Winter Guide to Afro and Curly Hair Care

Cold weather can truly challenge textured hair types. Our curls, which are usually full of volume, shine and bounce, seem to turn dry and limp. It can almost push a naturalista to book a ticket to warmer climates! However, do not fret, good hair doesn’t have to be disruptive. 

During winter months, there are low levels of moisture in the atmosphere, and the cold air draws moisture from your hair and scalp. As a result, your strands become more susceptible to environmental damage like dryness, frizz and breakage, which makes curls limp and afro hair more brittle.

So, just as you would switch to a warmer wardrobe in winter, you may also need to update your hair routine to be more weather-appropriate. 

      Film-forming humectants are moisturising ingredients that create a clear, flexible film over your strands to help resist dehydration. They are especially great for fine hair and hair that doesn’t absorb oils and conditioners well. Put very simply, the film slows down the release of water to the air around it. We will provide some examples of products throughout this guide.
      The following is a list of film-forming ingredients collated by the Sciency-y Hair Blog:
      • flax seed gel (linseed)
      • okra gel (made from okra seed pods)
      • aloe vera
      • hydroxyethylcellulose
      • pectin
      • xanthan gum
      • guar gum
      • marshmallow root
      • slippery elm
      • carrageenan (also known as irish moss or seaweed extract, sea emollient, sea algae, sea vegetable)
      • nettle leaf tea or nettle extract
      • panthenol
      • Hydroxypropyltrimonium honey
        We know it’s cold but please wash your hair. Many people wait longer periods between wash-days when it’s chilly out which can cause product build-up and irritate and dry your scalp. 
        Use highly moisturising cleansers and try to avoid lathering shampoos as they use harsh detergents that strip the hair of its natural oils. Us naturalistas need those oils to help to keep our hair nourished.
        Some highly moisturising, non-lathering options which also include film-forming humectants are the Boucleme Curl Cleanser, which contains linseed oil, hydroxypropyltrimonium honey and aloe vera extract, SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo which contains panthenol, aloe vera and guar gum, and Curl Care Moisturising Rinse which contains aloe vera and panthenol.


            We know conditioners are our friend all year round, and this is especially true in colder months. Use highly moisturising conditioners, and if you can, use a conditioner containing - you guessed it - film-forming humectants. For instance the Boucleme Curl Conditioner contains linseed oil and aloe vera extract, and the SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Conditioner contains panthenol and aloe vera.

            For thicker hair types, you can even leave some of this conditioner in for the styling phase. However on finer hair types, this will weigh the hair down.

              You will find all kinds of priming and styling products with film-forming humectants in the ingredients.
              If your hair can also carry oil without being weighed down then use it between your leave-in and styling product, or to scrunch out your cast, for an extra boost of protective hydration.

              5. SLEEP WITH SILK

                The goal is to control frizz and maintain moisture in your hair. Sleeping on a regular pillowcase is counterintuitive to this as it can lead to additional frizz, breakage and static as the cold dries your hair. Remember, your hair is on that pillow for (hopefully) at least 7 hours every day. Switch to a silk pillowcase (pink and grey) to avoid friction while you sleep.

                  Honey, with hair like that you shouldn’t even need a scarf or beanie! But if you’re a truly determined lover of fluffy winter-wear, this might just break your heart. Beanies and scarves made of fabrics like wool and some other common fibers can absorb moisture away from hair and cause friction. Together, this can create tangles and contribute to breakage. 
                  However, if you’re still set on wearing a beanie or scarf, try a braid or other protective style or up-do. 

                  7. DEEP CONDITION

                    Deep Conditioner is always a staple for curly and afro hair. However, during winter, this is especially vital for protecting against the drying effects of the cold air and keeping your hair flexible and elastic.
                    If your hair is extremely dry in the winter months, you can deep condition once a week. However, if it’s in good condition, deep condition once a fortnight. For a more intense deep condition try using a Thermal Hair Care Hot Head. Always follow the instructions on your deep conditioner for the appropriate length of time to keep the product in your hair.

                    There you have it - your new winter hair care guide! Stick to these simple steps for healthy, hydrated hair this season.

                    Boots and coat underneath, beautiful voluminous curls or kinks on top!

                    1 comment

                    Love it! Just moved to a new, colder country so I really appreciate these winter hair care tips. Thank you 😀

                    Frances June 04, 2020

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