For type 4 curls (the tightest curl pattern on the curly hair spectrum), cold weather can exacerbate dryness and cause breakage, shedding, and a flaky scalp. Infusing your wash day with creamy conditioners, butter-rich stylers, and carrier oils (like argan, avocado, and grapeseed oils) reverses the depletion caused by dry weather and ensures your twist-outs, braid-outs, and protective styles last longer.
Achieving optimum moisture during winter starts with a proper hair routine, explains BeBe Michelle, hairstylist and founder of BeBe Michelle Naturals. From the moment you begin shampooing to the second you finish styling your hair, the products you use should be chock-full of high-quality ingredients that combat dryness. After all, curly hair is more prone to breakage than straight hair is.
To achieve your hair goals, it's important to stay consistent once you nail a routine that works for your hair. Whether you're resuscitating your hair from breakage or you're a newbie at winter hair care, curating a hydrating hair regimen involves a dash of experimenting, a little patience, and a lot of TLC. Here's how to do it:
1. Start your hair routine with a moisturizing cleanser.
Starting wash day with a hydrating cleanser free of harsh sulfates and parabens is an essential step to retaining moisture on wash day. Candera Thompson, founder and CEO of Bask & Bloom Essentials, says identifying your hair’s porosity type is a game-changer for understanding how your hair retains and absorbs moisture.
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“It's important, since moisture is generally always an issue for our hair,” she says. “Now that natural hair has become more mainstream, everyone looks at the curl pattern, but when you’re talking about the health of your hair, that’s when porosity comes in.”
2. Lock in moisture with a deep conditioner.
Now that your hair is drenched and feeling luxurious after using an invigorating cleanser, the next—and most vital—step is choosing an effective deep conditioner. Deep conditioning is crucial for repairing damage, restoring volume, and quenching your strands with penetrating hydration.
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For color-treated hair or curls that are lacking their signature elasticity, look for products that impart the right balance of moisture and protein and leave your curls feeling supple and springy. Valiencia Allen, the founder of beauty brand Honey's Handmade, also suggests pairing deep conditioning with a heating cap or sitting under the dryer for 30 minutes. Heat flares hair pores open, which allows treatments to deeply penetrate the hair shaft.
3. Level up with moisturizing styling products.
Once you’ve rinsed out the deep conditioner or treatment mask, decide how you're going to style your hair and layer your hydrating styling products before tucking hair away in a protective style or two-strand twists. Doing this will help protect your hair from harsh winter air and keep your style looking fresh.
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Natural hair styling methods such as the L.O.C. (liquid, oil, and cream/butters) and L.C.O. (liquid, cream/butters, and oil) techniques help people with type 4 curls remember the correct order in which to apply their leave-ins, styling creams or butters, and oils. Layering your products creates something akin to a moisturizing vault for hair strands, which benefits the overall longevity of your style and the health of your hair.