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Curly Nikki

Winter Moisturizers for Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202118 Comments

Winter Moisturizers for Natural Hair

Georgia asks:

What’s your go-to winter moisturizer, and how can you really tell it’s getting the job done and not faking the funk?

I have type 4b hair and it’s very dry and coarse. At times I feel that products that claim to be moisturizers are really just coating my hair and giving me the appearance of healthy hair. When you share your favorite moisturizer, please give a brief description of your hair please!

CN Responds:

My hair is fine, mostly s waves with some corkscrews in the back. Cottony and naturally very dry.

I *assume* my moisturizer is effective by (1) the feel of my hair… 2 days later (soft and cottony, not hard and crunchy), (2) the way it makes my hands feel after application, and (3) overall improved condition of my hair after three weeks of continual use.

I look for water based moisturizers that contain butters and oils- preferably thick and creamy. Finally, I seek out products that claim to be intensive, rich moisturizers for dry and/or damaged hair. Can you guess my *current* go-to moisturizers? I’ve only been singing their praises for the last two weeks…

*Current Leave-in Moisturizers- Kera Care Natural Leave-in and CURLS Milk Shake
*Current Moisturizing Stylers- Kera Care Twist and Define, CURLS Souffle and Whipped Cream


  • anna says:

    Hi there, yep being a mixtress is tricky. I have been trying some mixes lately, and to be honest it takes too much tweaking and reformulating, etc … i find that although i fancy myself the mixtress, i’d rather just buy! Having said that, just an hour ago, i made a hair butter which i am quite pleased with, and i also made a hair custard, which was so so, i think i didn’t work out the right % of PS20 (emulsifier). When i read ingredients at the back of a product i like, i am always like: “i can make this, psssstttt”, but working out the right formulation is time (and money) consuming! so i have decided to make the odd butter here and there but mostly to buy ready-made products. What frustrates me the most is that i can never find the right scents, meaning the fragranced oils i buy all have that synthetic smell. If you (or anyone reading this) knows a website where i can buy “natural-smelling” fragranced oils, i’d be very grateful! i like smells like cake batter, coffee, caramel, burned sugar, those sweet smells, and citrus smells. Sometimes EOs just don’t do it in the right quantity, for a stronger smell, i would have to go over the recommended dosage. I do use preservatives in my homemade products (usually phenoxyethanol) to prevent the little monsters from thinking it’s xmas everyday (in my lovely murumuru and capuacu mixes! You always have such interesting posts! Thanks for providing some neurone stimulation to a new first time mum at home for now (i swear baby talk will drive me insane eventually, and hubby is not a scientist )

  • Ms. Sassy says:

    I use Shea Moisture's Deep Treatment as a moisturizer and it makes my hair reeaaallly soft and smells yummy. I also use a mixture of shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil

  • Anonymous says:

    Porous – high textured, tightly coiled,dryness prone, fine 4b here!

    My products:

    Moisture DC – My Honey Child Olive You Deep conditioner.

    Moisturiser – Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream (nothing beats this for 4b dry hair)

    protein – Aveda Damage Ready (good for my fine strands which need strengthening)

    I use curls curlicious cleansing cream to shampoo when needed.

    With these products my hair feels soft during and after use. Sometimes things are good while your hair is wet and you're applying it but then when rinsed and dried, your hair is back to square one. Not so with these products. Sorry to be boring but trial and error is important for hair. Get samples on Black Friday to see what you like.

    I wear twists in winter but I don't wear my hair loose much anyway.

    Generally recommendations aren't that helpful, everyone likes different things. I admit that as a 4b I would not be looking at what 3C's are doing because my hair doesn't need no curl souffle shake nothing.

  • T.Turner says:

    I guess my hair is a 3c/4a mix, very dense…puffier at the roots with tiny corkscrews towards the ends. The moisturizers that I've been sticking to lately are SheaMoisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie (the longest name ever, haha), Palmer's coconut oil hair milk, and a Shea Butter and jojoba oil hair balm I found in a hair supply store.

