How To Maintain Curly Hair In The Winter

I have a confession to make: I used to be a winter hair straightener. All summer long, I let my natural curls fly free, but once the cold weather hits it's a strict regiment of hot tool-induced flatness every morning. But this year, I made a pledge to myself that it's possible to wear curly hair in the winter, too. Not only is blow drying and straightening annoyingly time consuming, it's also not so good for your precious locks. And I personally believe all of our hair deserves better than that.

Just because the days fun in the sun are months behind us (or, if you're an optimist, ahead of us) doesn't mean that our beach waves have to be, too. It is totally acceptable to rock your curls all year round, and it actually doesn't take a whole lot of effort to do it. In fact, all you need are the right products.

For anyone who, like me, is sick of waking up an hour earlier from November through April (and it's so, so dark in the morning during those months, you guys.), here are five products that you can use to help rock your curly hair in all its glory during the winter.

1. Curl Shampoo

Salma Hayek Blue Agave Curls And Waves Shampoo, $8, CVS

We's all seen the commercials — beautiful hair starts before you get out of the shower. I personally swear by this shampoo and conditioner combo by Nuance by Salma Hayek (though if you know anything about me you know I swear by anything Salma Hayek), but your best bet is to look for anything in the shampoo aisle that's formulated specifically for curls to help maintain your natural bounce and luster.

2. Deep Conditioner

Morroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask, $35, Barneys

So, I am definitely guilty of not deep conditioning as often as I should (meaning that I literally never do it) but it's especially important in the winter, when the cold air can dry out your hair. Challenge yourself to sleep with a hydrating hair mask in once a week, which shouldn't be too hard considering you have to wash your hair

3. Curl Cream

OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream, $8, Amazon

I personally prefer curl cream, like this one from TK, to mousse, because it doesn't leave my hair crunchy and weird looking. After towel drying, rub the cream into your palms, flip your head over and scrunch your curls like crazy. In this case, there is no such thing as too much scrunch. I promise.

4. A Diffuser

Conair 3Q Brushless Hair Dryer, $76, Amazon

I'm a die-hard air drier (much to my former boss's chagrin, who hated it when I showed up to work with wet hair) but even I'll admit that it's pretty much impossible to leave the house with wet hair when it's below 40 degrees. I may sound like your grandma, but it actually will give you pneumonia. Invest in a diffuser so you can wash your hair in the morning but still end up with curly flow before you leave the house.

5. Salt Spray

Herbivore Coconut + Sea Salt Beach Wave Hair Mist, $20, Sephora

If I had to pick one beauty product to be stranded on a desert island with, salt spray would be it. Spritz into your hair when it's wet, and it will dry as if you've just taken a dip in the ocean. Or use with dry hair to refresh flattened curls to extend your hair-washing another few hours (... or days.)

6. A Good Old Fashioned Scrunchie

Glittery Scrunchie, $4, Top Shop

I know, I know — according to Carrie Bradshaw, women from New York don't wear scrunchies (if you don't know what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and download SATC Season 6 episode 4... and yes I knew that off the top of my head) but even she says it's totally acceptable when you're going to bed. If you want to wash your hair at night instead of in the morning, put in some curl cream before bed and throw your hair into a big, messy bun on top of your head. Use a scrunchie instead of an elastic so you won't damage your hair while you sleep, and come morning you'll have an insane head of gorgeous curls.

7. Dry Shampoo

Batiste Dry Shampoo, $8, Dermstore

Just because you're wearing your hair curly does not mean you're stuck washing it more often. Put dry shampoo in before bed (and before you put your hair in your cuuuuute scrunchie bun) and you'll wake up with a stunning set of second day waves.