Protective winter hair care for natural hair (and why it’s important)


Colder temperatures often cause Type 4 Hair or textured hair to become drier, more breakage-prone and tangled. As humidity drops, coarser or textured hair cuticles begin to lift and become depleted of moisture. 

Aside from frigid temperatures, common winter accessories such as wool hats, scarves and coats also produce dry, frizzy hair. This is why hair masks, deep conditioners and braided protective styles are essential habits to keep textured hair healthy during the winter months. Here are a few need-to-know tips for caring for natural hair in the winter.

Natural hair in the winter

1. Hair masks: the holy grail of moisture

What Are Hair Masks and Why Should I Use Them?

Hair masks are hair treatments filled with moisturizing oils, butters, vitamins and a plethora of other healthy nutrients meant to penetrate every inch of your hair cuticles. Unlike your typical conditioner usually applied after a cleansing shampoo and left on for only five to 10 minutes, hair masks are usually worn for 20-30 minutes for a potent blast of moisture. 

During the winter months, when textured hair is especially dry, we recommend leaving hair masks on overnight and you will wake up with moisturized curls, oozing with a flowery aroma. We recommend doing a hair mask treatment at least once a week during the winter for the best results.

Natural hair in the winter

What Are The Best Hair Masks To Use on Textured Hair During Winter Months?

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque For Dry Hair Paraben Free Hair Mask

This is a must-have affordable hair mask for those looking to ‘strengthen and restore’ dry and damaged hair. This mask is formulated with two key ingredients that will help to replenish your hair: shea butter and Jamaican black castor oil. Shea butter contains Vitamins A and E, as well as essential fatty acids. Vitamin A helps to accelerate hair cell growth while Vitamin E is an antioxidant for stress, and stress often leads to hair loss. Similarly to Vitamin A, Jamaican black castor oil also helps to accelerate hair growth by stimulating the scalp.

“Fatty acids provide essential proteins and nutrients to hair follicles, and prevent hair follicle inflammation,” Bridgette Hill, affectionately known as “The Scalp Therapist,” told Elle Magazine in June.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

This hair mask and deep conditioning treatment is loaded with vitamins and nutrients like Rosehip Oil, Algae extract and B vitamins that help to replenish your hair all throughout the winter. The Rosehip Oil contains fatty acids to maintain hydration and control frizz, while Algae Extract strengthens hair strands and protects the scalp from free-radical damage. B Vitamins improve hair texture, add body and sheen, and nourish damaged hair. It is also free of sulfates, parabens and other harmful chemicals commonly found in drugstore hair products that strip your hair of moisture.

It is also formulated with nutrients that help to improve long-term damaged from colouring, over-processing, and heat styling. If that wasn’t enough, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! is also vegan, cruelty free, and comes in recyclable packing. 


Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie

If you’re a Black woman who grew up at any point during the 80’s and 90’s, you know from personal experience that Cocoa Butter is a holy grail product for deep moisturization. Formulated with Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Vitamin B5, Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie is a must-have weapon for combatting wintertime dryness.

This hair mask was specifically formulated with tightly curled 4C Hair Types in mind, but is perfectly effective for those with looser curl types. The Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie is just one-third of a three-part collection of replenishing hair products from Carol’s Daughter. Use the hair smoothie with Carol’s Daughter’s Black Vanilla Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner for the trifecta of moisture and shine. 

Purchase our favourites below:

What Are The Best Deep Conditioners For Winter Months?

First thing’s first, you’re probably wondering what the difference between a hair mask and a deep conditioner is. Although they are very similar in that they both moisturize, Naturally Curly explains that hair masks are meant to moisturize and strengthen while deep conditioners moisturize and soften. Choosing which product is best for your hair boils down to recognizing the state of your hair and what it needs. For those looking to moisturize and soften, here are the best deep conditioners you need to include in your winter hair regimen.

Natural hair in the winter
Shea Moisture Red Palm Oil & Shea Butter Leave-In or Rinse-Out Conditioner

Please excuse our repetition of brands, but you would be hard-pressed to find a naturalista who doesn’t have multiple Shea Moisture products stacked up in her stash. This deep-penetrating conditioner is formulated for those with super coily, shrinkage-prone hair. This is yet another product that doubles as a two-in-one, and can be washed off after 15 minutes of use or kept in the hair as a leave-in conditioner.

For the best results, use this conditioner in combination with Shea Moisture’s Hi-Slip Detangling Shampoo for Dry Hair and Curl Stretch Pudding for tangle-free, defined curls. Pin back and section off hair using hair clips then brush through and detangle while conditioner is applied.

Aussie Deep Conditioner, with Avocado

This deep conditioner is yet another great product for naturalistas on the go. If you don’t have several hours to spare for your hair care routine, then the Aussie Deep Conditioner, which works its magic in just three minutes, is the way to go. This citrus-infused deep conditioner is loaded with avocados & Australian jojoba oils which not only leave your hair super soft, but also seeping with delicious fruity scents.

Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils In Control Moisturizing & Softening Conditioner

Popular amongst hairstylists and professionals, this almond butter enriched conditioner feels soft and silky the moment it is placed on hair.

“This conditioner is nourishing for the hair strands and helps frizzy hair conform to its natural texture,” Felicia Leatherwood, celebrity stylist and natural hair specialist told Women’s Health Magazine in June.

This deep conditioner is perfect for all curly hair types from Type 3A-4C. It can also be used as a co-wash treatment for days when you want to give your hair a break from shampooing. We recommend co-washing more frequently and shampooing less during the winter months, as too much shampooing can dry out your already vulnerable hair. 

Purchase our favorites below:

Braided Protective Styles

If you’re looking for a super low-maintenance hair regimen to get you through the winter, braided protective styles are the way to go. Braids last anywhere from three to five months, therefore minimal styling would be required to upkeep your hair during the winter. Braids are the best way to protect your hair from snow, sleet, hail and all of those frustrating annoyances that come with inclement winter weather.

Even though braided hairstyles require significantly less maintenance than other hairstyles during the winter, that certainly does not mean you should have a hands-off policy when it comes to your hair all winter long. You should continue to shampoo and condition your roots to remove any product and/or dirt buildup as braided hair usually requires gels and jams to keep them sleek and fresh looking.

If you’re looking for inspo for braided protective styles for the colder months, check out our compilation of 25 braids, twists, and locs we love.

For days when you feel like rocking straight hair, braid the middle and back region of your hair and leave out the front sections of your hair and install some clip in hair extensions to conceal your braids. 

Follow these steps and your luscious curls will remain healthy and nourished throughout the winter months.

Written by: Ashley Inkumsah





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