Image by Lynne Harty
Ah, winter. The season is officially upon us, with its massive snow storms (more on the way, Northeasterners!!!) creating icy fingers and toes and the need for multiple layers of clothing. And while it is a season filled with joy (it is, after all, the time of holiday celebrations, sledding and hot chocolate), it is also the season that presents some of the greatest challenges to one’s appearance. From parched skin to chapped lips, winter shows no mercy on our countenances.
I’ve found a number of solutions over the years for combating the mercury-dipping ravages to my face, hands and body. Where I often find the greatest challenge, though, is with my hair. Winter is just plain rough on hair. The lack of humidity in the air dries out tresses and scalps alike, leaving us itchy, flaky, frizzy and crunchy. And so, today’s Small Measures focuses on whipping up some homemade winter hair-care remedies. Most of the ingredients needed for making these products are already hanging around your kitchen. If not, a quick trip to the grocery store is all that’s required. Why spend your precious, hard-earned dollars on costly hair-care products and treatments when you can frugally whip up your own healthy, homemade concoctions?
The first recipe is included (reprinted here with permission from Lark Crafts) in my forthcoming book, Homemade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English. What the what? Dairy products in your hair? That’s right, folks! Dairy products are great for use in home body-care regimens. Lactic acid, coupled with beneficial vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fats and proteins, works wonders on your hair, scalp and beyond. You’ll also find a recipe for creating your own Rosemary Hot Oil treatment. Rosemary has a reputation for stimulating hair follicle growth, as well as treating flaky scalps. For those of you interested in rosemary’s hair benefits but unable/unwilling to make up your own home brew, I’ve long found Weleda’s offering to be just as good. — Ashley
CLICK HERE for the rest of the post and Ashley’s homemade hair mask after the jump!
Winter’s Grasp Dry Scalp Mask
- 1 avocado, pitted and mashed
- 4 tbsp. whole-milk sour cream
- 3 tsp. extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
2. Wet hair and apply mixture. Massage into scalp, and rub through with fingers to tips. Run a fine-toothed comb through your hair to evenly distribute the mixture.
3. Place either a plastic shower cap or towel on your head; leave conditioner on for 20 minutes. The heat created by covering the head allows the mixture to more fully penetrate the scalp and hair.
4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Shampoo and style as usual.
Rosemary Hot Oil Treatment
- 1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves (you will only need the needles, not the stems)
- 2/3 cup carrier oil of choice (can be olive, almond, grape seed or apricot kernel oil)
1. Fill a small pot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring just to the boiling point over medium-high heat.
2. Place rosemary needles and oils in a glass heatproof jar or a glass measuring cup with a spout. Put the jar into the pot (the water should come about mid-way up the jar; alternately, you can warm the oil and needles in a double boiler).
3. Heat until the oil and needles are warm. Remove from heat, strain off needles, and allow oil to cool slightly.
4. Apply the oil to dry hair. Massage into scalp. Comb hair from scalp to ends to coat evenly.
5. Put either a plastic bag or shower cap over your hair. Cover with a bath towel.
6. Leave the treatment on for at least one hour or even overnight.
7. Shampoo the oil out. You may need to shampoo twice to thoroughly remove.
8. Style as usual.
There are also a number of good hair-care habits to employ over the next few months that will aid in taming your tresses. I utilize them regularly all winter long and can completely vouch for their efficacy.
Winter Hair Care Habits
1. Always wear a hat or similar hair covering whenever you venture outdoors.
2. Wash your hair every other day or every few days (if you’re not the oily type) but condition regularly. I typically wash my hair twice weekly during winter months but condition every other day (my hair stylist taught me this trick).
3. Minimize your use of hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners and other heat-inducing tools as much as possible. I try to give myself enough time for my hair to dry naturally before heading outdoors. Of course, some mornings I’ve just got to use the hair dryer, which is why tip #2 is so important.
4. Avoid using extremely hot water on your hair. If you like your showers super warm, simply adjust the setting to a cooler temperature when washing and rinsing hair, and then bring it back up a higher heat when done with your hair care.
5. Give your hair a mask or hot-oil treatment, like those above, once weekly.
What about you? Got any go-to tips for loving your locks all winter long? I’d love to hear about them!