By Nicole Knee
How can I dry my curls in the winter?
Air drying may be the goal for curls – but what’s a curl to do in the winter months? The last thing you want is your curls freezing up like curly cue icicles as soon as you step foot outside in the brittle cold! So, what are some ways to dry your hair without drying out your locks?
Air-drying is a way to keep your curls hydrated and bouncy. If you add heat to your hair in the styling process, by using a blow-dryer for instance, it can strip away the moisture your curls already have and damage curls. Let’s explore some alternatives:
T-Shirt Drying or Drying Gloves
Instead of wrapping your hair in a towel after a shower, you can wrap your hair up in an old t-shirt. This way the T-shirt absorbs excess water from soaking wet hair and cuts down drying time. Using a T-shirt or microfiber towel also reduces frizz. Release your curls, scrunch your hair, and continue to let it air-dry. You can scrunch your hair with drying gloves, which dries the hair without leaving it frizzy, as using your hands might. This is an effective method for drying curls quickly, without leaving your curls dehydrated and frizzy. Plus it looks like fun!
This air-drying technique has recently gone viral for its stunning results. For wet styling, apply a cream gel directly to sopping wet hair. Our Royal Locks Pro Curl Cream Gel works well for this. Grab a tee-shirt and lay in front of you with the sleeves facing you, then flip your head forward onto the tee-shirt, plopping your curls into a pile on the shirt. Bring the bottom of your shirt over your curls and let it rest by your neck. Then gather the sleeves behind your head and tie in a knot. Adjust the tightness until it feels secure and set a timer for at least 10-20 minutes to get some good definition. Let your curls loose to reveal heaps of beautiful well-defined, moisturized curls. If you are like me, your curls will still be damp, but dryer and a lot more defined than normal winter curls.
Heatless robe curls
This technique works on wet hair or already-dry hair. First, you’ll want to split your hair in half and bring each section over your shoulders. Then split each half section into two and place a robe belt in the middle. Essentially, braid or twist the robe belt into your hair, using the belt as the 3rd strand. Then tie the ends with a scrunchie or hair tie. Leave your hair for a few hours or overnight (caution, we suggest only sleeping overnight with damp to almost dry hair to avoid mold).
When you take the belt out, run your fingers through your hair to separate the strands and you’re left with beautiful, bouncy curls! Wavy haired friends get especially great results from this method- big flowing waves and curls. This video is a good illustration:
Heat Options for Curls
If you choose to use heat, like diffusing, hood drying or plain old heat, we suggest starting with a LIC that provides a protective barrier to your curls. We like our Royal Locks Curl Rescue Leave In Conditioner which is lightweight so it won’t weigh curls down and protects from heat and UV damage. Distribute the product evenly throughout your curls from root to end.
The leave-in conditioner will not only leave your hair silky smooth, but it will also lock in the moisture your curls need to withstand the cold. Note: You can combine our leave-in conditioner with any styling product, just make sure to mix the two together in your hand first to ensure they work together.
An air diffuser for hair is either a stand alone dryer or a separate piece that fits on the end of any traditional hair dryer. Diffusers indirectly diffuse the air, providing protection from direct heat- which over time can cause damage to curls. The best way to use a diffuser is to separate your curls, wrap them gently around your finger, turn the diffuser up pointing towards the sky, and place a few sections onto the mechanism. A second way is tilt your head sideways so the locks are falling down and hold the diffuser right next to your hair, you don’t have to go too far inside your curls for it to dry them.
Your Grandma might have been onto something with all those visits to the Beauty Salon. Hood dryers are back! Or, did they ever leave? Regardless, they are great for drying your curls with indirect heat, similar to a diffuser, after you have set them (i.e. by plopping, pin or finger curls, socks, or foam curlers). There are even special hoods for long hair and waves. Hood bonnet dryers are also extremely efficient at drying all parts of your curls evenly, even those stubborn thicker sections we usually have in the back of our head.