Thursday, March 12, 2015

Moisturizing and Maintaining My Low Porosity 4C Natural Hair: Dry Climates VS Humid Climates

By J.Naomi Johnson

Traveling between Colorado and Atlanta absolutely has a harsh effect on my Low Porosity 4C hair. Being in Atlanta’s humid climate my hair is low maintenance and does not require much planning as far as how I maintain my kinks. On the opposite spectrum, Colorado’s very dry and my hair requires meticulous planning and strategic styling on my part.

In this blog post I will be discussing what I do to combat environmental changes on my hair when traveling between dry climates and humid climates and why. One thing to consider though before we dive into it is that Colorado is low oxygen and dry with over 300 days of sun shine a year…even when it snows. Georgia is closer to the equator and the Gulf. It has humidity. Although I didn’t find it to be as humid as San Antonio, TX when I visited for two months (on another note I kept my hair in braids the whole time, never washed and used oil and it grew like crazy!) . However, being from Colorado I could feel the humid air all over me especially after it rained those early Georgia mornings.

So with that being said this is what I do with my hair when changing from dry to humid climates.

Things I do when I am up North (Denver, Colorado):

1. Stay away from Aloe Vera and other humectants or products that have it in them! Not just in the winter but all the time. Humectants pull moisture in. In an environment where there is no moisture humectants have an adverse effect on my hair pulling moisture from my hair. I notice when I put Aloe Vera in my hair it moisturized for a second but then dries. I just recently swapped out the Aloe Vera gel I used to style my hair for homemade flaxseed gel.

2. I nightly water wash twice a week and follow with a jojoba oil and butter/cream seal (preferably unrefined raw shea butter, whipped). I know your like no way...multiple washing will dry my hair out! Well, yes… if you’ re using shampoo or any other product in your hair. General water washing is great for my low porosity hair immediately followed by an oil and shea butter seal. I will do this every two days and in between I will substitute the water wash with a water based leave-in conditioner, then the jojoba oil and shea butter seal. Sometimes I switch out my oils for different needs.

3. Once a week I will steam with my favorite conditioner, olive oil and Argan oil (p.s. I always use Argan oil anytime I use heat) to lift the cuticle and deposit moisture and nutrients into the hair shaft. Then I rinse with ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and very cold water. Then I follow with an oil and shea butter to seal.

4. Drink a lot of water!

Things I do when I am down South (Atlanta, GA):

1. Use Humectants! The humidity for my hair is like an ongoing conditioner. Instead of pulling moisture from my hair it pulls it from the environment. I use Aloe Vera so much that I have to buy a half a gallon from the health food store. Other products such as glycerin, and castor oil work great in humid environments. I will put humectants in my daily moisturizing mist and styling products.

2. Use a sulfate free clarifying shampoo to wash my hair. Due to the humidity I sometimes feel like my scalp needs to be cleaned off and an ACV rinse just will not do. So I will wash it every two weeks and follow with a deep conditioning treatment. I really try to only use the shampoo on the scalp so I split my hair into sections and spray the water diluted shampoo on my roots and lightly massage my scalp and then rinse. Then follow with my leave-in conditioner and style.

In both environments I do a protein treatment every three months. I have noticed that in the South I can use coconut oil and get really great results and my hair does not feel like straw after due to protein overload. I know coconut oil is not a protein but it does mimic protein behavior on the hair shaft and because of that causes my hair to feel like straw if I use it in the north. In Atlanta my hair feels amazing and has a great shine with it. In the north I use neem oil for the same results. Go fig?

Another thing I do in both environments is low manipulation. I try to keep a style for as long as I can. Check out the video below for one of the many DIY protective styles I wear.

So that is what I do when I travel from dry to humid climates! Let me know what you think. Did I leave anything out? Did you experience anything different? Let me know in the comments below!

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