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Curly Nikki

Winterizing Your Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202139 Comments

Winterizing Your Natural Hair
Hola Chicas!

Regimen tweaks are truly something to consider as the seasons change — your curls, which are already prone to dryness, crave even more moisture the cooler and drier it gets.

It is advised that we avoid humectants in the winter. Common humectants include honey, glycerin, panthenol, hydrolized wheat protein, and propylene glycol. These ingredients are great summer staples–they draw moisture from the humid air into our thirsty strands. But during the winter, they have the opposite effect, potentially drawing out the moisture from our strands into the dryer atmosphere. For this reason, I shelf many of my favorite conditioners and stylers until summer rolls back around. I don’t, however, avoid humectants in products that I rinse out (my instant conditioners and deep treatments). I recommend the following:

-Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment
-DevaCare One Condition
-Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner
-Jessicurl Too Shea
-Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment
-Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose

-CURLS MilkShake** (this will probably become my staple leave-in this winter)
-CURLS Whipped Cream** (this will be my staple styler this winter)
-CURLS Souffle
-Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner
-Kinky-Curly Knot Today
-Kinky-Curl Curling Custard
-Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration or Totally Twisted (Walmart)
-Generic Value Paul Mitchell the Detangler (Sallys)
-Aussie Moist (Walmart)

Jane Carter Solution Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner
-Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana
-Miss Jessies Creme de la Creme
-Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner
-Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding
-Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme
-Generic Value Matrix Conditioning Balm (Sallys)
-Most gels

Remember to seal in your water-based moisturizer or conditioner with shea butter, castor oil, or other emollients. This will protect your ends from the harsh winds. Weekly deep conditioning treatments won’t hurt either! During the winter months, replenishing moisture should be your top priority!

Other ways to winterize your curls:
  • Consider updos to protect your hair (especially your delicate ends) from the elements. Central heat, bitter winds, and the vents in your car that blast heat on high, can all weather your strands. I’m not really into hiding my hair, but I do tend to bun more often in the winter.
  • Deep treat at every styling session. Do as I say, not as I do, lol. When I was doing this, my hair was exquisite. All it takes is 15 minutes… and don’t forget the bonnet dryer, it really does make a difference!
  • Look for satin lined hoods and hats to keep the wool and cotton from wicking the moisture from your curls and/or causing breakage. Plus, the satin lining will help prevent hat hair! I’m too cool for hats, but I do line my coat collar with a satin scarf to keep my ends from catching on the rough material.
  • Opt for curl creams, not gels for the winter months. Save the gels for summer. Moisture is the goal, and a styler that has moisturizing properties is a win-win.

I plan to incorporate weekly deep treatments and return to consistently sealing with shea butter and/or serums. As for styling, I will continue to do Twist-n-Curls, both dry and wet sets, and bun on occasion. I’ll be using rich, moisturizing leave-ins and curl creams to style.

To be quite honest, my hair, no matter the season, is not really a fan of glycerin. It swells my fine, porous hair in the humid summer months, dries it out in the winter, and when overused, no matter the season, yields frizzy, undefined, greasy sets. I have to break out the kid gloves when playing with glycerin. My hair likes some glycerin laden products… others, not so much. Trial and error. Like Wanda Sykes said, ‘it’s like a damn science lab!’

**Disclaimer- Remember that no two heads are alike. You may do just fine with glycerin in the winter. As always, try it out, assess, and then determine how best to proceed!**

As the temperature falls, and the humidity lessens, what will you add to (or omit from) your current routine to promote healthy growth, and beautiful, shiny curls?


  • Aurielle Lee says:

    This is actually my first winter since my big chop and i have absolutely no idea what do with hair. It isnt long enough to do two strand twists and what nots and I have never been a fan of weave nor braids. So im really confused.

  • Alaina says:

    I will be adding olive oil to my DC and wearing braids or twists instead of wet bunning.


  • Latoya says:

    Thanks so much for the tips Nikki! Since will be my first winter all natural since childhood. I'll probably braid my hair for winter for the most part though. I have to send you an update since I BC'd a few weeks ago!

