Your girl Afrobella is having a beauty crisis of her very own. It’s getting colder and colder here in Chicago, and I can’t hide from it forever… my first winter is just around the corner. My skin’s becoming noticeably dryer, and my hair… well let’s just say my hair seems to be trying to acclimate to the changes. My coil pattern has stretched out somewhat, my hair feels and looks dryer to the touch, and the less said about my scalp, the better.

I had some ideas about what I needed to do to resolve these issues and winterize my natural ‘do, but just in the nick of time, a hero came along.


I recently interviewed Nikki Walton, better known as Curly Nikki. Her blog is so focused, informative, and welcoming – truly a breath of fresh air in the natural community. Love me some Curly Nikki! You can read my whole interview over at AOL Black Voices — Nikki shared details on everything from her own interest and expertise in natural hair care, to her predictions and hopes for the future of black hair. And she answered a special question for me.

I recently moved from Miami to Chicago, and I’m about to encounter my first winter! Any advice for me re: winterizing my hair routine?

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 conditioner stylers until summer rolls back around. I recently wrote an article on Winter Routines, and recommended 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
-Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration or Totally Twisted (Walmart)
-Generic Value Paul Mitchell the Detangler (Sally’s)

-Jane Carter Solution Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner
-Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana
-Miss Jessies Creme de la Creme
-Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner
-Generic Value Matrix Conditioning Balm (Sally’s)

Remember to seal in your water-based moisturizer or conditioner with shea buter, 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!

OK, I already LOVE DevaCare One Condition, and I’ve tried some other Curl Junkie product samples (thanks to the generosity of my girl Brittany of Clumps of Mascara and Loc Rocker!) but have never tried Jessicurl before. And I keep hearing bellas rave over Herbal Essences, which hasn’t done anything for my coils in the past…but maybe I’m up for a refresher course.

So that’s the winter hair advice I got from Curly Nikki! Once again, clicky click to read our whole interview on AOL Black Voices.

For my bellas who have been living in a cold climate and dealing with winter weather year in, year out – what do you advise a newbie like me to do?


