When I was in high school, it was a given for me that my skin would start itching like crazy when winter hit. It was a disaster, to the point that I’d have scratch marks by September. When I finally told my mom about it, she replied, matter-of-factly, “Your skin’ll be dry.”Since then I’ve realised the importance of switching up my skin and hair care regimens to prepare for the winter.
Zimbabwe winters are very dry, and the dryness can just dry out your skin, or irritate it to the point of itching, like mine. This is where you need to switch out your water-based lotions to more oil and butter based creams. And this is imperative: Do not let your skin dry before applying your body oil/butter! You need to lock in that moisture so your skin remains supple. Here are a few products to try out:
Vaseline intensive care Cocoa Radiant
Nivea lotions: Nivea has great lotions for dry skin, and it has a nice little guide as to how rich the lotion is. The richer, the better for winter.
Palmer’s products: The cocoa butter and the body oil are amazing for dry skin.
Ingram’s Camphor Creme: For winter, Ingram’s Camphor cream is amazing, and even better when you add an oil or glycerine to it.
Tissue Oil: Any tissue oil will do, and if you’re feeling fancy, Bio-Oil is wonderful.
Most of these lotions are found in any supermarket and pharmacy. To get the most benefit, make sure that shea butter or cocoa butter is one of the first five ingredients…. You can push it to first ten ingredients.
Straight Coconut/olive/sweet almond oil: These are great body oils when it’s cold. You can use them alone, or mix them together, or even with a bit of cocoa/shea/avocado butter.
I got this recipe from missnoirdo for a lovely body oil:
- 100ml Coconut oil (Extra Virgin)
- 100ml Bramley Tissue Oil
- 75ml-100ml Castor Oil
- 50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 50ml Glycerine
DIY butter mixes
Being a naturalista, I’ve learnt the beauty of mixing your own hair products. The other beauty is that some of the hair products can become skin products too. Here’s a recipe for a hair moisturiser that I use for my skin in winter too, that I got from Green Beauty Channel. I tweaked the recipe a bit, but it works great:
¼ cup Shea butter
¼ cup coconut oil (olive oil works just as well)
¼ cup aloe vera gel
1 tbsp glycerine
1tbsp jojoba oil
10 drops each of rosemary and lavender essential oils
Whip till you get a nice creamy mixture, place into a container and use!! It lasts about 8 weeks in room temperature, and 10-12 weeks in the fridge.
I reiterate, for maximum skin moisture, make sure you apply your lotion/oil/butter when skin is still damp. If you’re feeling fancy, you can invest in a little spritz bottle with water, spray your skin, and then apply your product.
I have natural hair, and I know the struggle of transitioning from summer to winter. Especially this summer, when the humidity was so great, and I could go weeks without spritzing my hair, and I’d apply a light oil to my ends, and be on my way. Just like with my skin, I have learnt that I need to adjust my haircare accordingly. So winter, this is where you are allowed to be heavy-handed with heavier products, and deep condition more often. Relaxed and colour treated hair needs to be treated with even greater care, as the chemical alteration to their hair causes their hair to be more porous than natural hair. Do protein treatments more often, and always pre-poo with a penetrating oil (avocado, olive, coconut) before wash day to prevent moisture overload.
Protective styles are also your friend. But make sure you continue to wash and condition your hair .
Another small tip to beat the cold? Don’t wash with cold water. You know those headaches you get when real cold water touches your scalp? Yeah, no one likes that. Stick with lukewarm water for the final rinses, especially when it’s real frosty. It does the trick still.
Where to get some of these products:
Most supermarkets are now stocked with great hair products and deep conditioners. Just look for something that has ingredients you’re comfortable with and is easy on your pocket.
Evenhand Sibanda has two shops, in Harare and Byo. Besides supplying a good amount of shampoos, conditioners and deep conditioners, she also stocks oils and butters, along with essential oils. Get in touch with her and find out what she has. Or visit her Facebook page and see for yourself!
Harare: Shop 2 Linquenda House, between 1st and 2nd street, along N.Mandela
Tel: 792154 0772 389 574
Bulawayo: Office 410, 4th floor Old Mutual Centre, J.Moyo/8th Ave.
Tel: 09-61398 0773 671 827
Ruvarashe Joy Janda has raw shea butter, get in touch with her on 0784 569 979
Grace Mandimika has oils and shea butter, under her brand name, Runakoh.
Grace Fashions: Cubicle 50 Kwame Mall, Harare
Tel: 0782 984 712
Carol Nyazika’s Ndanaka Hair butter has shea, mafura and avocado butters, along with other ingredients that you can check here. It’s found at Kinky Curly Hair Salon.
Fadzayi Chambati has raw, organic shea butter (whipped or unwhipped) as well as African Black soap. Check out her page ZoraNaturals on Facebook or get in touch with her on +27 73 067 9163. She ships to Zimbabwe!
Meikles stores carry AfroBotanicals and The Perfect Hair products.
And there you go!! We will not be ashy or have breaking hair this winter! Let me hear from you, where do you get your products? How are you keeping your skin soft?
Until next time… your Quarter Wife.
*Post updated 4 July, 2017*