  • Liz C. says:

    I'm taking the lazy route and rotating between corn rows and weave…sorry! I just can't be bothered during the winter. It's too cold, it gets dark earlier and taking the extra 40 mins to do my hair every night…I'd rather be sleeping.

  • Racheal says:

    does anyone know of a creamy leave in to use. similar to the consistency on ors olive oil moisturizer? I have Kinky Curly not today and love it but would like to have a thick creamy alternative to help fight the winter.

  • Anonymous says:

    This will be my first winter natural. I am thinking of getting shea butter for my twists instead of using gel for my twists…I use ors lock and twist gel for now but I want to try the shea butter especially now that it is getting cold. Also plan to DC every week with Aubrey Organics protein conditioner.

    This is a good post Nikki…thanks!

  • Efe says:

    I wear updos 24/7 in the fall/winter. I also seal with my shea butter mix followed by castor oil (something I NEVER do in the spring/summer). I'll keep up my weekly DCs as well.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I added a link in the post Amara…

  • Amara says:

    Does anyone know where you can buy satin-lined hats? I'm definitely not a seamstress lol

  • Anonymous says:

    great tips!

  • Anonymous says:

    I love DevaCare One Condition. The big change for this winter is using my hair steamer with the DevaCare Conditioner once a week.

  • Jacquoi1 says:

    Nikki since you are shelving Generic Value Matrix Conditioning Balm (Sallys), what will you use during the winter for your Henna Gloss?

  • socialitedreams says:

    great advice…i've started to moisturize and seal my hair everyday, put away the honey products, and my hair is looking and feeling lovely in its protective twists


  • Anonymous says:

    oh & yes…curls products at Target are the same.

  • Anonymous says:

    Questions, questions and more questions…

    What about aloe vera gel or products with aloe vera gel in them?

  • Anonymous says:

    I am going to use the curls milkshake as a leavein seal with an oil and use curls souffle as my styler.I dont know why but my hair is not overly dry so I dont have to do alot of deep treatments. my hair is easily overmoisturized. I will be wearing alot of loose buns.I am so glad there is talk about the curls line. This is the first line that I tried and I still use it!Raina

  • Anonymous says:

    Quick question… Are the Curls products sold at Target the same as the Curlmart products? Thanks in advance!

  • AusetAbena says:

    I do believe that my major change will be deep conditioning more and finally investing in a heat cap. Other than that, I want to continue using my humectants, just concentrate on sealing more, with heavier oils and butters.

  • Anonymous says:

    New to all of this and the suggestions are very helpful!! Keep them coming.


  • Anonymous says:

    I actually do the opposite of CN living in Central California. I found that too much glycerin in the SUMMER led to dryness. I've been able to use OH Honey hemp and a little glycerin in my aloe vera juice/water spritz since it's cooled off and started raining (winter is the west coast "humid" season). I also use gels year round. I make sure to use aloe vera gel only when it's dry, and top the AVG with Ecostyler when it's the wet season. This reduces frizz and improves curl definition/hold with the moist air and my hair doesn't dry out from the Ecostyler.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm going to use the same curly custard (homemade) and just put on a hat….

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    Alex, yes!!!! Give it a try and report back. I hope my experience hasn't been a fluke. My hair is dope 🙂

  • Alex says:

    I use Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter for my twists. I wear my hair in twists for about 3 days a week then wear a twist out for the other 4. I'm a little tired of the greasy feeling the Carol's Daughter gives my hair. Should I give the CURLS Whipped Cream a try?

  • JazBNatural says:

    I'm not avoiding humectants either. . I just bought a bunch of Shea Moisture products that have vegetable glycerin in them and I have heard great things, so the product junkie in me won't let me put the products down even if I wanted to. And I recently found out that my hair's softness thrives off of honey in my deep conditioners.
    I live in a part of California that isn't too cold in the winter, its actually more dry in the summer out here and it gets humid and wet in the winter. So I think I can get away with it. . .we'll see how it goes. This is my 1st winter of taking care of my own natural hair so its all new to me!