lee says:
October 27, 2009, 12:51 pm
this came right on time! i couldn't figure out why my hair was getting dry and crunchy after i used my glycerin/aloe mix. i will hold on to those for the summer. thanks curly nikki and afrobella for helping us newbies out. :)
Tiffc says:
October 27, 2009, 1:32 pm
Afrobella- I also suffer from the dry,ashy skin in the winter as well. I have a head full of year and half old locs. New York City weather can be bad but nothing compared to Chi-town! One thing that I think every woman with dry skin, hair and scalp should have at her disposal is a humidifier. It puts that well needed moisture in the air and helps to keep ash at bay. It works for me...maybe you should try it too!
mojo says:
October 27, 2009, 1:35 pm
NOOOO! NOT my GVP Conditioning Balm...that stuff is definitely on my list of holy grails! =( Oh well, glad to see HE Hello Hydration made the cut for winter haircare...I love that stuff. Wasn't too impressed by some of the other lines, but Hello Hydration is good. Last winter was my first winter as a natural in many moons. Much to my dismay, my hair doesn't really get along with pure undoctored shea butter too well, and coconut oil made my hair feel hard when I was out in the elements. I switched to Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme for everyday moisture and classic extra virgin olive oil to seal in my leave-ins (usually GVP Paul Mitchell the Conditioner) after cowashing. This winter, I am thinking I will go the Qhemet Biologics route and order some of their heavier moisturizers. I'll be sure to stalk the comment section for more tips!
Robin says:
October 27, 2009, 1:51 pm
Yup...welcome to Chicago. I frowned at myself just this morning. I'm usually the wash and go type in the summer months (even tho we hardly had a summer this year) but this is impossible in darn near any other season in Chicago. I hate having to braid or twist at night, so my hair usually ends up in a sad pony puff or tail. I have recently discovered Herbal Essence Hello Hydration after hearing rave reviews. I was doubting it cuz I like to shell out a halfway decent amount of money on a conditioner but this stuff rocks on both my tight spirals and my daughters coarser z pattern. LOVE IT!! Thanks for the tips. I have to remember to seal seal seal with castor, coconut, or olive oil.
nichole says:
October 27, 2009, 2:48 pm
This is wonderful! A lot of people never understand the pattern of changing their hair care products based on the weather. I have a couple of winter conditions in Vancouver that I need to adjust my hair routine. I'm looking forward to trying some of these products.
Moni says:
October 27, 2009, 3:20 pm
I'm about to go into my third winter as a natural in Michigan, so I definitely have lots of experience fighting the cold weather. My hg product line during this time is Qhemets Biologics. They are superb at imparting moisture, moisture and more moisture to my parched hair. I especially love the burdock root butter cream, which is on the lighter side for those of of with finer hair, but still provides plenty of moisture. Bella, you can get it on the ground in the Chicago area from Heritage Health Foods in Country Club Hills. If you're into mixing, my homemade shealoe was also a fantastic moisturizer. It's basically just shea butter, aloe vera gel and oil (I used coconut) mixed together. You can play around with proportions or google for an exact recipe. I also keep my hair in protective styles for most of winter, which helps to keep it from drying out.
LBell says:
October 27, 2009, 6:02 pm
I'm having a "D'oh!" moment right now...I'm in the process of experimenting with daily co-washing (yes, even in the Midwest, with winter approaching) and today is the day I decided to experiment with using Long Aid Curl Activator Gel for Extra Dry Hair...yep, the one with "27% more glycerin." No wonder my hair looks Extra Dry! And that was with co-washing with Hello Hydration (which I love to pieces). Tomorrow I'm going back to oil- and butter-based leave-ins! GRRR! (In general, what may be too heavy for you in the summer should work in the winter, esp. in Chicago. Start with a small amount and increase as needed.)
Ericka says:
October 27, 2009, 6:10 pm
Jessicurl Aloeba is my favorite conditioner of all time. I use it as a leave in as well. This was the conditioner that cured me from being a product junkie, it's that good.
Lovelyn says:
October 27, 2009, 7:20 pm
I moved from Florida to England last year. Now in the winters I'm all about shea butter and two strand twists to keep my hair healthy.
Jessica says:
October 27, 2009, 8:30 pm
I'm also in Chicago and I can't get through the winter without lots and lots of hats. Does anyone have any tips on creating a silk or satin liner for hats?
alicia says:
October 27, 2009, 10:01 pm
Shea Butter is good, hair serum also good. I haven't actually lined my hats but if you wrap a silk scarf around your hair first and then put you hat... you should be golden. Also hoods are great especially ones that can be tied...Chi-town winds are no joke.
Rhonda562 says:
October 27, 2009, 10:30 pm
Great Tips...I love curly hair but its so hard for me to get mine to stay moisturized when I try and wear it curly..Will try some of those products and hope they will work.
Toneahh says:
October 28, 2009, 7:33 am
For years I had problems with my scalp. So much so that I had to go to the doctor's office about it. With all of the creams and moisturizers they gave my scalp was still excesively dry. A couple of months ago I got my hair braided and every day I put coconut oil on my scalp and wore my heating cap for a 1/2 hour. My scalp hasn't been dry even a little bit. Though I used hot oil treatments all the time I never consentrated on my scalp. I wish I did this years ago. Now I oil my scalp with heated coconut oil weekly.
Toneahh says:
October 28, 2009, 7:35 am
For years I had problems with my scalp. So much so that I had to go to the doctor's office about it. With all of the creams and moisturizers they gave my scalp was still excessively dry. A couple of months ago I got my hair braided and every day I put coconut oil on my scalp and wore my heating cap for a 1/2 hour. My scalp hasn't been dry even a little bit. Though I used hot oil treatments all the time I never concentrated on my scalp. I wish I did this years ago. Now I oil my scalp with heated coconut oil weekly.
Eco Beauty says:
