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Winter Hair Care Tips for African American Hair from SheaMoisture

Winter can be harsh on your hair.  But African-American women with natural hair have an added challenge to keep our hair moisturized and protected from the elements. To find out what we can do to keep our hair healthy this holiday season and beyond, Everything She Wants stopped by SheaMoisture's pop-up store at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park (open through January 6, 2013).

SheMoisture's pop-up shop at Bryant Park.
We picked up a few fab and fragrant bath and body products like the new Olive and Green Tea line (on sale 3 for $25 or 3 soaps for $10), and chatted with natural hair guru Diane Bailey.

Here are Bailey's tips for "winterizing" your natural tresses:

Moisture is key. "Curly kinky hair thrives on moisture," says the Brooklyn hair stylist.  To keep your hair pliable and spongy, she says SheaMoisture has wonderful, interchangeable systems.  So you can layer different products.

Bailey's picks: Use the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner as a daily, leave-in conditioner. Then seal in the conditioner with the Organic Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Elixir.  The Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Style Conditioning Milk is also good for daily use.  And every 2-3 weeks, give yourself a deep treatment like the Yucca & Baobab Anti-Breakage Masque.  Add a little olive oil to the masque and leave it in for a couple hours.

Shampoo less.  "If you shampoo your hair too much, it changes the alkaline balance," says Bailey.  To keep hair moisturized during the winter months, co-wash (cleanse hair with a moisturizing conditioner) once a week or every other week, and shampoo once a month.
Me with natural hair expert Diane Bailey.

Avoid heat. Bailey pointed out one of the probable causes for our recent bout of hair loss. "Don't ever flat iron natural hair with a tight coil pattern," she warns. "You want hair to have resilience.  Limp hair is no good for curly, coily hair. You know [hair is healthy] when it has a little fight to it."

Wear a protective style. Twist extensions or braids (not too tight, though) are good styles to protect your hair during the winter. Bailey says SheaMoisture's conditioners and deep treatment masques can be used while you wear extensions.

Feed your hair from the inside out. Factors like age, chemical damage, tight hairstyling and stress can affect your hair.  So Bailey recommends you treat your hair from the inside out.  To de-stress, get enough rest, hang out with friends and try meditation and yoga.  Topically, apply a mix of coconut oil, olive oil and cayenne pepper to stimulate the scalp and hair follicles.  To feed your hair internally, take vitamins A, D and E, B-Complex, Biotin and Niacin.

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