  • E says:

    Does anyone else have issues using Kinky Curly Curling Custard in the winter? It works great at defining, but a) it takes forever to dry and b) that mild crunch that I get in the summer turns to dry hair in the winter. And then I have to put butters and things on top and before you know it, I may as well have done a twist out with some butter or cream because there is no semblance of the Kinky Curly texture. I've learned from the past two winters to shelf that one. I'm trying Bee Mine Be Hold Curly Butter for dry twist outs and so far, so good.

  • Curly Chic says:

    Coconut Oil for sure but today I purchased Aussie Moist Conditioner, Yes to Tomatoes, Lustrasilk Shea Butter treatment and Garnier Fructise Styling Cream. Can't wait to try them!

    Tammy G

  • Shakirah says:

    Ahhh ok, well I can keep CD smoothies and curl junkie hibiscus and banana in my rotation! Since they're rinse out.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank You, I have been waiting for you to post this topic

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I'm not avoiding humectants in products that I plan to rinse out…. which includes DTs 🙂

    And yep, I've used the Curl Junkie Rehab as a leave-in… it has no hold but gives great moisture and shine.

  • Anonymous says:

    Should you avoid humectants in our deep conditioning treatments as well? I usually add honey to my conditioner to create a DC Treatment, but if this is bad in the winter…what should I use?

  • Maria says:

    Hey Nikki the Curls Milkshake description said it has no hold. Did you find that to be true or a problem? And did you use the Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Treatment as a leave-in for one of the Twist-n-Curls you posted? Thanks!

  • Shakirah says:

    i was going to ask about the glycerin cuz i noticed the CURLS whipped cream has it in the ingredients…
    i will be omitting honey, probably altogether (not just for winter) cuz i tried it a few times in the end of summer/beginning of fall and i wasn't impressed with the way it left my hair feeling, and omitting gels and CD smoothies
    i will use the CD hair honey more often to seal my twist outs, but i think my typical regimen will be:
    EVOO pre-poo
    shea moisture retention shampoo
    KKKT for leave-in
    oyin burnt sugar pomade
    AO honeysuckle rose for DT
    shea moisture deep treatment masque to style
    and of course my once-a-month henna =-)

  • komirra says:

    i just big chopped wednesday!@ YEAH!! i been transitioning for a year and finally cut it. but since its the winter and im avoiding humectants, i dont really know what to use for a deep conditioner or curl custard. i love ORS replenishing deep conditioner and aloe vera gel, like i swear by them lol. but what shud i use to replace them? i use shea butter and coconut oil, but what else?

  • Steph302 says:

    I'm with Sarah. I don't stop using humectants in winter. (I'm a 4b in Delaware.) Shower steam is enough to bring the moisture. Also, I think the reverse humectant theory is a myth. I haven't heard of any studies showing they draw moisture out when the air's dry. But I'm definitely DCing more often with Karen's Hair Mask and styling with Qhemet's Heavy Cream.

  • CrystalJ says:

    I tend to do well with my Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner (been using it for about 9 years now) it's my creamy crack, lol.

    Changes (products/ingredients): Using my Sheajoba mix, switching from Henna to Amla, 50/50 castor oil/coconut oil pre-poo for detangling. If I need hold for styling I'll use flax seed custard cream.

    Changes (techniques):banding my hair to keep it stretched

  • Bitty Boss says:

    I will be omitting honey and honeyquat from my concoctions and DCs. I will also be sealing with a mix of shea butter and castor oil instead of just castor oil.

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    I'm transitioning; but, I will use buns and hats (e.g. berets) to protect my hair. In addition, I've added HE Hello Hydration to my regimen. I do want to try some shea butter! Also, I will continue my weekly deep conditionings.

    However, I will keep gels in my regimen as I live in Southern California where the weather's cool, but not harsh.

  • GGmadeit says:

    I find I use more butters and creams in the colder months….so now I guess I was doing right

  • Anonymous says:

    i am going to give some curl creams a try. i might not totally abandon my KCCC, but it wouldn't hurt. i need moisture in my hair's life.

    i tend to do okay with glycerin. most glycerin products have water in them and i tend to use them before or during a shower, so the steam/water work well with the glycerin to prevent my thick strands from drying out.

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