Winter is approaching. The dreadfully cold season that we all love so much. For us naturals, it’s most definitely dreadful. Our natural hair will require twice as much maintenance and we won’t be able to do all the things we did during the summer. Here are ten tips to help you out!
1. Keep That Scalp Moisturized!
Oiling your scalp every day is essential! Your hair and scalp can get incredibly dry during the winter. Personally, I have a concoction of oils in a large jar. I massage oil into my scalp on a daily basis. Every wash day, I do a pre-poo with my oil concoction and melted shea butter. If you’re not up for a pre-poo every wash day, you can do a hot oil treatment on the day you deep condition your hair.
Pre-pooing and deep conditioning aren’t that different. Pre-pooing doesn’t require the oil to be hot (I heat mine up anyway), and you also do it before you wash your hair. The hot oil treatment is done after you wash but before you deep condition. My oil concoction consists of several natural oils: almond oil, argan oil, avocado oil, castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and Bloom Within’s Scalp Repair Oil. It works very well and it really softens the hair. However, the oils you use are solely up to you.
2. Beware of Shampoos!
I wash my hair every 3 days, which is a lot for some people. However, I don’t shampoo my hair every single time. I’ve tried several shampoos and I don’t like them that much. I shampoo my hair twice a month. When I don’t shampoo, I co-condition with a cleansing conditioner. When using shampoos, you should avoid ones with alcohol and sulfates, they strip your hair of moisture.
All OGX products are great but from their shampoos, I’d suggest their coconut products: OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo, OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo, or OGX Coconut Curls Shampoo. If you choose to co-condition I suggest As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner, EDEN™ BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash, or Mizani® True Textures Cream Cleansing Conditioner.
Co-conditioning works very well! Your hair won’t still be dirty because you don’t use shampoo. If you don’t want to use either, you can opt for Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or Peppermint Castile Soap (not good if you have color-treated hair). Both of these products should be diluted, they’re very strong!
3. Deep Condition EVERY Week
This is important. Deep conditioning is moisturizing and strengthening your hair and we all know that the biggest struggle for 4C hair is retaining moisture. You can deep condition with or without heat, however, as usual, with heat is better. When using heat, our hair cuticles are lifted allowing deeper penetration into our hair shafts. Deep conditioning at home can be so simple. You can purchase a hair dryer from any beauty supply store; the prices can range from $30 or more.
Another option is a steamer. With this, you just put the conditioner in your hair, place a shower cap over your hair, and sit under the steamer for 15-30 minutes. Most steamers are 2-in-1 and can be used on your hair and your face. They are quite pricey, most starting at $30. If these prices are too much for you, a cheaper alternative would be a heating cap, which begins at $15. You should purchase shower/processing caps to place under the heating caps. You’re better off buying these in bulk because these get thrown away faster than you know.
Back to the conditioner itself; you can purchase one at a store or make a DIY conditioner. I opt for making my conditioners to avoid all the extra chemicals found in store products. DIY conditioners can be made based on your hair (dry, damaged brittle, etc). I use avocado, banana, coconut milk, and my oil concoction.
When I’m too lazy to make a conditioner I opt for the following options:
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Treatment (this leaves your hair super soft and makes detangling incredibly easy)
Alberto VO5® Herbal Escapes Kiwi Lime Squeeze® + Lemongrass Extract Conditioner (this leaves your hair super soft and helps detangle as well however it has chemicals such as sulfate or alcohol so this should be a last option)
I’d highly recommend these three conditioners if you want to purchase conditioners from the store.
4. Monthly Protein Treatments
Protein is very nourishing for your hair. I was told that protein was good so I ended up overdoing it and my hair was damaged from too much protein. We consume protein through foods, and they’re already in some conditioners, plus I was initially doing it 2-3 times a month. However it is still necessary, so I’m suggesting a protein treatment once a month. This can be made at home or purchased in stores. If you want to create a DIY protein treatment you can use avocado, eggs, and mayonnaise. If you want to purchase a protein treatment I’d suggest ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment (must purchase second step Balancing Moisturizer separately) and Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment.
5. Use The LOCS Method
Winter, scarves, and hats suck all the moisture out of your hair. Using the LOCS method, in that order, will help keep your hair moisturized. L: liquid or leave in conditioner. For this you can choose to get a spray bottle, add two oils of your choice, and aloe vera (optional). You can also purchase a leave in conditioner. I’d highly, highly, and only recommend Nunaat Treatment Leave-in for Curly Hair; this is the BEST leave in conditioner to touch my hair. I couldn’t suggest any others. O: oil. The oil is your choice but it’s suggested that you use coconut, jojoba, or olive oil. C: cream. Next you apply a cream to your hair. I use two creams in my hair: Bloom Within’s Essential Hair Growth Cream (this really helps with hair growth) and Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. Lastly, S: sealant, which helps seal in moisture. I use shea butter for this step but any heavy butter is suggested. This has helped to keep my hair extremely moisturized.
6. Protective Styling
Daily protective stylings include twist outs, two strand twists, bantu knots, cornrows, buns, or any updos. Longer protective styles include box braids, crochet braids, ghana braids, havana twists, faux locs . If you decide to go with the longer protective styles you shouldn’t leave the style in for more than 6 weeks and also don’t neglect your real hair! Don’t forget to moisturize it and keep it clean while you have it in styles such as box braids or crochet braids. Also, DO NOT DO WASH & GO’S! Winter is not the season to be doing this, it will leave your hair incredibly damaged.
7. Dealing With Winter Accessories
Wool or cotton hats can dry out your hair. If you know how to sew and you plan on wearing hats you should line the inside of the hat with silk. If that’s not possible, trying using hats less.
If you’re using a wool scarf, don’t allow your ends to rub against the scarf. Scarves suck up moisture just as well. Try keeping your ends up and protected as much as possible.
8. Best Styling Products
You’ll probably do a lot of protective styling throughout the winter. Here’s a suggestion of the best styling products
9. Protect Your Hair At Night!
Silk pillowcases, du-rags, or bonnets. Cotton pillows will suck the moisture out of your hair. When sleeping you should be resting on anything silk.
10. Extra Tips
Taking care of your natural hair will have a lot of trial and errors. I gave you several product suggestions but you have to find the product that works best for you. It’s different for everyone, even if your hair type is the same as mine.
Also, AVOID CHEMICALS! Hair dyes especially. If you’re looking to color your hair opt for henna or a rinse.
I hope these suggestions help you maintain your hair through the brutal winter! Remember, it’s all about finding what product works for your hair. May your hair stay happy, healthy, and moist this winter.