Beauty All Natural 7 Tips for Preventing Natural Hair Breakage This Winter Gotta combat the havoc cold weather brings. By Danielle James Danielle James Twitter Danielle James is a New York-based journalist who covers all things fashion, beauty, and celebrity. She is also the founder of Model Citizen, a sustainable fashion company that encourages peer-to-peer clothing sharing and supports emerging designers. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on December 23, 2021 @ 10:00AM Pin Share Tweet Email It's a winter wonderland outside — but unfortunately, even with holiday cheer and snow abound, this time of year wreaks havoc on natural hair. Winter sucks the moisture out of our curls and coils, leaving hair dry, brittle, and susceptible to breakage. So for your winter hair routine, it needs to be all about hydration. Moisturized strands leads to flexible, buoyant hair that is less likely to experience breakage. That's why ensuring you are using products that fight dryness of your scalp and lock in moisture will help your hair flourish in the cooler months. "Breakage happens when the [hair] cuticle has been damaged," explains pro hairstylist Madison Dufour. "Once the cuticle has been cracked and damaged to that degree, there is no reversing it." Dufour, along with former Bumble and Bumble product development manager and founder of Allyoos, Samantha Denis share the best tips to avoiding hair breakage this winter. 10 of the Best Natural Hair Wigs to Buy When You Want to Give Your Curls a Break Secure Your Hair Higher Than Your Neckline Believe it or not, your winter style can be causing breakage to your hair. "When coat collars are high, scarves are on, and hair is down, our hair is wrestling with the wind and fabric of what we're wearing," explains Denis. In other words, your hair is getting tangled, matted, and knotted when it rubs against clothing, which can lead to breakage. So instead of letting your 'fro out, die your hair up, and if it's hiding under a hat, protect with a silk or satin lining. Don't Overdo It With Ponytails Tying your hair too tightly, especially when it's wet, can lead to breakage. "Hair has a fluctuating level of elasticity that changes when it is wet or dry. If the strand is stretched too tightly when wet and forced to dry, it damages the elasticity and weakens the cuticle by stretching it," explains Dufour. Be mindful of hairstyles like high ponytails and overly tight large braids that can cause tension on the scalp and stress on the hair follicles. Getty Images Use a Hair Treatment Once a Week We often think of summer as the dry hair season. But winter is also a time when our hair is fragile because of brisk wind, cold temperatures, and all the accessories like hats and scarves that are rubbing against our hair causing friction and possibly breakage. "Using a weekly hair treatment will help reboot shine, softness, and hydration and will also help reseal cuticle and smooth haggard-looking strands," says Denis. Only Wash Your Hair When It's Dirty Wash day once a week is more than enough to keep your curls cleansed in the winter months. Over washing your hair can "strip it of good oils," shares Dufour. "When you do wash your hair, do a final quick rinse of cold water to close the cuticle before getting out of the shower." Always Use a Heat Protectant When you are getting a silk press in the winter, curling your hair, or using a flat iron, always use a heat protectant. "A heat protectant will seal the cuticle and help keep it from lifting and staying open, and if there is any burn off from the heat it will be the product burning and not the hair itself," states Dufour. Add In a Leave-In Conditioner Every time you wash your hair, you need to follow-up with a leave-in conditioner. "Winter is a very dry season, when the weather changes the cuticle and the pores of your skin open and close more often from traveling from a warm building to the cold outside, allowing moisture to leave the skin and hair more often," says Dufour. A heavier leave-in conditioner, like a cream-based formula, will be heavy enough to protect your hair in the winter months. Opt For a Natural Bristle Brush After wearing a hat and scarf, your hair is probably full of static and knotty. Gently brush your hair with a natural bristle brush when you come inside before you restyle your hair. "A natural bristle brush [will] smooth out cuticles and brush away knots," reveals Denis. This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.