14 Ways to Keep Curls Healthy and Bouncy When It’s Really Really Cold Outside

It took me literally years to get my curls back to life after so much heat-styling

curly hair winter

Photo: Unsplash/@von_co

It took me literally years to get my curls back to life after so much heat-styling. I have never felt so comfortable with my hair like I do today and while I genuinely love and embrace it, I’d be lying if I told you I don’t experience my fair share of bad hair days. Having a head full of curly hair definitely takes time, TLC, and good weather. In fact, nothing seems to hate my curls more than winter. My hair is relatively dry, flat, and quite lifeless when the colder temperatures start to hit. Once November rolls around, even detangling becomes a nightmare. But like most of us, I refuse to skip out on holiday socials and go into hiding until spring, just because of my hair. Instead, I’ve gathered a ton of winter hair-care tips to keep my rizos soft, silky, moisturized, healthy, and full of bounce all season long — or at least into 2020. Check them out and thank me later!


Make sure you’re also conditioning while you’re cleansing.

If you haven’t switched to a co-wash, winter is the time to finally do it. While there are plenty of amazing gentle and sulfate-free shampoos that are designed for curls, using a cleansing conditioner come wash day helps to remove access oils, dirt, and product buildup, while also adding moisture to your desperate-for-hydration curls. This smooth no-lather formula leaves hair squeaky clean, silky, and deeply conditioned. You’ll notice an instant difference — guaranteed!

Amika Nice Cream Cleansing Conditioner, $11, loveamika.com


Don’t skip out on weekly hair masks

There’s no better time to be doing weekly deep conditioning treatments than now. In fact, your hair is asking for it. Look for a formula that’s going to hydrate while also strengthening and repairing. I’m personally obsessed with the Botanika Beauty The Revitalizer Deep Conditioning Mask because it’s made with nourishing ingredients like garlic, mango butter, and avocado, which leaves my hair super moisturized after leaving on for just 10 minutes. It also costs less than 20 bucks, which is amazing considering how much you get in this tub!

Botanika Beauty The Revitalizer Deep Conditioning Mask, $12, botanikabeauty.com 


Use a protein treatment

“It truly depends on the condition of your hair but as a rule, I recommend protein treatments every 4-6 weeks,” says Ceballos-Crump. “Protein binds to hair fiber and strengthens cuticles to make them stronger and prevents damage. However, two much protein can have adverse effects causing dryness and breakage.” Look for a one-step, easy-to-use protein treatment that’s designed to restore and revitalize damaged hair and follow with a deeply conditioning treatment.

Botanika Beauty The Mender Protein Treatment, $12, botanikabeauty.com


Invest in a Good Detangler

Cold weather and harsh winds make it easier for curls to get dry, knotted, and tangled. When your regular conditioner just isn’t cutting it, consider adding a detangler to your routine like Rizos Curls Refresh & Detangle Spray, which gets knots out in seconds while also working as a great refresher spray come morning.

Rizos Curls Refresh & Detangle Spray, $16, rizoscurls.com


Get a super hydrating conditioner for the days you don’t have time to deep condition

“Colder temperatures make the air drier, which makes curls dry, brittle, and frizzy and can eventually lead to shedding and breakage,” says Honey Baby Naturals founder and curl expert Aisha Ceballos-Crump. The Puerto Rican business owner was inspired by her own multi-cultural family when she decided to create a naturally curly hairline. Her secret ingredient: honey. “It’s very important to moisturize your curls during the winter months because the dry, cold air stripes the hair from its natural oils. Hydrating products with natural oils not only help to restore moisture but it will help to prevent breakage and promotes hair growth without weighing the hair down.” Try Honey Baby Naturals Honey Sweet Softening Conditioner, which is formulated with real honey, leaving curls silky soft and deeply hydrated.

Honey Baby Naturals Honey Sweet Softening Conditioner, $11, target.com


Incorporate hair oils into your routine

Hair oils help to deeply condition curls especially during the colder, dryer months but not all oils are made equal and not all oils work for all hair types. Try looking for a light-weight oil that’s going to promote a healthy scalp and hydration, without weighing curls down.

Bomba Dominican Forbidden Oil, $18, bombacurls.com


A leave-in conditioner is a must

“Dryness [caused by brutal winter weather] tends to cause the hair to break and shed during the winter months,” says Ceballos-Crump. “Leave-in conditioners are important because they help remove knots and tangles from the hair, as well as, protect the hair from breakage. Look for a formula that’s going to leave curls both hydrated while also boosting volume and definition.

Honey Baby Naturals Wash & Go — All In One Styling Creme, $11, honeybabynaturals.com


Use a hydrating gel

You want to look for a gel that’s going to work to create bounce and definition, eliminate frizz, and hydrate — versus dry out — curls. This formula is infused with flaxseed, olive oil, and shea butter to provide both maximum hold and boost moisture — all without the crunch. The price is a major steal too!

Cantu Moisture Retention Styling Gel, $5, target.com


Or switch to a foam-mousse formula

Formulated with sage, thyme, and tarragon, this light-weight mousse works to enhance curls, providing hold, reducing frizz, and boosting volume, all while keeping curls soft and hydrated. Did I mention my hair air dries faster with this baby?

Botanika Beauty The Enhancer, $11, botanikabeauty.com


Do protective styling

There’s this really cool routine that I created a few years ago called the winter wash and go,” says Carolina Contreras (a.k.a Miss Rizos). “The typical wash and go, you wash your hair, section it, apply your products, and let curls dry and be. The winter wash and go is all those steps but actually twisting the hair in big chunks into two-strand twists. What happens when you do that, the hair drys when you sleep. When you take the twists out in the morning your hair will look like it was in a wash and go. It won’t look like a twist out.”


Get Diffusing


“A lot of people think that diffusers or hooded dryers harm the hair but it absolutely doesn’t,” adds Contreras. “I’ve been doing it for the past few years now and it’s completely okay. Getting under a hooded dryer for thirty minutes is not going to ruin your curls.” Try using it on cool or medium heat settings, without using the diffuser head in one specific section for too long.

Conair Volumizing Diffuser Attachment, $8, amazon.com 


Keep your scalp balanced

“I’m a huge fan of the balance line by System Professional,” says Dominican curly hair expert and stylist Ona Diaz-Santin (a.k.a The Hair Saint). “It gently cares for scalp with a skin-friendly ph. The gentle surfactant system and calming ingredients moisturize hair and scalp without drying it further.”

System Professional Balance Shampoo, $20, Ulta.com


Protect your hair at night

If you’re not a fan of hair bonnets or putting your hair up in a pineapple, try sleeping with a silk or satin pillowcase — if you haven’t already. You’d be surprised how much of a difference this makes. The smooth fibers not only keep curls smooth, soft, and frizz-free, but it also prevents dryness and breakage.

Morning Glamour Satin Solid Pillowcase, $6, Target.com 


Invest in a hair steamer

If you want to take your weekly deep conditioner to another level, I highly recommend investing in a steaming machine that works to further penetrate moisture into your hair — even more so than a hooded dryer. Fortunately, there are so many affordable options out there these days.

Kingdom Cares Facial and Hair Steamer, $68, Amazon.com

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