The only thing I despise more than the brutal winter cold itself is the effect it has on my naturally curly hair. Every fall I experience the very same hair woes. My rizos are bouncy, voluminous, and full of incredible definition during the summer months only to get flat, dull, lifeless, and in some cases even less curly-looking, once the temperature starts to drop. It’s frustrating, to say the least, which is why I’m already prepping my hair for colder weather and dryer air now before November comes rolling around. So before you decide to cave in, grab the blow dryer, and just wear your curls straight all winter, here’s a look at a few things you can do to step up your curly hair routine when it’s cold and miserable outside.
But first, moisture
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Anyone with textured hair — regardless of if you have loose curls or 4C coils — knows that curly hair tends to naturally be on the drier side and that’s because the tighter your curl are the longer it takes for your natural oils to travel down from your scalp to your ends. It’s just straight-up science! Add cold winter weather to this and expect even more dryness along with knots and tangles. To retain moisture during this season, you definitely want to make sure you’re deep conditioning once a week — at minimum. Look for a hair mask that’s going to give hair extreme hydration and nourishment like, Honey Baby Naturals Honey & Ginseng Energizing Hair Mask ($11). It’s formulated with ginseng extract and mango butter that leaves curls silky soft.
Extra TLC is crucial if you have color-treated hair.
Even if you don’t bleach your hair, permeant color alone can leave curls drier and even loosen your pattern, which is why it’s even more important for curly girls with color-treated hair to load up on moisture and strengthening treatments. “When making the hair lighter, even [with] a small amount, there is still a light risk to the hair shaft. However, it is normally only in the case of someone who seldom gets haircuts or has previous heat or chemical damage. If you are someone who gets two or more haircuts a year and has no previous chemical or color damage, the risk of you seeing a change in your curl pattern is very low,” says Devachan Salon Hair Colorist, Nicolle Lemonds, who recently did my pintura highlights. She recommends doing regular weekly or bi-weekly conditioning masks, as well as, incorporating protein treatments into your routine. “Protein and moisture treatments should be used together to avoid overdoing protein treatments. Keep protein treatments to once or twice a month and alternate with moisture treatments in between.” I love using the Botanika Beauty The Mender Protein Treatment ($12) one to two times a month. It’s inspired by the Dominican hair secrets of our ancestors, formulated with ingredients like egg protein and oregano that work to instantly strengthen hair. After shampooing, I apply The Mender to damp hair and saturate the hair from root to ends, leaving it on for 15 minutes before rinsing out with warm water. Then I follow it up by applying the Botanika Beauty Revitalizer Deep Conditioning Mask ($12) that’s formulated with garlic, avocado, and mango butter to intensely hydrate, restore, and repair dry/damaged hair. I leave it on for 30 minutes with a plastic shower cap before rinsing out.
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After getting my pintura highlights done, Lemonds recommended I use Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector ($28) which strengthened my hair and instantly restored definition and bounce to my curls after just ONE use! Apparently, it’s also great for curly girls who occasionally straighten their hair because it features bond-building technology that works to relink the broken disulfide bonds caused by chemical or heat damage to the hair. Unlike protein treatments, you can use this one up to three times a week!
Get yourself a good detangling conditioner.
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Cold and dry weather often results in even more knots and tangles than usual. This is especially the case if you color-treat your curls. I’ve noticed my detangling time had increased since getting my pintura highlights but I was able to cut it back down after incorporating a good detangling product along with Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush ($16) into my routine. “To prevent unwanted breakage, it’s very important to detangle each wash cycle, and the best time to detangle hair is when it’s wet,” says the founder of Honey Baby Naturals, Aisha Ceballos-Crump. “After you’ve washed your hair and conditioned it, use good tools, and section your hair for easy and effective detangling. Remember to gently detangle the hair from the bottom and work your way up. Not only will you prevent breakage but you will save a ton of time styling your hair.” Try Honey Baby Naturals Knot My Honey Instant Detangler ($11). It gently gets knots out in seconds.
Prioritize your scalp health.
Because our ends are what experience obvious dryness and damage, it’s easy to forget about our scalp. But in order to have healthy hair, you have to have a healthy scalp. Co-washing is great for keeping curls cleansed and also hydrated but you want to make sure you’re lathering up at least bi-weekly to get rid of any access oils, dirt, or product buildup. You can get a guaranteed good wash in with Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo ($20).
Use a good oil treatment.
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To stimulate the scalp and increase hair follicle circulation that promotes healthy hair growth, try the Bomba Curls Dominican Forbidden Oil ($22). It’s infused with pure coffee seeds and castor oil and is a shared generational growth secret from the Dominican Republic that really works!
Get a cut.
If it’s been more than 6 months since you last got a cut or trim, you might want to book an appointment with your stylist ASAP! “Be sure to keep up with trims and freshen up your ends, says Lemonds. “I’d recommend never going longer than six months without a trim because the lighter color can show when your ends are dry.”