Ah, fall! Everyone’s favourite season.
The air is as crisp as paper, unlike the sticky humidity from the season before. The weather is still warm during the day, but now the nights and evenings are slowly starting to cool.
And don’t get me started on the clothes! Fall fashion is the best fashion. Leather jackets, chunky sweaters, blanket scarfs, oh my!
But ladies, now is not the time to rescind on your curly hair routine. We mastered how to keep our curls healthy, bouncy and moisturized in the summer, but fall is a total beast altogether.
The weather is highly variable within one single day, and the introduction of heavier clothing into our wardrobe can take a toll on our strands, especially the ends.
So, how do we make our curls popping, but keep our swagger looking right?
Here are the top ten tips you need to include in your fall curly hair routine:
1. Protect Your Ends
Fall = scarves and sweaters. We know that, duh.
But what you may not know is that the ends of your curls will get caught on your wools, which can accelerate split end formation. Your fall curly hair routine will be for naught because your ends will be splitting!
To combat this, keep your hair in a ponytail or pineapple, away from the nape of your neck.
If your hair is on the medium/shorter end, or if you prefer to wear your hair down, take your pretty scarves to a seamstress and get them satin lined. Your hats must be satin lined to protect the rest of hair, too.
2. Deep Condition Weekly, With Heat
This is an essential part of all curly hair regimen, regardless of season.
But this is especially true for your fall curly hair routine!
Did you know that deep conditioning with heat can make the difference between lifeless, dull hair and moisturized, defined curls?
Using heat, usually in the form of steam from a hair steamer, will open up the cuticles in your hair strands. This allows the conditioner to really penetrate, due to the greenhouse effect.
This will give your hair the extra moisture it will need in the drier, colder months.
Hair steamers are bulky and on the expensive side – who got time for that? So if you can’t get one, purchase a hair dryer attachment, like the one here. It’s affordable (only $13 CAD and $ 10 USD!), compact and easy to store.
Use it with your favourite deep conditioner, and take note of how soft your hair will be. Be sure to rinse it out with cold water and use a moisturizing leave-in (see below) to lock in the newly added moisture.
3. Pre-Poo With Oil
Pre-pooing is a must in the colder months. It will allow for your curls to retain its natural moisture after the clarifying process. Otherwise, you could end up with hair drier than the Sahara.
Use your favourite oil and leave in conditioner to first detangle your hair prior to entering the shower. Add more oil, give myself a head massage (see below for more on this) and let it sit for about an hour. You can also do this the night before your wash day and leave it in overnight to really let the oil soak.
Shampoo and condition as normal the next day, ensuring that you rinse out the conditioner with cold water. Out of the shower, your hair will be shiny, soft, defined and moisturized.
4. Decrease Shampoo
Some curlies love the feeling of lathering in their hair – it makes it seem like the shampoo is really doing its job.
But shampooing more than once a week is a recipe for disaster in a fall curly hair routine. Your curls will start to err on the dryer side, making it more prone to breakage.
There is nothing cute about split ends, sis. The last thing you want to do in the colder season is dry out your hair to the point of no return.
A good fall regimen must have a solid wash day routine in place. At the cornerstone of it, it should include a clarifying day with shampoo, but no more than once a week.
So, if by Day 3 your curls need to be refreshed, reach for a clarifying conditioner like the As I Am Cleansing Conditioner, instead of a shampoo. Or, you can employ the co wash method, which is the act of cleansing with conditioner only. This also goes for curlies who exercise regularly who need to wash their hair more frequently.
5. Protective Style
Protecting your hair from the elements is the best way to ensure that your hair is growing, with no interference from your clothes, the weather or your hands (we see you picking at your hair!).
A few great examples of protective styles for your fall curly hair routine include jumbo braids, French twists, flat plats, and wigs. Weaves are also a great protective style, but ensure that it is not installed too tightly, as it could pull on your edges, causing tension.
If you want to show that beautiful mane off this autumn, stick with low manipulative styles. This includes braid outs, twist outs, and bantu knots. These styles require little maintenance throughout the week – the longer you can stretch the style out, the less damage it is on your strands.
6. Cut It Out
Trims are an important part of a functional fall curly hair routine.
Naturally-produced oils found at our scalp, called sebum, cannot travel down our hair strands due to their highly coily nature.
The result = ends that split and climb up our hair shaft, resulting in lifeless, wispy, unhealthy hair, if not properly moisturized.
This is why the 2c and below curlies (with looser curl patterns) tend to retain moisture better than the curly-coily textures.
To compensate for this, you should do one of two things: identify your split ends and proceed to cut them off (called a big chop), or slowly trim your ends every 6-8 weeks for a less dramatic result.
Now, just because you are moisturizing properly, deep conditioning weekly, and protective styling regularly, doesn’t mean you can skip trimming.
The absolute very tips of your hair are the oldest, and as such, have been weathered the most. Trimming those old ends ensures that minimal breakage is occurring.
7. Use a Moisturizing Leave-In
Gone are the days where finding high-quality, nourishing products created for natural hair was impossible. Now, there are a plethora of moisturizing leave-ins at your disposable.
The problem is actually choosing one.
For your fall curly hair routine, you want a leave-in conditioner that: 1) is highly moisturizing, 2) has an adequate amount of slip to apply the product, and 3) is preferably all natural (i.e. no silicones, parabens, and alcohols if possible).
This can be a bit tricky, and all boils down to trial and error to figure out what works for you. But below are some affordable, moisture-rich leave-ins that you will be sure to love this fall:
- Kinky Curly Knot Today
- Camille Rose Hair Milk
- DevaCurl One Condition
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner
- Mielle Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner
8. Use Less Protein
Protein treatments are a must all year round, but too much in the colder months can lead to stiff, weak, dry hair.
Using a protein-rich treatment every two to three months is sufficient for a fall curly hair routine. A great example is the Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. This treatment is great to revive limp curls, and has been known to help reverse heat damage with only a few uses.
Alternatively, you can use a deep conditioner with some protein on a biweekly basis. I like using the ORS Hair Mayonnaise every other week to keep my strands strong, and my curls defined.
9. Scalp Massages
Who doesn’t love a nice, relaxing scalp massage?
The benefits of scalp massages are (finally!) becoming more widespread. The most prominent benefit is that it promotes blood circulation in your scalp, reactivating inactive follicles which triggers hair growth. The perfect addition to your fall curly hair routine!!
It also loosens built-up dirt on your scalp, making it easier to remove on your next wash day. Not to mention it feels good, too.
Studies have shown that five minutes of scalp massages per day can assist in the thickening of your beautiful mane. Couple your next scalp massage with a growth promoting oil to really see results. Examples include olive oil, avocado oil, and almond oil.
10. Ditch the Flat Iron
Yes, having sleek hair is definitely a vibe for autumn, but all curlies know the repercussions of using excessive heat on our curls. Nobody got time for heat damage.
Use minimal heat on your curls this fall, and opt for less damaging, low-manipulating hair styles. Don’t let your curls let down this season!
Did I miss anything? Comment down below with your fall curly hair routine!