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Curly Nikki

How to Survive Winter without Protective Styling

By January 27th, 202117 Comments
How to Survive Winter without Protective Styling

by Tammy Goodson of Curlychics

So it’s March and considering there’s still ice on the ground, naturals are scampering to find the ultimate protective style. But what if you are not a fan of protective styling? Can you still protect your hair without having your ends tucked away? Here a few tips:

  • Deep condition- Moisture Moisture Moisture *in my Jan Brady voice*. Weekly deep conditioning for at least 30 minutes helps to replenish loss moisture which is a necessity in caring for textured hair.
  • Hair Steaming– Hair steaming is the God Mother of deep conditioning methods. The steam opens up the cuticle of your hair allowing deeper penetration, leaving it soft and preventing breakage.

  • Protein treatments– Protein treatments are a porous head of hair’s best friend. If you have high porosity strands, moisture retention will be a challenge. Protein helps fill in the gaps that have been created from chemical processing. Incorporating protein treatments into your hair care regimen is essential to the health of your hair.
  • Section Shampoo Method- Shampooing your tresses (with a moisturizing shampoo) in sections allows you to have more control over the process. Smaller sections will result in less tangles, decreased hair loss and will make for a less laboring task.
  • Dry Styling– Dry styling aids in preventing curls from coiling around eachother creating more tangles resulting in breakage. (bantu knots, twist outs, braid outs)
  • Leave in conditioner– What’s better than conditioning your hair? Leaving the conditioner in! A good leave in conditioner will ensure that the detangling process is much easier while adding moisture and maintaining those moisture levels for a longer period of time.
  • Hands off– Try to limit the amount of time you spend “playing” in your curls. All of that twisting and twirling once it has been styled is unnecessary manipulation that could ultimately lead to breakage.
  • Little or no heat– Minimizing the heat exposure to your hair will prevent irreversible damage and changes in your curl pattern. Keep those blow dryers and flat irons at bay as much as possible.

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.

What’s your routine in these cold months? 


  • mzriley10 says:

    I have fine hair and I've found I must do a protein treatment every two wks or I shed. I like the marine/plant based products, like Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae Mask. It's pricey, but it's excellent and I'm willing to pay for it:)!

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair had suffer heat damage this past july as a result I had my hair flat ironed for my son graduation(May) and my graduation(july) this year and ooooh boy I really wished now that I had left my hair in its natural state…some of my hair had suffer heat damage…I don't want to do the bc over again so I clip the ends about every 3 to 4 weeks am I doing the right thing? All comments are welcome…

  • Anonymous says:

    Early this week I tried a dry twist-bantu knot out and it just fell flat. Last night I did my normal twist-bantu knot after washing my hair and it feels and looks wonderful! Guess I'll be doing this for the rest of the winter – WnG do NOT work for me! My hair just ends up looking like Angela Davis after it airdries!

  • Anonymous says:

    Time to get back on the Henna here! Also, had to break out the shea and coconut oils. (They're too heavy for my hair in warmer temps, but once it gets cold, they're fantastic!

  • fabwtalk says:

    I am on the fence with the protein treatment as I have fine strands and feel like the protein is to heavy for my hair at times.

  • Anonymous says:

    My hairs to thin and not the lenght i want for ps yet so this article has some good things to know

    I've just been doing braidouts and bunning lately With the pineapple method I have just recently figured out how to get 5 day hair woot woot
    I'm still searching for a good leave in though and a good moisturizer

  • Carla says:

    I need to bun it up in the winter. Between wool coats, scarves, sweaters, I need to keep my hair off my shoulders (BSL) or I wont see any length retention. I guess my hair wont be "out" until the spring or if I visit a warm climate.

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I guess I'll be doing WnGs just not going anywhere lol. My hair takes forever to dry and I don't use heat anymore.

  • mangomadness says:

    I'm going to do aloe vera gel/castor oil pre-poos (super moisturizing!) instead of my usual coconut oil pre-poos. For styling, I'll be bunning a lot (sock buns) as well as experimenting with flat twist-n-curls and bantu knot outs on blow-dried hair (using grapeseed oil as a heat protectant).

    The rest of my routine (weekly finger-detangling/pre-pooing, shampooing, moisturizing, and styling) is the same.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just straightened my hair for a trim and after the summer months my hair is completely destroyed. I am typically a wash and go girl (deep conditioning every week)because I work out alot and sweat heavily. I cut so much hair off and I really need to cut more to get it back in good shape but I can't bring myself to do it. I have always had long, thick, healthy hair so it is so frustrating to be at this point. I don't know what to do. I try to consistently deep condition, steam, moisturize, seal, etc. and my hair looks very nice when curly but seeing it straight was a shock to my system becuase evidently it's been in bad shape for a long time. Any advice for improving my wash and go or a usccesful protective styling routine wihout wearing twists (twists are beautiful I just look horrible in them)?

  • Pamela says:

    @Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty – I don't WnG everyday. Instead I wash it early on Saturdays, usually when I'm at home most of the day, add a leave-in and styler (ususally gel) and let it air dry. During the rest of the week, I just put a satin bonnet on at night and in the morning, I let the steam from the shower loosen it up, and then spritz it lightly to refresh. By the time I put my makeup on and get dressed, it's reasonably dry so I'm not running out the door with a soaking wet head.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dry Twist outs (using 10- 12 twists and no tools on the ends) with leave-in conditioner and buns are my go -to hairstyles.
    I trim 1/4 of an in off every 3 months. This allows me to get great curls on the ends without having to use flexi-rods/curlers to get an artificial curly end. I have also found that the right conditioner and sealing oil must be used to get this desired effect, yet maintain moisture. Some stuff weighs my ends down too much and makes them limp. They won't curl up on their own when this happens. This process has also worked much, much better for me in regards to length retention and overall healthy ends.

    I'm all about being able to sleep/walk around without having styling tools in my hair, ever. Lol!

  • Anonymous says:

    A diffuser is necessary during the winter. When it gets cold I diffuse on medium or low until my hair is almost dry and don't have to go outside with wet hair.

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    My thing with WnGs is how do you do them in the winter? I live in NYC and I can't possibly go outdoors with a wet head!

  • Anonymous says:

    Good post. I got so tired of protective styling I went to wearing WnGs all the time. I don't miss the twisting and re-twisting every night. As long as I follow a healthy regimen, my hair is fine…no major shedding or breakage. I plan to deep condition more often once the cold weather comes. Maybe I'll put a steamer on my Xmas wish list too!

  • Pamela says:

    I used to be a protective style "fanatic". But, after almost 2 years of protective styles so I decided to try wash n gos and finger detangling ONLY for a while. I was scared at first, I'd read all the horror stories about WnG's but I've been doing it for about 3 weeks, following most of the suggestions in this article, and my hair seems to love it. I'm able to moisturize with a water/condish/oil spritz everyday, fluff lightly and GO! May hair is getting daily moisture, and hardly no manipulation at all. Shedding and breakage has become minimal. Its so easy. I love it!

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I think I've gotten so used to protective styling I am addicted! After last night's NY event, I woke up with still enough curl to rock my flexi rod style but what did I do? Put it right back up *sigh.

    These are good tips though. maybe if I ever get daring again, I'll rock my hair out for the winter on a regular using these tips.

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