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Home » My Natural Hair Care Routine for Winter and Harmattan – Type 4C hair

My Natural Hair Care Routine for Winter and Harmattan – Type 4C hair

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winter natural hair routine

This time of the year is not a friendly period for my type 4 hair. That is because the coldness makes my hair very dry. And if you are not intentional about caring for your hair, your hair will show signs of damage at the end of the cold season. Natural 4C hair reacts differently during the summer/dry and winter/wet seasons. So, it would be prudent to protect your hair during these times as well as use 4C natural hair products for winter. A natural hair winter routine at home will ensure you maintain the health of your stresses. Here are some ways you can care for your hair during the cooler periods of the year.

1. Use A Sulfate-Free or Clarifying Shampoo To Wash Your Hair

Technically, there is nothing wrong with using a sulfate-free shampoo for natural hair as an ingredient. However, when you use a sulfate-inclusive shampoo too much, it tends to dry your hair out. That is because the sulphate cleanses the hair so much that it gives it a “too clean” feeling. As much as shampoos must clean the hair, it would be detrimental to your natural hair if your shampoo leaves your hair dry.

So, during the harmattan or winter season, a sulfate-free or clarifying shampoo should be part of your natural hair products for winter. These shampoos are best because they retain more moisture in your hair. A few common sulfate-free shampoo is Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo and the Jostylin anti-dandruff shampoo. A clarifying shampoo benefits swimmers, people who use hard water, people with an itchy scalp, and people with very dry hair. One highly clarifying shampoo is the Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo.

2. Once A Week Deep Conditioning Treatment

Deep conditioning treatment for natural hair should be a must in your natural hair care winter routine for both the winter and harmattan months. That is because this treatment retains moisture and hydrates your hair. And this is something you need within this season as the atmosphere is dry, and it will affect your hair accordingly. If you regularly do not deep condition your hair, you should not joke with it this season.

It helps to also know the difference between regular conditioners and deep conditioners. Deep conditioners have a thicker consistency and are meant to stay in your hair for some time to achieve optimum results. They mostly work well with a bit of heat, so some people go for hooded dryers or heat caps. A manual or cheap way some people apply heat to their hair is to tie a plastic bag over their hair after applying the deep conditioner.

3. Regular Protein Treatment

Another thing to add to your hair care regimen during the winter/harmattan season is a regular protein treatment for natural hair. Hair is made up of keratin proteins. Thus, it must have the right balance of protein. Too much protein in your hair makes it stiff, and too little protein can also cause it to break. You must incorporate a regular protein treatment to ensure protein balance in your hair.

If you have a high manipulation routine, you must set calendar dates to apply protein treatment to your hair. However, you do not need to apply protein treatments much if you have a low-manipulation routine. Certain signs will be apparent if your hair needs this treatment. Your hair would feel strawy and will break off. The treatment reconstructs dried hair strands and brings life to your hair.

4. You Need A Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioner

Another must-have product during this dry period is a 4C hair leave-in conditioner. A leave-in conditioner is necessary when your hair is drying out but not yet washing day. It adds extra moisture to your hair and brightens its appearance. Read this article to find the best leave-in conditioner for your hair.

5. Do A Conditioner Wash When Your Hair Feels Dry

Conditioner washing, known as co-wash, uses a conditioner to wash your hair. This method is also known as the “no poo” or no shampoo method. Co-washing is a better option when you want to wash and moisturize your hair without stripping all the products in your hair. It is common knowledge that shampoos cleanse the hair of impurities, products, and pollution.

A co-wash, however, washes the hair without removing everything from the hair. So, it is acceptable to wash your hair with only conditioner. Due to this, hair brands are producing co-washing conditioners with cleansing agents to achieve clean hair without stripping the necessary oils in the hair. So, during the winter/harmattan period, you can do a conditioner wash when your hair feels dry. This practice is also good for naturals with extremely dry hair. Incorporate this routine; your hair will be grateful for this tender, loving care.

