Natural Hair Survival 101: Madrid Winters
First, I'd like to say that THESE WINTERS AIN'T LOYAL. I mean that from the bottom of my soul. Madrid is dry to begin with. We don't have the sea breeze like Barcelona or the warm waters of the Canary Islands. We have valley — dry heat and lots of sun. Not only are winters here a bit unpredictable in terms of temperature, we also get bouts of rain, freezing rain and days of pure and welcome sunshine. To be honest, you may see two or three seasons in one day, so come prepared.
I'm by no means an expert on natural hair and I do not claim to be have a miracle cure to all your hair woes. I've lived in Madrid for four years and started my natural journey here, well, four years ago... so my regimen simply comes from a few years of trial and error. If I'm able to help just one frustrated natural who's tempted to return to the creamy crack, then my job here is done.
A bit of context: I´m just about 4 (In March) years natural. My curl pattern is a combination of 3B, 3C and "I do what I want".
This is my winter routine.*
*I bring lots of products from home, but I´ve found Spanish alternatives and some Spanish brands that I actually prefer. I´ll list both below and where to find them.
I shampoo more in the winter because I'm using more product and there's more build-up. I usually clean my tresses once a week at the very most.
Product: Carol´s Daughter Hair Milk Shampoo
Spanish Alternative: Brillo Champú Deliplus (Mercadona)
I condition lots because my hair gets thirsty, as thirsty as Drake was in that Nicki Minaj video.
Product: Trader Joe´s Tea Tree Conditioner (Trader Joe's $3.99)
Spanish Alternative (and a God send): Hello Hydration by Herbal Essences (Mercadona, Carrefour and other major chains)
I did a praise dance when I saw this brand here. I've yet to see the huge, family size bottles, but I don't mind buying in bulk.
This deep conditioner is a staple for me. I even get requests to "smuggle" containers of it for my aunt and mom in Chicago. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a fancy description, especially when the price is right! What's that? It has silk AND caviar in it? Well, I doubt that seriously, but rooty toot toot, pass the grey poupon!
Deliplus Stylus Mascarilla (yellow container) The other products in this line are great, but nothing coats my hair like this one. The mask targeted for curly hair made me smell like a fruit cake, so I had to let it go.
I do lots of protective styling in the winter: buns, french braid, twists, french twists, random up-dos with hair clips, etc. I usually sleep with 2-4 braids after washing my hair so that it dries properly.
Product: Shea Moisture curling soufflé and Shea Moisture style milk. Although shea moisture has yet to make it across the pond, I do what I can. I also use this whipped shea butter that a friend makes at home, but I ration that very carefully.
Spanish alternative: Pure almond oil and a bit of my hello hydration conditioner as well. Eco styler olive oil gel (yes, it exists here, praise Him!)
It’s as simple as that! I try not to spend too much money and time on my hair contrary to my product junkie ways. Once I find something that works, I buy 23 and keep it moving. Madrid winters are a bit tricky because they’re hard to predict; however, if you give your locks a bit of tender loving care, they’ll thank you come spring.
Tell me about your winter hair tricks and secrets! How do you beat the blistering cold and still keep your curls bouncy, hydrated and looking fine?
Danni, Community Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native who currently resides in Madrid, Spain. She's a lover of language, words, and travel and has managed to combine all her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flights deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.