I woke up to an extremely dry lips and skin today because the “great Harmattan” is still around. To those who are not familiar with the African weather, harmattan is the period of the year (usually between end of November to middle of March) that is characterized by cold, dry and dust-laden wind with wide fluctuations in the ambient temperatures of day and night.
The harmattan season is usually associated with low humidity which simply means there is very little amount of water in the atmosphere compared to other seasons of the year. As a result the weather appears harsh to our Hair and Skin.
Being exposed to the harmattan weather can lead to cold, catarrh, sneezing, cracked lips, cracked soles, dry & dull skin and other health issues. Since this weather can not be avoided if you are in West Africa, the best we can do is take take preventive measures against it.
I cry within whenever this season is about to begin because i know if i slack my hair will be extremely dry, breaking and shedding all the time. Since there is not enough water in the atmosphere natural/relaxed hair left out dries more than it normally would. Washing of hair should be reduced to once or twice a week as washing strips hair of its natural oils and further dries it out. Using a hydrating shampoo and moisturizing conditioner is advised.
After washing and conditioning, do not dry hair out completely to retain some moisture in hair. Having your hair in a protective style is a great way to prevent daily breakages due to combing and dryness.
Ensure you oil your hair everyday with a moisturizing hair cream mixed with natural oils such as coconut oil, olive oil and Shea butter to prevent flaking and split ends.
Scarves and hats should be your bestie this season. They offer protection for your hair and are very fashionable too.
Drinking lots of water will keep your skin hydrated all the time. Avoid scalding hot and long baths because this dries out your skin even further and you can end up with dull, ashy skin. Put drops of natural oils into your water when going to shower to keep your skin fresh.
Eats lots of fruits (oranges, apples, watermelon, pineapple, tomatoes etc) or get some vitamin C tablets from your local pharmacy.
Do not towel your body completely dry after bathing. Applying cream/oil on damp skin helps to retain about 10% moisture which is good for your skin. Also remember to use hand cream during the day and before going to bed at night.
This is not a season for light clothes, therefore, full and cozy clothes should be worn to keep us warm and not overexposed to the atmosphere.
Face and Lips-
Moisturize the face with a rich moisturizer to prevent dryness, extra care should be taken because the face is sensitive and you do not want to irritate it.
Wearing Eyeglasses is essential because they prevent dust from going into our eyes. They don’t have to be tinted, you can opt for clear frames.
Having dry and cracked lips are not attractive at all, so invest in a good lip balm. Shea butter based lip balms are good for the lips. This routine should be done also at night before going to bed.
I personally put coconut oil on my eyelashes and brows to keep them moisturized at night
Polish nails with oil base nail polish to prevent breakage and chipping of the nails. I personally apply green tea tree nourishing pen to keep my nails from drying out.