For West Africans (and people who live in the region), Harmattan season can be a welcome change, as the weather gets cooler and we have even more reason to snuggle up in front of the TV and drink endless cups of tea. But it can also wreak havoc (well, kind of) for our skin and hair. Lips crack, skin gets ashy and hair can suffer too, often losing its moisture and shine. However, it’s not all bad news, as there are effective ways to protect your mane from damage.
Celebrity hairstylist, Andre Walker, creator of Andre Walker Hair Classification System, says as black hair is constantly losing the moisture, the key is to keep it moisturised with water, so don’t be afraid to co-wash as often as you would in non-dry weather. Co-washing is the use of only a conditioner, which helps retain moisture and will still leave your hair clean and fresh. A spray bottle should also be kept close in dry times like these. Mix in water, leave-in conditioner and hair oil/moisturiser, and spritz on your hair throughout the day to keep it happy. Don’t forget to deep condition (whether or not it’s Harmattan) every week or so, to help lock in moisture and give your hair strength and shine.
If you have a protective hairstyle on, you’re also on the right track – your hair will be all the better for it. Cornrows, braids and even wigs are great for protecting your hair from over-manipulation and especially helps keep your ends from splitting; just ensure you’re moisturising daily. Also, if you have the option, have your hair regularly steamed. The great news is that you don’t have to cough out loads of money for a fancy salon treatment; you can do it at home (some helpful resources). Not only will a DIY steam hydrate your hair and scalp, it also encourages the circulation of blood, promoting hair growth.
It’s also extremely useful to increase your water intake during this season – protective hairstyle or not. The weather can leave you feeling thirsty very often and nursing a dry throat, but instead of opting for a soft drink, the recommended 8 glasses of water a day will keep you hair, skin and nails looking and feeling healthy. Naturally, eating the right sorts of things (think more spinach and apples, less leftover Christmas cake and croissants) will give your body the nutrients it needs to keep your hair healthy.