Winter is a perfect storm of damage for naturally dry and curly hair – here’s how to protect it…

Just when you’ve perfected your wash and style routine, winter comes along and messes with your natural hair.

Cold, often dry air outside combined with artificially heated, even more dry air inside causes a combination of moisture loss, tangles, breakage and general lifelessness.

Here’s how to protect your hair as best you can:

1. Ease up on washing

Winter is not the time for wash and go styles. The cleansing agents and frequent styling (whether it’s by means of products or tools) will dry out your hair and leave it vulnerable to damage.

Washing your hair a little less frequently is perfectly ok since your scalp is perspiring less and producing less oil. If you haven’t yet, switch to a gentle low foaming or non-foaming shampoo specifically formulated for dry hair.

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2. Protective styles

Take advantage of the protection braids offer against the elements. These styles minimise handling of your hair for a couple of weeks at a time, which reduces breakage. Choose a style that completely tucks in the ends to prevent as much moisture loss as possible.

Do refresh your protective style every couple of weeks to prevent hair loss and damage from tugging and pulling.

Read more: 5 Of the best protective natural hair styles for winter

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3. Cut down on chemicals

Keep chemical treatments like colouring to a minimum as it’s not ideally suited to dry or damaged hair.

4. Book a salon visit

If you invest in one thing for your hair this winter, make it a salon visit. If you’ve been postponing a trim, now is a great time – your hair will instantly look and feel healthier. Also book a professional hair treatment and discuss the right home care options with your stylist.

5. Get the balance right

Caring for natural hair means a good balance of moisture, oil and protein – of which moisture is most often neglected. Your hair needs all three components in order to be strong and healthy.

While we’re talking products: deep conditioning treatments and sealing products are vital, even more so in winter. Don’t skimp on either of these.

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6. The doek look

We see fashionistas wearing wraps on runways and all over the streets of the world’s fashion capitals.

A doek will smooth down your hair to prevent moisture loss and any type of friction that can lead to damage. If possible, invest in a satin or silk doek – otherwise any soft, smooth fabric will do.

Be careful with coarse knitted fabrics as they can snag and break your hair – bear this in mind with hats, beanies and even the scarves around your neck too.

Read more: How celebrities style their ‘doeks’ for different occasions