6. Apply Oils and Butter to Seal Moisture In Your Hair

As always, natural hair growth oils are vital in every hair care regimen. Heavy oils like black castor oil, almond seed, grapeseed oil, etc. and butter like shea butter, when applied to the hair during these dry periods, help to seal in moisture in the hair. It minimizes the amount of moisture that seeps into the dry chilly atmosphere. However, ensure that you use a clarifying shampoo during wash day to avoid the buildup of these products, as the oil and butter can get heavy on the hair. A valuable tip to remember when applying these products is that a little goes a long way.

7. Not The Time For Wash and Go’s

Winter/Harmattan is not the time for a wash-and-go. Failing to heed this simple piece of advice can be damaging to your hair. You can rock a wash-and-go in the summer, which is fine. But wearing this hairstyle during dry and chilly times can dry up your hair, spoil the hairstyle, and break your hair. It would help if you kept low-manipulative hairstyles like braids during this period. Keep hair manipulation at a minimum to help retain moisture.

8. Opt For Alcohol-free Gels

It is normal to naturalistas with their edges laid neatly. It is quite the trend, and we are here for it! A gel is a great product and whoever thought of it is quite the inventor. That is because it enhances our curl pattern and adds hold and shine to the hair. However, some gel products on the market are not friendly to our hair. Due to the alcohol content contained in these products, the alcohol dries out the hair and makes it flaky. That can cause hair breakage in the long term. Fortunately, you can choose from several alcohol-free hair gel products on the market.

9. Trim Your Hair

Trimming your hair is very important to your hair care and is a must in your haircare regimen. At the start of the chilly season, ensure that you trim your hair. Trimming your hair is important to your hair growth because it retains the length of your hair and keeps it healthy. It also prevents the splitting of your hair, which will keep splitting till it gets to the hair shaft. So, the longer you wait to trim your hair, the more damage will be caused to your hair. So consider trying your hair after every six weeks.

10. Stay Away From Heat Styling

Every naturalista knows that too much heat styling is not very good for the hair as it causes a lot of hair breakage. No one is saying you should not switch up your hair with a silk press or Dominican blowout once in a while. But during this chilly season, applying heat to your hair is probably not a good idea. Use the heat styling tools on your wigs instead so that you wear them to protect your hair.

11. Wear Satin Lined Hats During The Day, And Satin Bonnets/Scarfs At Night

Putting on cotton or woollen hats on your hair is detrimental to your hair. That is because cotton and wool can rub against your hair, absorb moisture and cause frizz to your hair. A satin-lined hat is more friendly for your hair. Also, get a satin bonnet/scarf to protect your hair at night. Satin reduces the chances of tangled hair when you toss and turn in your bed at night.

It also reduces the moisture in your hair from escaping. If you cover your hair with a cotton scarf or none, this situation may not be the same.

12. Change Your Routine Where Possible

The natural hair journey is all about positivity and taking the right measures to ensure your hair flourishes. If one method works for you and you see the results, it is fine to stick with it. But if it doesn’t, feel free to change it if you have to. If the routine for summer does not work out for you during the dry/winter season, change it. Do not let anyone guilt-trip into doing something that is not beneficial for your hair. Be confident about what works for you and stick with it.

13. Protective/Low Manipulation Hairstyles Is A Must

Nothing cares for your hair like protective styles or low-manipulation hairstyles during the dry/winter season. It is even better than low manipulation styles. To avoid doubt, here is the difference between these two methods: Low manipulation styling is any hairstyle that causes you not to touch the hair.

Some low-manipulation hairstyles include wash and go, pineapple updo, etc. On the other hand, a protective style hides the ends of the hair, thereby protecting it from overexposure to external elements such as friction, pollution, etc. A great example of a protective style is braids. Braids are both low manipulation and a protective style.

That is because braids do a more excellent job retaining moisture in the hair than most hairstyles.

14. Take Care Of Your Edges

It is lovely to see most naturals in fitting ponytails or buns till you realize that these buns/ponytails are costing them their edges. It is not worth it. When you put too much tension on our edges, it leads to hair loss and traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is where extreme tension is caused to your scalp (which, in this case, is your edges), which results in hair loss.

