Most of us go to great lengths to give our skin some extra TLC in cold weather. But our hair? Not so much. Our winter hair guide will pamper your tresses so they look their best, even in the harshest weather.
1. Find Your Scalp Type
Before shelling out money for new hair products, first make sure you know your scalp type. Examine your roots for dry flakes or oily scalp, then choose the best products for your type: You’ll be able to beat your hair winter woes before they even start.
2. Prevent Hat Head
A warm hat is your best defense against the cold, but it can leave hair looking flat and in desperate need of a ‘do-over. Beat hat hair by using a good leave-in conditioner or volumizing hairspray before braving the cold — well-conditioned hair is more likely to spring back to life even when topped with a heavy hat. You can also try this trick: After applying conditioner, gather your strands into a messy bun at the crown of your head, then pull your hat gently over the tousled hair. Once you take off your hat, let the bun down and voila: You’re left with full, flowing hair.
3. Fight Flyaways
Unruly, hard-to-manage hair is another major winter beauty challenge. Cold air and winter winds cause a buildup of negative ions on hair strands, causing flyaways, frizziness, and staticky strands. Always use conditioner, which will help keep rebellious tresses in check.
4. Condition Carefully
Low temperatures and high winds can take their toll on hair. Combat dry, frizzy manes with a deep conditioner, starting inches from the scalp and gently working your way to the end of each strand.
5. Ban Dandruff
An itchy scalp combined with oily-looking flakes may be signs of dandruff. Try using an antidandruff shampoo every other day for two weeks.
6. Moisturize Split Ends
If your hair appears brittle and frayed at the ends, it has probably been damaged by styling appliances as well as the cold, dry windy weather. While many experts recommend cutting split ends, try organic argan oil on damaged hair before resorting to scissors. The vitamin E-rich oil fights broken strands, blemishes, and brittle nails.
7. Sleep on Satin
If you want shiny, frizz-free hair, try upgrading your pillowcase to satin. Tossing and turning against rough fibers while asleep can dry hair.
8. Cut Down on Blow-Drying
When it’s cold out, resist the temptation to blow-dry hair every day or even every time you shampoo. Frequent exposure to hot appliances (such as blow-dryers, curling irons, and flat irons) zaps hair of its moisture and can lead to damaged strands and split ends. Instead, apply a good leave-in conditioner, then allow hair to air-dry. If you’re in a hurry, use an ionic hair dryer, which releases negatively charged ions that break down water molecules, so hair dries more quickly, with less exposure to heat.
9. Try a Dry Shampoo
If you’re under the weather or can’t muster the energy to wash your hair, you can still keep it looking clean. Revive dirty, oily hair quickly and easily by sprinkling on a bit of lemon-scented dry shampoo. Leave on for a few minutes before tousling with your fingers and brushing out.
10. Stay Healthy
The right products can help hair looks its best, but a healthy diet is equally important. “Anytime there’s a metabolic change in the body, it shows in your hair,” says John Masters, owner of New York City salon John Masters Organics. “When you’re tired, it can get dull. When you’re healthy, it finds its shine again.” Eating a diet that includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can enhance your hair, while using nutrient-rich hair-care products, especially those with the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, can help keep damage at bay.