As the temperature drops, and our long, sun-filled, beach days are a distant memory, this time of year brings on new challenges that most wavy-curly haired people have to battle.
This season, our biggest concern becomes how to maintain moisture while the air is dry. With a few tweaks, the right products, and a good routine, your hair can survive the long, dark winter season as we count down the days ‘til spring.
1. Deep condition, a lot
This is one of the most important tips. Fortifying your hair with nutrients, moisture, and protein if you are not protein sensitive, helps prevent breakage and brittleness, and it keeps our waves hydrated.
These things are essential to have healthy hair year-round, but in the warmer months, I can get away with deep conditioning less often, usually once a week. However, as it gets colder, I will use a deep conditioner every single wash, usually two to three times a week since my waves are so prone to dryness.
2. Welcome steam into your routine
Steam is essentially moist water, and water gives hair moisture, so this is especially important with the dry, humidity-lacking winter air.
Add steam to a deep conditioner so that it penetrates deeper. Another option is using steam with either a leave-in, or moisturizing cream on second and third day hair, because it will hydrate the hair, while revitalizing droopy waves. Steaming to refresh winter hair may even extend your wash day too.
My pick: Q-Redew Portable Hair Steamer
3. Seal your ends
Some wavies such as myself like to do the LCO Method (leave in, cream, oil) year-round. If you usually do not seal your hair with an oil, this season is an excellent time to start.
By sealing the hair with an oil, you are locking in the moisturizing properties of the conditioner and styling products underneath, as well as keeping out the outside elements, like the dry air, from the environment, or indoor heaters.
4. Temporarily shelve your humectant-filled products
Humectant ingredients including honey, wheat protein, fructose, sorbitol, glycerin and panthenol are great in the summer, and help to moisturize your hair by taking it from air all-around. However, they tend to do the opposite to our natural waves in the wintertime, drawing moisture out from your already dry hair, making it even drier and more prone to breakage, split ends and flyaways.
5. Co-wash, co-wash, co-wash
Even our wavy-curly hair needs as much moisture as possible. Now is the time of year to make the most of your co-wash, AKA cleansing conditioner. Since it contains no sulfates or lathering detergents at all, it helps our hair remain at max hydration levels as it cleanses.
If you do use products with heavy silicones or waxes, shampoo once in a while, but I will still suggest coating the length of your texture with a co-wash first. This way, the shampoo just cleanses the scalp. If you follow the Curly Girl Method or use all-natural products only, using only a co-wash in the colder months should work well.
To sum it up
These are just some tips to help winterize your wavy-curly hair routine during the colder months. If you have any tips of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments!This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.