Founder of Curly Girls Australia, and all round Curl Aficionado, Lindsay Wilson has helped countless curly women around Australia to embrace their curls and learn how to manage them.
We asked Lindsay for her top tips on maintaining curl health during the dry Winter months.
Winter months used to be dreadful for me as a curly girl here in Sydney.
I know how difficult it can be: the dry air, the cold winds, the freezing mornings on the way to work… my busy life as a full-time worker used to be defined by slick buns, all day and every single day, because my curls were dry and undefined. My current situation is different, though.
Winter is drying for our bodies and our curls. The low dew points (low moisture content in the air) takes a toll on our skin and hair. This is called environmental damage. We all know that when it comes to skin care in Winter, hydrating products are important. The same is applicable to hair care and even more so with curly hair, which tends to be drier than usual because of its shape.
Besides the issue of low temperatures and dry air, the frequent rubbing against woollen clothing material and wearing knitted head accessories can cause mechanical damage to curls as well. So, what are some simple things we can do to nourish our curls during Winter and have beautiful hair as a result?
Here I’m sharing 4 simple and important steps for a good Winter routine:
1. Cleanse your scalp and hair with a non-lathering cleanser.
Harsh detergents (the ingredients used in lathering shampoos) are harsh on the hair because they strip the hair fibres from their natural oils, which are very important for curly hair. The aftermath of lathering shampoo is hair that is dry and brittle.
The Boucleme Curl Cleanser is a fantastic option for this, for a few reasons:
- It doesn’t lather;
- It cleanses the scalp and the hair without harshness;
- You can multi-task with it: you can use it to cleanse your scalp with a massage and detangle your hair;
- It contains Linseed oil and Aloe Vera extract, which are known as “film-forming humectants”. Film-forming humectants are great for curly hair during dry and cold seasons, because they hold hydration for longer periods of time.
2. Condition with a very hydrating conditioner and don’t fully rinse it.
The Boucleme Curl Conditioner is the perfect match for the cleanser, because it also contains Linseed oil and Aloe Vera extract, in higher amounts.
Leaving some liquefied conditioner in your hair will give you maximum hydration. This is going to help you combat the dryness of the weather without extra work. Fine hair needs less conditioner left in, whereas coarse hair can leave some more.
My favourite method for this is the original “Squish to Condish” method, created by stylist Melissa Stites. Here is a video of Melissa doing “Squish to Condish” in her client’s hair at the basin. To replicate this at home, you can simply move your hair forward in front of you while you are standing up in the shower.
Then: apply conditioner in your hair using “praying hands” and proceed to “liquefy” it in this way:
3. Use moisturising styling products that contain film-forming humectants.
Knot Today contains Behentrimonium Methosulfate, which is a great conditioning ingredient for maximum slip and weight.
Knot Today also has film-forming humectants such as Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root.
The Custard is also very rich in film-forming humectants. It enhances a lot of shine.
I apply Knot Today on soaking wet hair that has some liquefied conditioner in, then I use the custard to finish. I apply both products using the “praying hands” method and scrunch to finish.
After this, I either sit under my hooded dryer on low heat or gently diffuse my curls on low heat and airflow until 70-80% dry. Wet hair for long periods can be difficult to deal with during cold months.
Once my hair is fully dry, I scrunch out the custard's cast using a very small amount of Knot Today, focusing especially on the ends for a protection boost against the weather and clothing material.
3. Deep Condition your hair at least once weekly, for 15-30 minutes, using a gentle heat cap.
Because Winter is so drying, deep conditioning is essential and something that shouldn’t be skipped, if possible.
Deep conditioning adds a lot of moisture and elasticity to curly hair and it becomes more potent under gentle heat. 15-30 minutes is enough for this.
If you feel that your hair is extremely depleted, you can add one more deep conditioning session to your weekly routine.
One of my favourite deep conditioners is Kinky-Curly Stellar Strands. I truly believe this is a very balanced deep conditioner for all hair kinds because it does not contain any butters, it has a high-quality conditioning ingredient in high amounts called “Behentrimonium Methosulfate” and it has amino acids towards the end of the list.
Amino acids are my favourite kind of protein because they are gentle, yet effective. The size of their molecules is very small. This treatment is not a protein treatment, but rather a deep conditioner with some small amounts of protein.
This is a good balance. Amino acids are already small AND this has a small amount of them.
This means that your hair is getting the little boost that it needs, in small increments at a time, rather than a large protein treatment in one go. This treatment is concentrated, yet it does not weigh curls down.
I use this deep conditioner once or twice weekly for 15-30 minutes with the gentle heat of my Hot Head cap.
By implementing these 4 steps into your Winter care routine, you will have healthy curls that will remain nourished, regardless of the weather situation outside. Film-forming humectants are very important for that, because they are great protectors from environmental damage. Winter doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. You can have a simple curly hair routine that is effective and long-lasting. It is possible to wear your hair naturally and beautifully in this season.
Stay safe, warm and rock your curls during Winter!
Find more of Lindsay's curl wisdom: