If you live in a seasonal climate, you may be interested in knowing how to care for your natural hair in the winter. Nurturing your hair during this harsh time can make a big difference if you consider that cold weather lasts at least three months of the year.
Some places even experience chilly weather for six months, meaning that you’ll need a particular routine for half of the year.
Growing natural hair in the winter and retaining length is frustrating if you don’t stick to a cold-weather routine. In this article, I’ll discuss how winter affects the hair and provide some helpful things you can do to take care of your natural tresses.
Natural Hair and Cold Weather
Have you ever noticed that your hair behaves much better in the springtime or when the weather is warm?
Natural oils seem to flow better, your hair feels softer, and maybe your locks look shinier. If you suspect it has something to do with the climate, you’re probably right.
If you’re in a winter climate, you might notice that your hair is drier on some days more than others. Rain and snow help to provide moisture during the colder months. Cold days with no rain or snow is when you may experience the most natural hair winter dryness.
You may have more tangles, brittleness, and damage throughout the entire winter, but some days will be extra dry. On these winter days when there’s less humidity and precipitation, you’ll want to be the most diligent about protecting your hair.
Rain is not so bad for natural hair because it gives hydration, but the wind can quickly cause single-strand knots, brittleness, and dry tangles.
Curious about how to keep natural hair straight in the winter? Cover it with a scarf or hat, and an umbrella to keep it out of the rain. You can also stretch your hair and place it under a satin bonnet each night. Braiding your hair nightly or bunning with my Butta Butta Cream will help to keep it less frizzy and moisturized the next day.
If you’re wondering how to protect relaxed hair in the winter, you can do most things that naturals do, but you should also keep it shielded from the rain with a hat and umbrella.
How to Care for Natural Hair in the Winter
Here are a few of the best ways to care for your hair in the winter:
- Wear a Hat. Hats for natural hair in winter are cute, they protect your kinks, and they can be worn over styles like twists to look acceptable to the public eye. Check out this satin lined beanie. Look for soft hats that contain satin or silk underneath. Soft linings will help to guard against hat friction.
- Wrap Hair in a Scarf. Scarves are almost always protective, but be sure to choose silk or a soft synthetic material. They are one of the best natural hair winter accessories and every curly queen needs at least one. They serve well to protect, and they look great on natural hair.
- You probably already know that moisture is a huge deal when you’re natural. It’s even more true for winter months because hydrating and moisturizing will help to protect curls from harsh elements.
- Protective Styling. Wearing your hair in twists or braids will keep it organized so that it is not blowing in the wind or completely exposed. You may want to wait to do wash and goes until winter is over. Wearing your hair loose or down gives it more opportunity to tangle.
You might ask, how often should I wash my natural hair in the winter? You may find that you don’t need shampoo as often in the winter since you sweat less, but aim to wash your hair when it needs it.
Maybe you feel your scalp starting to itch, or your strands showing signs of product buildup, and it prompts you to wash your mane.
How to Protect Natural Hair in the Winter
Layering products are one of the best ways to protect natural hair in the winter. Techniques like the LOC method work well because you’re layering one beneficial element after the other. I always recommend using Butta Butta Butta Cream as the oil within the LOC method as the main ingredient is shea butter and will guard against potential the outside elements and will seal in the moisture you are adding to your hair.
It’s always good to place a hydration element on your hair first. Begin with either water from your shower on wash day or a water-based hydrating product. Aloe vera, detanglers, and leave-in conditioners work well in this first step too.
Adding additional winter products for natural hair will help to cut frizz and will work to protect the hair further. You can use a heavy curling or smoothing cream for this last layer, or you can try a lighter leave-in conditioner.
In addition to layering products, try protective styling. Twists, braids, bantu knots, and updos will all work to partially cover strands so that they’re not fully exposed to the wind and cold.
Protective styles will also help to keep hair in place and untangled. You’ll have further coverage if you wear a hat or scarf over the protective style.
What to do About Natural Hair Winter Breakage
Breakage can happen very quickly in the winter. It’s because of many reasons. For one, the cause can be dry hair which causes breakage.
The wind can also cause breakage. Wind makes hair more active than usual and can make the coily strands cling to each other.
Keeping the strands lubricated with oils like Butta Butta Cream, and heavy cream moisturizer. You’ll be able to pull the ends apart easier without breakage.
Styling Natural Hair in the Winter
The best winter hairstyles for natural hair are protective. They include twists, braids, bantu knots, and updos. Aim to keep your hair in one of these styles for most of the winter and to reserve other styling for special occasions.
Even wearing a cute high puff may seem okay, but the wind can cause tangling and eventual breakage. If you want to retain your length during the colder months, keep your hair guarded in the protective style for most of the week.
Using heated styling products in the winter can cause the hair to become even more unhealthy and damaged. Minimize heat and chemical usage during the colder months, and opt for stretching methods instead.
Stretching is good for natural hair because it improves manageability and prevents tangles. Banding, twists, and braids all help to keep hair stretched and untangled.
Moisturizing Natural Hair in Winter
Your hair will benefit from a weekly deep condition. You can either make a conditioning mask in your kitchen from scratch, or you can add helpful ingredients to a store-bought deep conditioner.
Avocado, coconut, jojoba, peppermint, and eucalyptus will all help to improve the quality and effectiveness of your deep conditioner.
Honey and vegetable glycerin for natural hair in the winter will draw in moisture to your strands. These two ingredients act as humectants, so they’re beneficial on days when your city’s climate is extra cold and dry.
Always pair honey and glycerin with water or aloe vera. Most deep conditioners contain water or aloe as their first ingredient, so it will be fine to add it to the mixture.
Be sure to hydrate with water or a water-based product before using any oils. Using an oil before water could give you an unwanted dry, yet greasy effect.
Avocado, coconut, and olive are excellent oils for penetrating the hair shaft and providing nutrients to your hair, but be sure to hydrate with water first.
Does natural hair shed more in the winter? It can if your scalp is dry. Just as your complexion can lose moisture in the winter, so can the scalp. Follicle care is essential during this time. Use healing oils like Black Jamaican castor oil, peppermint, and eucalyptus to nurture your follicles.
Winter Care for 4c Hair
A strict natural hair care regimen is crucial during this season, and you’ll probably need to set aside more time than usual for your hair.
You might try doing deep conditions more often and making sure you do the LOC method on wash day and during the week as a refresher.
Do your favorite natural hair protective styles for winter and keep the curls guarded with hats and scarves. Protecting the curls and keeping your hair in an organized state will make washing natural hair in the winter easier and quicker.
If you take excellent care of your curls with moisturizing and protective methods, you’ll have a gorgeous, longer mane by the time spring arrives. Then you’ll be able to show off your lustrous, healthy curls in a high puff or wash and go.
What about you? How do you care for your natural hair in the winter?
By: Patrina Haupt
Hey Curl Friend, I’m Patrina Haupt the creator and author of Natural Hair Queen. I hope you find my healthy hair care tips helpful in your hair journey. Healthy hair care practices are definitely, what helped me to achieve waist length hair.