hair Care Routine to the Season
The main element you must take into account is humidity. Fortunately, you can use the outdoor air to your advantage. Humectants in products with a honey or glycerin base take moisture from the air to protect your locs. During seasons when you are more active outside, consider leaving heated elements such as hair dryers and irons out of your styling routine since they tend to dry out your hair.
Communing with nature can inspire you to leave your natural curly hair flowing freely. A leave-in conditioner helps protect each strand from UV rays. After you apply the conditioner, detangle it before heading out for the day so that it doesn’t get matted down.
3. Choose a Style Designed To Protect Natural Curly Hair
You may find that your hair fares better in a protective style, particularly if your outdoor pursuits are especially active. Several different styles can keep your hair in place while you are on the trail:
- Box braids
- Low bun
Each of these styles protects your hair by helping retain moisture. They can also keep you cooler on hot days than leaving your hair down. A low bun can help you smooth your hair for a better helmet fit during activities that require headgear.
4. Take Extra Precautions When Swimming
Water sports require extra care for both your skin and natural curly hair. Before you go water skiing or swimming, lather your skin in a generous amount of waterproof sunblock, and reapply once an hour or as often as needed. To protect your hair, coat it liberally with oil prior to getting in the water. This provides an extra defense against the drying effect of both UV rays and the salt or chlorine in the water.
Even if you take measures to protect your hair before you swim, it is still a good idea to plan your wash time right after your dip in the pool or ocean. If you swim several times a week and want to avoid over-washing your natural curly hair, you can co-wash in between wash times. This process still removes sweat and grime while giving your locs an extra moisture treatment. Consider adding protein treatments to your regimen to replenish lost nutrients and strengthen your hair.
5. Use Hats and Other Accessories Designed for Natural Curly Hair
Not all hats are created equal. Just because it keeps your head warm and protected doesn’t mean that it’s good for your hair. Cotton beanies and caps can leach moisture out of your hair while you are hiking or fishing. A cap with a satin layer protects natural curly hair from the root to the tip by maintaining moisture and reducing frizz and breakage.
It’s a good idea to carry extra scrunchies or hair ties with you when you go on a hike or plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Consider wearing a swim cap during water sports to keep the elements from leaching natural moisture out of your hair. If you plan to wear a helmet, choosing the option that is one size up can help you avoid crushing or breaking your hair. By planning the accessories you need before you go, you can have fun without worrying about the damage you are doing to your locs.
6. Hydrate and Nourish Your Body From the Inside Out
No matter how much moisture you add to the outside of your body, if you are not hydrating properly, your efforts are not going to yield the results you want. You may have heard that you need eight glasses of water a day, which adds up to 64 ounces total. That’s a good start, but if you are outside and active, you must take into account that you are likely sweating a lot, depleting your body of the moisture it needs. Carry a water bottle on the trail to stay well hydrated.
Good nutrition is important all the time, but it is especially vital when you are spending a lot of time outside. The essential foods that help you build and maintain muscle are also great for fighting the effects of dryness. When you increase the time you spend engaging in outdoor activities, focus your diet on specific nutrients that keep your skin and natural curly hair from becoming parched:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
Every season brings its own type of adventure. If you love the outdoors, you probably have your favorite pastimes that you look forward to the rest of the year. Activities such as hiking, fishing, swimming, skiing and rafting let you fully engage with nature, but they can wreak havoc on your natural curly hair if you’re not careful. The experts at Beautifully Warm can help you pick out the right cap or hat for your specific needs. By following their advice and these tips, you can have fun and soak up fresh air and sunshine without concerns about how it’s affecting your hair.