Ah winter, the chill of the air and the blustery winds can really take a toll on your skin and hair. Sucking moisture from your skin, winter weather leaves cracks and flakes that you may not know what to do with. Not to mention the fact that dry skin can be very irritating and sometimes painful. Have you ever had cracks in your hands? If so, you know how debilitating even a small split can be.
Do you, like millions of other winter-stricken people, reach for something found at your local drugstore to remedy the situation? If so, you may be doing more harm than good. Many of these lotions and potions contain agents that actually cause your skin and hair to dry out more. Not to mention the fact that they may also contain chemicals that are dangerous to your health.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that one out of thirteen women and one out of every twenty-three men are exposed to chemicals that are known or possible carcinogens each day when they use personal care products. Repeated use of these products causes the dangerous chemicals to build up in your system which increases your risk of illness. In addition, a number of perfumes and dyes are used to make your creams and conditioners smell great… good news, not so much – these are often loaded with chemicals as well.
So, what is one to do with their dry and sore skin and flaky hair during the winter months? Thankfully, Mother Nature has an answer, in fact she has several answers. There are a number of safe, non-toxic ways to keep both your skin and hair moist all winter long without exposing yourself to possible carcinogens or drying agents.
Here are just a few really easy winter-fixes that are sure to leave your skin soft and supple and your hair shiny and sleek even in the dead of winter. These gifts from nature infuse moisture, protect from wind and cold temperatures, and can even remedy skin and hair that has been damaged by winter’s chill.
Organic Coconut Oil
A tropical wonder? You bet, this all natural oil is loaded with health promoting benefits that can feed your skin and hair. For centuries, men and women in the tropics have used this oil to keep their skin and hair looking great. Hmm… you might say, but there is no winter in the tropics. While this may be true, we do know that the properties of this oil are intensely moisturizing mostly due to its high lauric acid content. Lauric acid is found in breast milk and contains antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties that can set to work to heal irritated, inflamed and sore skin and restore luster to dry, damaged hair. Because it is comprised of mostly medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil penetrates hair rapidly and can repair split ends while moisturizing your scalp.
For skin: Use a little coconut daily, under your moisturizer and apply a little at night before bedtime. Don’t forget about your lips and the rest of your body too. If your feet are cracked, put on a thin layer of oil before bedtime and cover with a warm pair of socks.
For hair: To protect and restore your hair, use a moisturizing coconut oil hair mask once a week. Be sure that you have plenty of time for this treatment (the longer you leave the oil in the more effective it will be). An hour or two is usually a good amount of time. You will need a comb, shower cap and two small bowls (one slightly larger than the other), along with coconut oil for this treatment.
First, wash your hair and let it air dry. Scoop a bit of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls. Fill the larger bowl with hot water and place the smaller bowl inside so that the oil will melt. Massage the oil into your hair, paying special attention to your scalp and ends. Comb through your hair and put on the shower cap.
Leave the oil on for at least 45 minutes. After this, remove the cap and wash and condition hair as usual. If you just need a quick fix on the ends of your hair, apply a little coconut oil as needed. Keep in mind that a little oil goes a long way – don’t use too much!
Want to learn more about how you can use coconut oil for gorgeous hair? Including how to use it as a deep conditioner, to promote faster hair growth, to defeat dandruff, to detangle hair and so much more? Read our popular coconut oil hair care guide here: 6 Ways Coconut Oil Can Give You Gorgeous Hair
Also known as alligator pears, avocados are rich in plant fat and antioxidants. Known as humectants, avocados draw water into the skin and can help restore vitality while reducing the appearance of fine lines. Avocados will also help promote healthy circulation and encourage new cell growth. Not only will the nutrients in avocados protect and nourish your hair and scalp, they can also stimulate hair growth.
For skin: Make a moisturizing face mask using avocados and oatmeal that can be used as often as needed. You will need ½ ripe avocado and ½ cup of oatmeal. Cook the oatmeal and mash it up with the avocado. Apply to your skin and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
For hair: Avocado oil works best for dry and damaged hair. The oil contains essential vitamins and minerals such as A, D, E and B6 along with magnesium, folic acid, copper, iron and amino acids that will not only nourish hair but also help repair damage from winter weather. To make an avocado oil treatment, combine 1 tablespoon of avocado oil (available to buy here)with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pot. Heat on low until warm and massage in a circular motion into your hair. Soak a towel in warm water and ring it out. Wrap the towel around your hair tightly, and leave it on for ten minutes. Remove and shampoo and condition as usual.
Want to learn more about the magical benefits of avocado oil? Explore how you can use it for gorgeous skin and hair in our recent article: 10 Reasons You Need A Bottle Of Avocado Oil For Gorgeous Skin & Hair
Raw honey contains over eighty substances that promote health and well being. These include glucose, fructose, B-complex vitamins along with A, C,D, E and K, minerals and trace elements. In addition, raw honey also contains live enzymes and healing hormones. Honey has been used for thousands of years as a beauty and therapeutic aid for healthy skin and hair and contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
For skin: Honey provides a natural protective barrier for wounds so it is especially healing for dry and irritated skin. If your skin is chapped from the wind and cold, a warm honey moisturizer will help speed healing and revitalize your skin at the same time. Simply mix a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of olive oil and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Apply this lotion to dry face, hands etc.. and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Wash off with a warm washcloth and pat dry.
For hair: Dry and damaged hair can be moisturised with honey as it feeds nutrients to hair follicles and attracts moisture. Because honey is so sticky it needs a medium to help it spread. Combine 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons of raw honey and ½ teaspoon of coconut oil to make a nourishing hair mask. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and massage into your scalp. Leave on for about 15 minutes before washing and conditioning as usual.
This winter when your skin and hair have had it, turn to your pantry for some great fixes that will leave you looking and feeling your best!