October 28, 2009, 8:13 am
Hey I have a great sollution... Try some of our organic skin care products... they are really good...
Janelle says:
October 28, 2009, 11:14 am
I agree with Tiffc, a humidifier does wonders for keeping moisture in your hair and skin in the winter, especially with the dry heat coming through the pipes (so hot in my apt, I've been known to flip on the ac in Mostly during the winter, I straighten my hair or if I'm wearing it curly, I still do a wash and go but change my morning routine a bit to allow my hair to dry (mostly) by the time I walk out the door. I'm interested in trying some of these products Nikki listed. I love her site btw....great informative info.
Ayanna says:
October 28, 2009, 11:47 am
Okay - Chicagoan born, bred and I HATE wearing hats. Now more than ever, since I already have a big head and now my hair won't fit under anything anyway. Since going natural, I've had to give up daily washing of any kind, so I did take Nikki's advice and cowash 2x week and deep condition with heat once a week. I swear by Jessicurl deep conditioner for my weekly treatments and for styling after my washes. I'm also a huge fan of sealing my end with either shea butter or oyin shine and define. Lastly, because I've had to give up the wash and go, i've moved on to the now famous CN twist and Curl - and it works for me and might be worth a try for you too. My products: Wash: Creme of Nature (old habits die hard!)every two weeks maybe even once a month. Condition: Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose conditioner each time as a cowash Deep Condition: with heat using Jessicurl Style: Jessicurl Too shea deep conditioner, Blended Beauty setting lotion (Loooove it!) To protect my hair in the winter, I usually outfit myself with tons of scarves and layer under them a variety of silks and satins to protect from breakage. I'm also trying to incorporate protective styles - but we'll see about that. Protective style = black suffragette - LOL! Peace!
Kemi says:
October 28, 2009, 2:14 pm
Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose is on sale at Whole Paycheck ("Whole Foods") for about $7.00. That stuff is the BUSINESS!! I tried it and my hair looked so good with just that in it. Nothing else. I was impressed. Bypass the other Herbal Essence products dear Bella and make your way straight to Hello Hydration -- smells heavenly and feels heavenly. Tressemme is great for a cowash that is a bit more moisturizing than the usual suspects.
Angelique says:
October 28, 2009, 9:27 pm
Girl its not even cold yet wait until January comes around then cold will be an understatement but I didn't have problems with humecants although it was cold the air isn't real dry for some reason the humidity and dew point are pretty high to normal. BTW loved the article on aol!!!
Nic says:
October 29, 2009, 2:07 am
Thank u for the informative post!! what if the humectant is at the very end of the ingredient list? my favorite conditioner has glycerin in it but it's the second to last ingredient, so i wonder if it is still appropriate to use for winter? Anybody know? peace and blessings
paradisebird says:
October 29, 2009, 2:46 pm
this post just came in time. winter over here (berlin) is really cold and this year i really wnt to be prepared. Thanks to curlynikki and afrobella for this! and-YAY- I can get the jessicurl stuff in germany!!! only thing missing is a pair of ugg boots to combat my cold feet :-)......
Wes says:
October 31, 2009, 12:32 am
LOVE HER!! She's my Hairoine too :-)
Karabella says:
November 3, 2009, 2:56 pm
I have used Herbal Essense Totally Twisted for a few years, and I like it. I have been using the new Pantene with Cassia, it seems to be working really well. I have lived in Iowa and Chicago, and I find that, during the winter, I deep condition with a mix of olive oil, grapeseed oil, and sweet almond oil. For daily styling, I either use Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme or an aloe-based gel, applied after conditioning in the shower. I wear beret-style hats a lot so that my hair is not completely flattened by hats!
Shooaholic says:
September 13, 2011, 8:33 pm
Welcome to the Midwest! Having lived here in the Midwest all my life & been natural for over 8 years now. Here's what I've done. Any hat I have, I've sewn in a silk lining into it. You can get remnants 50% off & use a coupon @JoAnn Fabrics. Tons of protective styling...buns, wigs, my favorite is to braid/twist my hair into about 16-20 braids/twists then pin them up. It is a very neat and nice look. I get a boat load of compliments on that style. Never ever neglect your weekly deep conditioning. Water is still the hair's bestfriend but, I usually only wet it at night so I am not going to work with a wet head. My sealant is macadamia nut oil &/or REAL avocado oil (Whole Foods in the cooking section near produce) & my butter mixture (forgive me if I spell them incorrectly...shea, cocoa, mango, cucua & avocado butters all together with the oils previously mentioned along with coconut oil). Expensive, yes, but it lasts me all Fall/Winter well into the Spring close to Summer and I use it for my body too. HTH.
Shooaholic says:
September 13, 2011, 8:42 pm
Well dang! Where in the world have I been? The original post for this was nearly 2 years ago. My bad...oh well...better late than never. Another note I drn't worry about dry hair or dry skin during this season because I don't have either die to my mixtures.
DC says:
October 5, 2011, 3:18 pm
My hair had been very dry and brittle due to the winter weather, and I had tried everything from hot oils, to cholesterol, to mayonnaise, to reconstructive therapies. None of it was helping, and since I blow dry and flat iron my hair, I really needed some help. I bought the entire line of Hydrate products from Shielo Hair Care (Hydrate Shampoo, Hydrate Conditioner and Hydrate Sealing Mist), and with JUST ONE USE ends are no longer frizzy and dry, and my hair is silky. The Hydrate Sealing Mist is very light, so it doesn't leave your hair feeling greasy. I am a believer of these products, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has dry damaged hair!!!
Marian Marius says:
November 1, 2011, 3:38 am
Thank you ever so for you blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Great.
Angelita says:
December 1, 2011, 7:36 pm
Loving my hair and all of you too.
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