With winter only a few weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about switching up your hair care regimen for winter.
The dry, cold air outside and dry heat inside can do a number on your luscious strands unless you take proper care to protect them.
To keep your hair looking healthy and strong until springtime, below are the most common winter hair care mistakes you should avoid.
How Can I Protect My Natural Hair in Winter?
1. Over-Drying Your Hair
The air is pretty dry during the winter, which weakens hair by depleting its natural moisture.
When you use heat appliances like blow dryers and other heated styling tools in winter, it’s a recipe for disaster.
During winter, stick to air-drying your hair at home or at least limit how much time you point the blow dryer at it.
If you must use heat appliances in winter, keep it to no more than a few times a month.
You should also consider using specialty shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioners, and styling products that help protect your hair from heat damage.
2. Forgetting to Bundle Up
If you’re just taking the dog for a quick walk around the block, you don’t need a hat, right?
Maybe not the first time, but if you’re exposing your hair to the cold, dry air night after night, you should bundle up and protect that hair.
Between the temperature and the high winds that could be whipping around out there, it’s best to put a nice barrier between your hair and the elements.
Wear a scarf, hat, or cap to protect your hair but not so tightly that you restrict circulation to your scalp.
Curly and kinky hair might also benefit from satin or silk-lined hats such as:-
3. Washing Your Hair Too Often
I cautioned against this in 365 Days of Moisture for Dry & Parched Hair.
Even though you’re using lots of styling products to control frizz, this doesn’t mean you should be washing your hair more than once a week.
In winter, I would say go up to 2 weeks in-between shampooing hair.
Overwashing hair coupled with the dry winter weather can lead to dry and damaged hair.
3. Walking Around with Wet Hair
While wet hair in summer is awesome and can help you retain moisture and boost hair growth, it doesn’t have quite the same effect in winter.
Walking around with wet hair in winter can make you sick but the harsh weather can also dry out your hair not to mention freezing your curls.
If your curls freeze, it’s easier for your hair to break. Wait till your hair is completely dry before going out.
4. Washing Hair With Crazy Hot Water
I know it’s cold but resist the urge to wash hair with water as hot as you can stand.
You can still wash your hair with warm water though and finish off with a lukewarm blast or cold blast (if you can stand it).
5. Exposing Your Ends
The winter weather is just waiting for you to come outside with your ends exposed to wick out all the moisture.
Related Content: Best Tips for Trimming Natural Hair
6. Using the Same Hair Care Products
The products you use in winter may not be the same as the ones you use at other times of the year.
You may need to use creamier moisturizers and strengthening deep conditioners and finishing oils.
You should also use milder shampoos or co-wash cleansers like:-
Finally, you want to avoid humectants like honey, glycerine, and panthenol.
7. Ignoring Scalp Care
Just because your hair is tucked away under a hat most of the time doesn’t mean the scalp is on break till spring.
Scalp stimulating massages are important in winter as well especially if you’re undergoing a hair loss recovery regimen.
Scalp massages also prevent your scalp from getting dry and itchy due to the weather.
Related Content: 8 Steps for Effective Scalp Massage With Natural Oils
8. Not Drinking Enough Water
Though it’s not so hot, it doesn’t mean you still don’t need lots of liquids in winter.
Take the cold weather as an opportunity to use hot drinks like green tea to reach your daily liquid intake limit.
9. Not Protecting Your Hair At Night
Related Content: Benefits of Sleeping on a Silk or Satin Pillowcase for Curly Hair
10. Not Sealing Hair Properly
In winter, switch to the LOC (Liquid, Oil, Cream) Method. The cream should be a heavy oil or butter.
Read The Differences Between LOC and LCO for more on incorporating the LOC method into your hair care regimen.
11. Missing Out on Steaming Sessions
And I’m not talking about the regular hair steaming sessions, which should still be going on in winter.
I mean adding a humidifier to your home for a secondary way to infuse moisture into your hair.
I love this mini VicTsing Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier. Currently writing an in-depth review about using this every day.
12. Hating on Protective Styles
Not everyone likes protective styles and that’s ok but in winter, you may want to take advantage of it for your hair’s sake.
Your hair is under a hat most of the time anyway so why not wear it in a protective style?
13. Over-manipulating Hair
Leave your hair alone as much as possible in winter. Winter is not the time to be doing wash and gos every day or practicing the MHM.
My hair is in 10 braids right now. I take it down every 2 weeks, shampoo, deep condition, and steam then throwback in the braids.
When I go outside, I wear a wig or I put the braids in an updo and put on my satin-lined beanie.
Avoiding these common hair care mistakes can make the difference in keeping your healthy hair through the winter season.
Your happy, healthy hair will be ready for “big hair don’t care” reveals by the time spring arrives.
FAQs About Taking Care of Natural Hair in Winter
Is Cold Weather Bad for Natural Hair?
Cold weather is one of natural hair’s worst enemies. The cold and dry weather causes your cuticles to lift and aids moisture to escape the hair shaft.
If you have hair porosity issues, your hair could experience even more damage in winter.
It’s imperative to keep your hair undercover when outside in winter. Don’t make any of the mistakes outlined above.
How Often Should You Wash Natural Hair in Winter?
Don’t wash your hair more than once a week in winter. I stretch mine to every 2 weeks because my hair is in a protective style away.
In the same vein, don’t let two weeks by without washing your hair.
If you are wearing a more extended protective style like braids or a weave, you can wash every 3 weeks.
How Do I Protect My Natural Hair from Cold Weather?
This is quite easy. Wear protective styles and keep your ends tucked away in a silk or satin lined hat when you’re outside.
If your hair is out at all, then you should also use a silk or satin lined scarf.
How Can I Hydrate My Hair in Winter?
As mentioned above, don’t stop steaming your hair in winter. Additionally, start using a cool-mist humidifier to infuse moisture into your hair while at home.
If you have any more questions about keeping your hair healthy and happy in winter, drop them in the comments section.