Wintertime can be a rough season for black women. Not only do we have to remain hyper-vigilant about moisturizing (ashy skin is a big no-no), but we also have to go the extra mile to make sure our hair is properly hydrated. Seasonal elements like wind, dry air, and cold temperatures have been known to wreak havoc on already-fragile strands. And as most naturalistas know, lack of moisture = breakage. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
So to help out all of the Afro-Latinas who are struggling to keep their strands shiny and their rizos bouncy in the midst of the roughest season of the year, we’ve compiled a list of protective and low-heat hairstyles for black hair this winter. Check it out below!
1. Jumbo Flexi Rods
Flexi rods are the perfect tool to use if you want looser, bouncier curls without resorting to damaging your hair with heat styling. Jumbo Flexi Rods are one of the latest trends that have been sweeping Instagram’s natural hair community. Devotees love them because they’re low maintenance, low-damage, and long-lasting. Not to mention, they’re fun to put in!
2. Box Braids with Triangle Parts
Since box-braids made a huge comeback in the last few years, black women have been putting their own spin on the protective-style staple. The latest craze is parting your braids into triangular sections as opposed to the traditional “box” parts. That makes this style both protective and trendy.
3. Faux Locs
Faux-loc extensions are a stylish and low-maintenance way for black women to keep their hair protected from cold, wind, and dry climates during the winter. So, not only do they protect your hair from breaking, but they are 100% Instagram-able.
4. Senegalese Twists
Senegalese twists have been around for years, but they’ve recently gone through a renaissance. All you need to do is search Instagram or Youtube for your favorite natural hair beauty guru, and you’ll find a picture or video of her rocking this stylish ‘do. And like box braids and faux-locs above, this hairstyle is almost always extensions, so your natural hair will be protected from the harsh winter climate.
5. Roller Set/Tension Rollers
Tension Rollers are great for black women who want to occasionally wear their hair straight without worrying about compromising their natural curl pattern. The look is achieved by naturally stretching the hair follicle over a jumbo curler. The curl is then “set” under a hair dryer. Because this look is done with low heat, there is less damage, and therefore less breakage. It’s a perfect look for Holiday special occasions.
6. Clip-In Pony Tail
The clip-in ponytail is perfect for the woman who wants to look fierce but has a limited amount of time to do so (and let’s be honest–isn’t that all of us?). Many of us are in the thick of our natural hair journeys and our lengths might not be exactly where we want them to be just yet. Say what you want about clip-in extensions, but there’s no denying that they’re fast and they get the job done. If you’re worried about clip-in extensions looking too obviously artificial, invest a little more money in real hair.
7. Micro Braids
What little black girl didn’t pine after Brandy’s era-defining micro-braids in the 90s? Well we’re in luck, because the look is finally making a comeback! While not as low-maintenance as box braids and Senegalese twists (micro-braids are known to tangle), they’re still a protective style. Not to mention, the braids’ thin width makes them easy to style into other hairdos like twists and braids.
8. Braided Updo
If you’re tired of extensions, but you don’t quite have the time (or energy) to commit to brutal wash n’ go’s, then a braided updo might just be the middle-ground you’ve been searching for. A half-braided ‘do is the type of look that looks much more elegant and time-consuming than it actually is. Go to your trusty salon (or maybe your madre or tía, if they’re talented) and ask them to cornrow your hair only halfway through your crown. Not only will it be less time-consuming, it will be less expensive too.
9. The Whitney Bob
If you’re in the middle of your grow-out phase after the big chop, don’t despair! This phase can be one of the most rewarding when it comes to playing with edgy haircuts and experimenting with hairstyles. One vintage mid-length cut that’s going through a renaissance is “The Whitney” afro-bob. But before you get this cut, make sure your stylist knows exactly what you want, because shape is everything when it comes to this style. Once you’ve achieved the desired cut, stick to roller sets for a low-heat, loose-curl look.
10. Hat With High Pony
The ultimate Bad Hair Day style has been transformed into the look of Instagram queens everywhere. If you’re in between protective styles, or you’re not about that extension life, a baseball cap and a high pony are a surefire way to disguise the state of your fifth- (or sixth-) day curls. All you need to do is throw your hair up into a high pony, place the pony through the cap’s closure, and mist your hair with some curl-reviving spray to bring it back to life. Voila! Instant Insta-baddie.
11. Mini Bantu Knots
Have you ever spent what felt like hours on your hair only to realize that you have to do it all again on the other side of your part? Well you’re in luck, because the Trend Gods have spoken, and they have determined that one-sided hairstyles are so in this winter. Especially one-sided mini-bantu knots. So you can claim your throne as a trend-setter and a women who protects her ends!
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