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Winter Tips for Curly Hair

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Whether you've got soft waves or tight ringlets, as winter approaches it’s time to switch the way you care for and style your hair. That wash and wear 'do you could sport in the summer won't work in freezing temperatures. Not to mention, hat hair takes on a whole different meaning for girls with curls. So we chatted with coil guru Lorraine Massey about the most important tricks for this season.

1. Prep hair before covering it up.

The roots of your curls can be flattened by a hat, hood, scarf, or earmuffs. "To prevent this, apply gel directly to a hair clip or bobby pin. Then place the clip or pin at the roots of the hair perpendicular to the scalp," suggests Lorraine. "This keeps the roots elevated while the opposing weight—what you’re covering your curls with—is pressing down on them. After taking off your outerwear, use two hands to remove the clips or bobby pins." (That is, hold the hair with one hand and remove the clip or pin with the other so as not to rip or pull your strands.)

2. Give your ends extra attention.

"The ends of your curly hair can get extra parched in winter because of the friction created when your hair rubs against things like wool and other heavy fabrics" says Lorraine. Because curly hair is naturally extra dry, this just makes matters worse. "Be sure to condition the ends of your hair in the shower, and to leave some conditioner on them rather than rinsing it all out. Also, seal the ends with a silicone-free, alcohol-free product." You can warm up conditioner in the microwave before applying it to your hair—just make sure it’s not too hot. Also, “don’t over-scrunch the ends of wet hair when you get out of the shower—it removes too much moisture. Instead, slip into a terry cloth robe or hoodie to temporarily catch drips before using a diffuser."

3. Be careful when putting on and taking off your coat and scarf.

"Hair gets trapped under a jacket or scarf, and if you tug at the hair or rip it out from under these things, it can rip and fray," says Lorraine. "The same goes for hair that gets trapped under the strap of your handbag, so first lift your handbag strap and then move your hair off your shoulder."

4. Blow-dry with extra care.

"If the weather is freezing and you can’t leave the house with wet hair, you can use a blow-dryer, but only do so with a diffuser on low to medium heat and don’t touch your hair with hands or a brush," says Lorraine. "If possible, use a diffuser without blowing them around and causing frizz. Or use a free-standing hooded dryer.” Another option?  “If you drive to work, turn the heat on in the car. This creates a little micro-climate that allows moisture from the products in your hair to lock in faster, keeps the hair cuticle closed, and evaporates the water.”

5. Nourish hair with a homemade brew.

Whip this up at home so that you can nourish the ends of your hair. "Combine one to three teaspoons of olive oil, jojoba oil, or shea butter with two to four drops of pure essential oil like lavender, verbena, or vanilla and apply this to the ends of your hair," says Lorraine. "Cover your hair turban-style with a plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then combine the juice of one large lemon with your usual amount of conditioner and use this to rinse the oil mixture thoroughly from your hair."

Lorraine Massey is the owner of Devachan Salons and Spa (three in New York City and one on the West Coast) and coauthored the best-selling book Curly Girl: The Handbook. Since opening her first salon in 1993, Lorraine has worked tirelessly to help women learn to embrace their hair's natural texture and love what they have. She has also helped create a collection of products, DevaCurl, formulated specifically for curly-hair.