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Winter vs The Lazy Natural: Discovering How to Care for Afro Hair in the Colder Months

Efia Mainoo, Founder & CEO of BlackOwned MCR, journeys through the best natural hair tips for winter with the help of Curl Specialist Chloé Elliott.

As much as I love all my curls, kinks and coils, being a self-professed ‘lazy natural’ means that caring for my Afro hair can get a little draining at times. My impatience means that I switch products regularly, don’t prioritise hair health as best as I should, and often opt for a protective style as soon as September hits to avoid dealing with winter frizz, shrinkage and breakage.

But what happens when this aforementioned lazy natural takes on the challenge of exclusively wearing their natural hair over winter? No shortcuts, no cop-outs, just full Afro. Firstly, it meant locking down a haircare routine that works for me. But how should we accommodate for colder weather?

Understanding My Current Hair Care Routine

“There’s a lot of elements of our hair care that we can control, but the weather isn’t one of them,” says Chloé Elliott, accredited Curl Specialist and Founder & CEO of Odyssey Box. Chloé’s speciality is ‘Wash & Go’s’, a low-manipulation Afro hairstyle that showcases your natural curl pattern – something which I have been trying to adopt myself.

Speaking with Chloé, it became clear that just adding some heavy butters and oils into my current washday wasn’t going to be the quick fix I thought. “If you are [already] maintaining a routine that adequately hydrates your hair, your routine doesn’t have to change that much,” adds Chloé.

As someone already battling dry hair in summer, it was time to investigate my current hair care regimen to help me through winter. Is my shampoo hydrating enough? Do I need to be more consistent with my deep conditioning sessions? Is my current styling gel too drying? All of which will go on to impact hair health, especially in winter.


Shampoo Conditioner

Trialling Seasonal Products

But a great hair care routine may still need tweaking slightly depending on the changing weather. “I might actually top my Wash & Go with a light cream because then you get the hold of the gel but the flexibility of that cream styler,” says Chloé, speaking on how she adapts her washdays to accommodate winter temperatures.

Once your hair care essentials are locked in, you can keep the same shampoo, conditioner and products year-round, but that final finishing touch may look a little different depending on the season. Basically, you should switch up the toppings on your proverbial washday sundae come wintertime.

Protective Styling in Winter: Yay or Nae?

One burning question I had for Chloé during our sit-down was about protective styling. It is something that has been my go-to for years during winter, mainly because it is taught as essential for kinky Afro hair.

“It’s not a necessity to kind of tuck your hair away for winter, and you’re not damaging your hair by leaving it out in the cold,” Chloé goes on to explain. “It boils down to how good your haircare habits are in general as to what effects a protective style will have for you.”

So, if you’re still itching to switch up your look for some knotless braids, faux locs or want to try some passion twists come wintertime, that’s perfectly fine! So long as your hair is hydrated and healthy going into your style and you’re staying consistent with your routine. There’s no reason why you can’t experiment with protective styling, but it isn’t the only option for us during the winter.

Healthy Haircare Habits

Ultimately, prioritising hair health during these colder months is the key, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. It really can be as simple as “cleanse, condition, style,” as Chloé reminded me towards the end of our time together.

Establishing healthy haircare habits is what’s going to get us through winter – so stay consistent, stay hydrated and stay fabulous out there, curl friends!

Special thank you to Chloé Elliott – get more curl-friendly tips directly from Chloé at @curlygalchlosalon

You can discover more of Manchester’s braid, wig, locs, natural hair and beauty scene at @blackownedmcr

About BlackOwned MCR

BlackOwned MCR is a community-based enterprise that showcases Manchester’s black-owned beauty businesses. From braiders to nail artists, we focus on creating visibility in Manchester’s black beauty scene through our online community and in-person events.

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