    I primarily wear my hair in twistouts, and when styling I seal the ends with the shea/jojoba balm. Then every morning and night I'll scrunch some of the SM smoothie or Palmer's into the 'fro for daily moisture. I don't prefer one over the other, just depends on what I want my hair to smell like that particular day. 🙂

    Usually I can tell if my hair is moisturized by the softness. For me "soft" is cottony/fluffy, light and airy. I also look for a natural sheen to my hair. If I'm able to have all of that from using a certain product then I know it works for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    I use Yes to Carrots Conditioner as a leave in. Then I layer on my shea butter/aloe vera gel/honey mix (root to tip) and castor oil (ends). I know it works because when I take down a week-old updo my hair is soft and fluffy.

    I have highly textured, tightly coiled hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have 4a/4b hair and it is crying out for moisture! i use Sofn'Free Oil Moisturiser with Keravite and my hair loves it i then seal with Coconut oil.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hair Type: 4a/4b with 3c and very dense. I am doing good on moisture when I touch my hair and it feels soft w/absolutely no crunch. I also know my hair has been thoroughly moisturized when I wash it and there is very little shedding. My go to products Shea Butter to coat my hair and Jojoba oil for my scalp and hair. I am gradually falling in love with Castor Oil. And I have an on/off love affair with organic coconut oil. I love Curls Souffle! Also, Neutragena has a Silk Leave-In conditioner – I hate the ingredients in the product, but whenever I use it my hair oozes with moisture and shine. I sit under a heating cap for every co-wash/wash with Castor Oil, rinse out the Castor Oil and deep condition with my favorite conditioner. Since July when I started sitting under the heating cap my hair is started growing like weeds.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have thick, VERY porous 4a/4b hair. I usually stick to thick, creamy, water-based moisturizers that contain natural oils.

    I apply my Tride-and-True(s) to sections (10-12)of my hair in the order below, detangle with a wide tooth comb and twist each section until I'm done with my entire head.

    -Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream (root to tip)

    -Raw Shea Butter on ends only

    -Flaxseed Gel (Homemade or Store Bought Root to Tip)

    Works like a dream, leaving my hair soft and moisturized for 5-7 days.

    Sidenote: Deep Conditioners & Leave-Ins of Choice

    -JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment, mixed with any kind of natural oil for extra moisture, shine and softness.

    -Leave-In:(CurlJunkie Beautiful Curls or Kinky-Curly Knot Today)

  • WMH says:

    Will use Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream right after washing for braid outs and will probably use the Kimmaytube leave-in for any mid week touch-ups. I used the Curls products a few years back and due to my PJism I totally forgot about them. I have just enough QB Amla & Olive Heavy Cream to get through December so maybe I'll revisit the Curls products after that.

  • Alysia Hutton says:

    Thanks so much for this post. It was right on time as I just invested in Yes to Carrots last night and used it as my leave in before twisting my hair. this morning when I took the twist out my hair was soft and fluffy. I'm wondering if it's dry though. It is soft all over and feels like cotton. How can I tell if it's dry. I have at two different textures in my head ranging from 3C to 4A. I've tried Shea Moisure but it was a little too heavy; or perhaps my hand was a bit too heavy. Not sure but my hair was weighed down. I, like CN, like volumous hair. My hair is fine and not very thick so I like when my hair is light, fluffy, and big. 🙂 Does the Yes to Carrotts pack enough punch as it relates to moisture or do you all suggest I try something else for the winter?

  • Anonymous says:

    i have dense, porous, medium/thick strands. my 3c/4a hair tends to be on the drier side… i'm still trying to find a good winter routine that will still allow me to wear wash and gos without a gel. so far i've tried out Beautiful Curls Creme found at Whole Foods and am amazed at how soft and moisturized my hair is. my curls were fat and luscious! i've bought some SheaMoisture Style Milk. although i've had lackluster results with the smoothie, i want to give the hair milk a try.

    any other suggestions? i plan to stock up on Black Friday to do some trials.