A typical symptom of alopecia is a receding hairline around the forehead, temple or nape. So, if you happen to be getting a protective hairstyle, tell your stylist not to make the braids too tight, especially around your edges. It is not that you are too bossy. It is you looking out for your hair.

15. Health Is Wealth For Your Hair.

Good food is good health. Good health means that every part of your body benefits from the nutrients in your diet. Also, never forget to hydrate. Drinking water helps with blood circulation. When there is a regular good flow of blood to the scalp, it helps to retain hair length. Therefore, target drinking 8 glasses of water each day.

The downside is that you will visit the washroom many times a day, but you will be hydrated, which is worth it. If you know you cannot tick to drinking eight glasses of water daily, try adding fresh fruits like watermelon to your diet. Again, you need to exercise. Exercise also aids with blood flow which is good for your hair and overall health.


Your hair is your responsibility, and you must care for it. How you take care of your hair says a lot about your personal branding. With all these tips, you can do no wrong when caring for your hair during the winter or harmattan season. Cheers to hair goals!


How do you take care of natural hair in harmattan?

During harmattan, keep natural hair moisturized to combat dryness and breakage. Use hydrating shampoos and conditioners, and incorporate deep conditioning treatments weekly. Protect hair with satin or silk scarves or bonnets to minimize friction and retain moisture. Limit exposure to harsh winds and dust by wearing protective styles.

Can harmattan cause hair loss?

Harmattan’s dry and dusty conditions can lead to increased hair dryness and breakage, but it typically doesn’t directly cause hair loss. However, if hair becomes excessively dry and brittle, it may be more prone to breakage, which could contribute to the appearance of thinner hair.

What is good for dry natural hair?

For dry natural hair, focus on deep hydration and moisture retention. Use sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. Incorporate leave-in conditioners, natural oils like coconut or jojoba, and shea butter to seal in moisture. Regular deep conditioning treatments and protective styling can also help combat dryness.

What can I do with my natural hair in the winter?

In winter, protect your natural hair by keeping it moisturized and minimizing exposure to harsh weather. Opt for protective styles like braids, twists, or buns to retain moisture and reduce breakage. Use satin or silk-lined hats and scarves to prevent friction and preserve moisture. Regular deep conditioning and scalp massages help combat dryness.

How can I take care of my hair in winter naturally?

Taking care of your hair naturally in winter involves keeping it moisturized and protected from the cold, dry air. Opt for sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to prevent stripping natural oils. Use hydrating oils like coconut or olive oil to seal in moisture. Limit heat styling and embrace protective styles like braids or twists to retain moisture. Regular deep conditioning treatments and scalp massages help combat dryness and promote healthy hair growth.

How often should you wash your natural hair in the winter?

In winter, wash your natural hair less frequently to prevent dryness caused by cold weather. Aim for washing once every 1-2 weeks, or as needed based on your scalp’s condition. Use sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to retain natural oils and prevent over-drying. Consider co-washing (using conditioner only) between washes to refresh and hydrate your hair. Adjust your washing frequency based on how your hair responds to the winter climate.

How do I keep my 4C hair moisturized in the winter?

To keep your 4C hair moisturized during winter, follow these tips:

  1. Deep condition regularly: Use deep conditioning treatments weekly to replenish moisture and strengthen your hair.
  2. Seal in moisture: After washing or conditioning, apply a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing cream, then seal with a natural oil like jojoba or avocado oil to lock in moisture.
  3. Protective styling: Wear protective styles like braids, twists, or buns to minimize exposure to harsh weather conditions and retain moisture.
  4. Limit heat styling: Reduce the use of heat styling tools to prevent further drying out your hair.
  5. Satin or silk accessories: Sleep with a satin or silk bonnet or use satin or silk-lined hats and scarves to prevent moisture loss and minimize friction.
  6. Hydrate from within: Drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients to support overall hair health.

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