Tweaking Your Regimen For The Harmattan Season

As promised, here are more details on the information I shared on the the Tweet chat so it's in one detailed post for easy reference.

We all know that in the drier months, our skin, lips and hair get all dry, crackly and annoying. As someone who already has a dry skin condition, trust me these dry months are very very annoying but thankfully I've figured out ways to combat the dryness. I'll be sharing some of my tips for skin and haircare and hopefully, they'll help someone out there!


First things first, eliminate all shower gels and cleansers that contain soap - Just like our hair, our skin has its natural oil secreted by its sebaceous glands and using cleansers with harsh detergents, strip our skin, leaving it drier than normal. The best thing to switch to will be soap free cleansers with conditioning agents and good examples are:

1. Dove Body washes and soap bars

2. Sebamed Cleansing bars ( I really like Sebamed as they have a healthy skin pH value of 5.5)

3. Eucerin Calming Body Wash

4.  Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash

5. Pears Body washes and cleansing Bars

Unlike traditional soaps these washes/cleansing bars won't 'foam' as much - it doesn't mean they're not cleaning your skin, just that they're doing it in a more gentle manner.

Growing up, I would use vaseline - sorry, I would SMEAR vaseline all over my self, only to find myself scratching, and my body dustier than normal. Vaseline, will clog pores and if you have sensitive skin like me, that's a big no-no.
Whipped Shea Butter

Using natural butters are a safer alternative - Shea butter is my favorite and the great thing about shea butter is it doesn't leave a greasy feel as its quickly absorbed into your skin. A number of people have a phobia for using shea butter on their skin saying it makes them darker - I'm not sure how that works for them because that's what I use and I've actually found darker patches on my feet and legs have evened out over the last year and look lighter! In any case, you could apply a few drops of shea oil or coconut oil to your regular lotion for added moisture.


Moisture! Moisture! Moisture! That is the buzz word for 'harmattanizing' your hair regimen.

1. More Co washing and less shampooing - this will help moisture levels in the hair, preventing the hair from being stripped (even sulfate free shampoos can be stripping to an extent)

2. Change your sealant to a heavier oil or a butter (Shea, Mango or avocado butter) Castor oil particularly when used on the ends of the hair, will create a great barrier, preventing moisture from evaporating from the hair shaft, preventing split ends and breakage caused by dryness. Furthermore, its rich nutrient contents (Omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin e, etc)  help heal and condition hair. It's thick viscosity may make it too heavy for some, so all you need to do is mix it with a little jojoba oil.

3. Increase your deep conditioning treatments: This is no time to skip your weekly Deep Conditioning treatments! For added conditioning benefits, after applying your treatment, sit under a steamer for 30 mins so the heat lifts the cuticles, allowing the conditioning goodness to penetrate through, further conditioning your hair with the moist heat.

4. Incorporate Oil Rinses: I spoke about this a few posts ago - oil rinses increase shine, enhance moisture retention and prevent dryness and breakage. Read the post here

5. Hot Oil Treatments: Hot oil treatments reduce knotting and frizzing while increasing shine and softness. Heat up some oil by placing it in a container/applicator bottle and then immersing that in hot water until the oil heats up. Section your hair into as many workable sections as you can manage and apply to the scalp and the hair from root to tip. Cover with a plastic cap for about 30 minutes and then proceed to shampoo and condition as normal.

6. Treat your ends like they're royalty - give them as much attention and extra product as they can get. They're the oldest part of your hair and thus the driest and  most fragile. When applying products, make sure you apply a little more to your ends - this goes for deep conditioner, oils, and moiturizers.

7. Protective Styling: Styles that keep your hair hidden away from the elements will come in very handy right now. In order for your hair to benefit from Protective Styling, cleanse and deep condition your hair at least a couple of days before and ensure your hair is properly moisturized and sealed prior to having your style installed. Also when you have your style in, don't forget to keep moisturizing your hair by spritzing something moisturizing on it.
Braids are a great protective style

8. Lay off the Humectants: Humectants like honey and vegetable glycerine help to draw moisture from areas of concentrated moisture into areas that lack moisture. This is all fine and dandy if your humectant is drawing moisture from the air into your hair but when the air becomes drier than your hair, then the reverse begins to happen.

9. Don't forget your satin/silk scarves/bonnets: Remember that cotton will absorb moisture from your hair increasing dryness, brittleness and breakage - since our pillowcases are made from cotton the scarves/bonnets will create a smoother barrier against our strands, preventing moisture from being lost. If you can get your hands on a satin pillowcase, even better!

10. Most importantly, don't forget to hydrate internally! Drink lots of water, go easy on stuff that contain refined sugars and be good to yourself.

Till my next post!