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3 Solutions to Dry Winter Hair

• Jan 24, 2013


By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

For those of us currently in the grip of winter, the dry cold winter air may be wreaking havoc to your hair.  The first basic solution to dryness is of course to add water to the hair. However, what should you do if misting it up every night , morning or indeed several times a day is not really having an impact?

1. Start co-washing  in between shampoo washes

Many people can get away with washing hair once a week or once every fortnight without needing to do any additional washes in between. In winter, you may want to throw in 2 or more conditioner washes in between the shampoo wash.  Shampoo  may not be necessary for every wash especially if you always cover your hair when you go outside in winter.  Wearing a hat will greatly minimise the amount of dust and dirt that your hair picks up from the environment. Misting your hair or simply soaking it in water may not be sufficient to moisturise on its own. This is because conditioner is designed to deposit on hair to repair flaws and increase the moisture holding capacity of the hair. Every time you wet hair and rub it, you deplete some of this layer. A conditioner wash can help to fix this.

2. Get smart when using leave ins: Don’t apply to soaking wet hair

This tip is not just for winter but for all times. One big mistake some people make is to start loading up leave in conditioners  or oils immediately out of the shower. If you apply a leave in or oil to dripping wet hair, the fact is that quite a lot of it will simply drip off.  The ideal time to start adding leave ins is after towel (or cotton t-shirt) drying for 5–10 minutes. At this point, most of the wetness has disappeared from the hair but there is still sufficient water to be ‘sealed’ in by the leave in conditioner or oil. The exceptions to the rule are  some heavier oils like castor oil or very thick butters like raw shea butter which may actually be easier to apply on wet hair. However, for standard light leave ins like store bought conditioners and light oils like coconut, jojoba, olive or argan oil, the damp, non-dripping hair is best.

3. Time your washes: Avoid going outside with wet hair

If you choose to wash your hair more often, you will need to learn how to time your washes so that you are not going outside with wet hair. The drier and colder air in winter makes it difficult for hair to dry meaning it will stay wet for longer. Additionally, the feeling of cold winter air on wet hair is often unpleasant.  The idea of moisturising hair is not to have wet hair for ages, it is to lock in the moisture into the hair and maintain a humidity barrier on the outside.  If you have a standard work day, wash your hair soon after getting home and it should be sufficiently dry to sleep on comfortably  and fairly dry by the morning.

For those of you living in cold, dry winter climates, how do you keep your hair moisturized?

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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17 Comments on "3 Solutions to Dry Winter Hair"

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I recently starting co-washing in between regular shampoo sessions and it really helped keep my TWA in check! Before that I started noticing not only dryness but, horror of horrors… the beginnings of breakage!


my mom puts hair grease in my hair (i think its similar to blue magic) during winter months. is that bad? i still moisturise my hair daily with water and oil without her knowing as well unless she’ll get upset with me.

Ugonna Wosu

grease is a good sealant for hair. As long as you’re not using it as a moisturizer, you should be fine. Explain to your mom that you need a water-based moisturizing lotion or leave-in conditioner, that you can use in conjunction with the grease. That these are the real moisturizers that keep your hair from breaking and that the grease will seal them in, since they contain water as the first ingredient. This could be the best way to introduce her to the idea of water being good for black hair, which you can explain later on.

Thick Nigerian Hair

Lol! She said, “wash your hair soon after getting home and it should be sufficiently dry to sleep on comfortably and fairly dry by the morning”. Unless my 4c, APL hair is in its free and 3 inch shrunken fro, my hair is GUARANTEED to take at least 24 hours. At least. On a good day. Which is almost never.

Grey Poupon

Okay?! LOL!

Signed, Thick Haitian Hair lol.


Wow, just thinking about this because my hair (especially my ends) have become so dry since cold weather has set in. I actually cowash more in the summer b/c of swimming, sweating, etc., but I think I’m going to have to throw in a mid week cowash and do more protective styling.


… I dont think there’s anything you can do for natural hair in canadian weather. In my city right now, we’re in the -30 Celsius! Yes, you read right MINUS 30! Lets not even talk about the state of my hair. I could be co-washing until im blue in the face. Dont think it would make a difference.

I don’t get dry winter hair, why you ask? I keep it in protective styles all the time, don’t manipulate it and only wash it every fortnight. I know, but it works for me. My sister has APL hair and told me that washing it too often was where I was going wrong and it seems to be working.… Another thing I do is only spritz and seal in the morning before styling my hair. Out of the three recommendations the only one I do is make sure my hair is nearly dry after washing before using a leave in.… Read more »

I am SO disliking this DC weather with highs in the 20s. I need to co-wash more but I have been documenting progress in my regimen journal

see Hair Talk @

Curly Queen

What you’re supposed to do or not to do is always changing. Previously I read that you should apply products to dripping wet hair and now this is something different. It can be hard to keep up.


Well in Barbados we don’t get winter but sometimes around this time of year the wind tends to be very cold and drys out my skin, my scalp and my hair. Whereas I just add heavy mineral oil to all my lotions and creams for my skin, I find that applying castor oil just after my hair is washed, and onto my scalp every other day thereinafter, helps to combat the drying effects of the wind.

Sapphire Blue 215

I use a moisturizing shampoo, but more importantly I do a weekly soak with coconut oil & milk mixed with water. Once a week or as needed I use jojoba oil hair jelly on my scalp. & last but not least wear protective styles.


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Law Professionals

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Caring for my hair in the winter can be quite hard. I remember my hair getting dry and not working the way I wanted it to! I have got a few things that I now do to keep my hair in good shape. Check it out!


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