  • Bitty Boss says:

    4 a/b camp here!

    I have fine/medium strands with high density. Basically, a cotton puff. 🙂

    The best moisturizer that I ever used (summer or winter) is Darcy's Botanicals Transitioning Creme.

    Ingredients: Distilled Water, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, a mild detangling conditioner, Vitamin E, Panthenol, Yarrow, Sage, Horsetail, Nettle, & Lavender Extracts, Fractionated Coconut Oil, a paraben-free preservative, and lemongrass essential oil.

    OMG just smooth, moisturized hair all darn day. The only thing that changes in the winter is what I use to seal with.

    Summer – seal with castor/coconut oil mix

    Winter – seal with castor/shea butter mix

  • lisa says:

    I have 3c/4a hair also and I have dry scalp. My hair is thick and porous. My favorite moisturizers are coconut oil, shea butter and Kbb's hair butter. I swap between them to oil my scalp (some women experience build up or clogged pores from this, but since my scalp is dry I'm just getting the oil that I don't already have) and I use them to style my hair. I know they are working because they give my hair excellent slip. My hair continues to feel slippery and look shiny for 3 or more days after my original set and I barely get single strand knots. I am a protective styler (my hair is in twists 75% of the time) but I can see the shea and coconut oil penetrate my hair instead of sitting on top, it's obvious after a day or so that my hair is shiny and smooth but is not producty or greasy. I use the Karen's a little bit more sparingly because it's more expensive and a trek across the city but it works beautifully, smells amazing and if a strand of hair blows in my eye it doesn't burn like shea does. I usually seal with Karen's for that reason.

  • aubin says:

    I have medium (not fine not coarse) strands that grow in wavy (S curls) at the base and form 3c/4a corkscrew curls at the middle and ends. My favorite winter leave-in conditioners are Sally GVP Conditioning Balm, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and Aubrey Organics White Camellia. Alternatively, I'll use a cheap thin conditioner (V05 is a favorite) and slather tons of my shea/olive butter mix over it. I know my hair is well moisturized when it is soft, smooth, has a bit of shine, and, especially, when it absorbs water easily when I wet it. If it takes forever for my hair to get wet, I know that I need a serious moisture treatment.

  • vonnie says:

    I have 3c/4a hair that just loves moisturizer…i've found that the Shea Moisture deep treatment mask works amazingly well as a deep treatment AND as a leave in (i washed/conditioned my hair, did the deep treatment with a bit of olive oil added under a heat cap, then left it in and twisted my hair with qhemets amla/olive cream). The amla olive cream is heavy and rich for winter too


  • kitka82 says:

    I have "4a/b" hair that is a mixture of fine and coarse strands, corkscrews and coils. My junk is thick and thirsty. I have been looooving Shea Moisture leave-in, and sealing with shea butter and coconut oil. Sometimes I'll spritz with a water-aloe gel mixture and re-apply a small amount of leave-in or whipped shea butter.

  • Moni says:

    I have fine hair that is naturally coily with some kinks and even random straight strands. I judge a moisturizer by how it feels when I apply, how it looks and feels once my hair is dry (sometimes it doesn't reach full softness and moisture until after my hair dries) and how it looks/feels a few days later. I look for similar qualities as Nikki, and my current HGs are giovanni direct leave-in (after washing) and qhemet biologics burdock root butter cream. I then seal with some type of oil (vatika) or shea butter.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a mixture between 3b and 3c hair wavy at the base and corkscrew curl from midlength to end it has a med shine naturally but can become very dry if the right product (leave in) is not applied and applied correctly ( not from root to tip) but 1 inch from root to tip (helps with volume) I use giovanni light weight leave in and a small amount of yes to cucumbers and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and my hair remains very soft and VERY defined for days. I base this on the fact that I dont have to reapply any extra conditioner or oils in the days after my wash and go and my hair retains shine, softness, and doesnt feels light and moisturized.

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