How to Care for Natural Hair in the Winter, According to Experts

November 20, 2023
Alexis Gaskin
By: Alexis Gaskin | by L'Oréal
A collage of hair care products perfect for executing winter hair tips for natural hair

It’s not just your skin that can suffer in the winter; your hair can take a beating too. For those with curly or textured hair, the effects of the frigid weather can be seen in the form of dehydrated, brittle strands that are prone to breakage. “When the air gets really cold and dry, it can drastically dry out the hair, so it’s crucial to stay on top of your hair-care regimen,” says Daryce Tolliver, a 4C-only hair consultant and owner of A Curl Can Dream Salon in NYC. 

Natural hair requires a dedicated routine regardless of the time of year, but when the temperature drops and the winter season arrives, a more specific regimen is required for curly and coily hair types. Here, discover how to care for natural hair in the winter with insight from experts. 

How to Take Care of Natural Hair in the Winter

“In my professional opinion, switching up your natural hair care routine to products that are more hydrating and moisturizing can be extremely beneficial for us,” says hairstylist and Olaplex global ambassador, Christin Brown. During the cold months, reach for hair treatments that add and keep moisture in your strands to minimize hair breakage and brittle ends.

Use a pre-shampoo treatment like Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre-Poo With Castor Oil for Curly Hair to add moisture to hair before shampooing, which may dehydrate strands. Keep a hair oil like Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment on-hand to refresh your hair with moisture whenever it’s needed. The softening oil adds nutrients to your tresses without a greasy feeling. 

Below, learn more about how to care for your natural hair in the winter with expert-backed tips.

4 Winter Hair Tips for Natural Hair

Don’t Go Out With Wet Hair

“One of the biggest tips for your hair surviving the winter is to not leave the house with wet hair,” says Brown. She continues, “Instead of doing your regular air drying methods, opt for diffusing to completion for the happiest hair results.” Use a regular hair dryer with multiple heat and speed options for a more controlled blow drying session, and always use a diffuser to serve as a barrier between the heat source and your hair. 

This will limit heat damage — along with a heat protectant spray — and help define curls. Brown recommends the DevaFuser for waves to coils that sculpt the head for a more even blow dry without disturbing the natural curl pattern. If you want a more compact option, try the Bellissima Italia Diffon Supreme Ionic XL, which offers a controlled heat source with an included diffuser for a less bulky, more lightweight drying session. 

Keep Silk and Satin On Hand

“Outerwear is usually made from a material that will suck the moisture out of your hair,” says Tolliver. To prevent drying out your hair while staying warm, she recommends lining your hats or any other article of clothing that touches your head with a silk or satin scarf. Don’t forget to always wrap your hair at night to combat frizz from friction against cotton bedding. Use a satin or silk scarf or bonnet to dry hair and keep it secure at night. 

Regularly Deep Condition

In the winter, “deep condition more often and under heat or steam to penetrate the hair strand deeper,” says Tolliver. For her clients, she recommends the 4C ONLY Too Thicke Deep Conditioner. Another option is the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask, which contains monoi oil and hydrolyzed silk to nourish and repair dry, damaged hair. Start by deep conditioning every two weeks and move to a weekly treatment if your hair needs more moisture to drink up. 

Try a Protective Style 

“Low-maintenance protective styles that allow you access to your scalp are a great way to care for your hair during the winter season,” says Tolliver. Try box braids or twists and use a scalp oil treatment like the Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength 7 Oil Blend Scalp & Hair Oil to keep your scalp and hair healthy and moisturized. 

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask

Visual Designer: Juliana Campisi

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