Naturalistas have it hard in the winter. In the summer, our lovely curls can remain moisturized and hydrated for hours on end. In the winter, however, it becomes nearly impossible to lock that moisture into our natural hair. This is especially true if you’re from the Midwest or North, where it gets pretty frigid

After seven years of being natural and surviving multiple Chicago winters, I had to learn the hard way that winter hair care is important. The cold can be drying to our hair and can even make you sick during extreme weather. So here are my tips on caring for your curls during the colder seasons

Don’t wash your hair as often

I know it sounds weird, but it works. If you wash your hair often in the winter, it strips away the moisture by constantly washing your hair. Washing every two weeks is the suggested wash routine. When I was a freshman in college, I attempted to loc my hair. Because I wanted my hair to loc quickly, I didn't wash as often or bother my hair at all for that matter. By using this method, I retained so much length in a short period of time

Protective styles are your friend

Protective styling is avoiding over-manipulation, chemical and environmental elements. Some common protective styles are braids, twists and updos, but the possibilities are endless. As long as you're letting your hair relax for two weeks to a couple of months at a time, you are protective styling. This method really helps with retaining length and locking in that moisture. My locs are an example of protective styling. It’s too cold in the winter to constantly style your hair anyway. Get a style that can last a while

natural hair protected in the winter

Just wear a hat

Hats are easy for many reasons. They protect your hair, keep you warm, they're cute, they're trendy, and it’s so easy to wear one. Just throw it on and go. You can wake up and not do anything to your hair, but it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a beanie!

Deep condition

It's important to deep condition your natural hair all year round. But it’s even more important in the winter when the weather is drying. By deep conditioning, you’re helping your hair lock in that moisture. And by washing your hair less frequently, it’s staying locked in for longer periods of time. Always remember this as well — you can never deep condition too often

With the winter among us, these tips will be extremely helpful for the naturalistas out there. By establishing a winter hair care regimen, you can increase your chances of retaining length and moisture

Good luck on your hair journey!