The cold, dry weather of winter is the bane of anyone who struggles with dry, chapped skin. But it’s not only your hands, lips and cheeks that bear the brunt of this harsh weather change. Our hair can also suffer damage during winter and become dry, brittle and frizzy instead of soft and luxurious. Our scalps can also become flaky and itchy, adding insult to injury.
Even if your hair seems generally low-maintenance, you’ll find these winter hair care tips indispensable.
Use a Hair Dryer on the Cool Setting
It’s vital to dry your hair before you go outside in cold, dry weather. Even if you plan to put your hair up and hide it under a hat, damp hair exposed to cold conditions can become more susceptible to breakage, resulting in split ends and flyaway hairs.
But blasting your hair with hot air from the hair dryer also has some disadvantages. When the air is already dry and un-humid, using a hair dryer on the hottest setting will not only dry your hair, it will dry out your hair, robbing it of the essential moisture that keeps it protected all day. And you can also forget about rubbing your hair dry with a towel; that friction is another source of split ends.
Instead, the best way to dry your hair is to take your time. First, squeeze the excess water out of your hair, and then use your hair dryer on the cool setting to gently dry it. If your hair dryer only has one setting (hot), be sure to hold it as far away from your hair as possible, but the best hair dryers will allow you to control the heat (or lack thereof).
Reach for the Conditioner
Because our hair is at such a high risk for damage during the winter, it’s more important than ever to reach for the conditioner.
To avoid split ends and breakage from brittle hair, develop a conditioning routine that works best for your hair type. Some people use conditioner during every shower, whereas others will use a nightly leave-in serum to nourish the scalp. Yet another option is a weekly deep conditioner. The products you use and timeline you follow are entirely up to you, but don’t skip this important step this winter. It’s virtually the only way to ensure your hair stays soft and healthy!
Add Some Humidity to Your Home
Have you ever noticed that your hands and lips get easily chapped during winter? Or that you tend to cough more? It’s easy to blame the outdoor weather conditions for this, but in reality, we spend a lot of time indoors in air that is just as dry as outside.
Buy a humidifier or boil a large pot of water on the stove in order to add moisture to the air. Your entire body will thank you, including your scalp and hair! Likewise, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout winter. Use the vulnerable skin on your hands and lips as a guide; if they are chapped, chances are your hair is suffering too, and you need more humidity in your home, more water in your diet or more protection in the form of lotions and conditioners.
Use a Heat Protectant Spray
If part of your regular hair care maintenance involves using a curling or flat iron, or if your blow dryer does not have a cool setting, use a heat protectant spray before you use these tools. The spray will prevent heat-induced damage, which could make your hair weaker, duller and more brittle. Hair that is exposed to too much heat looks lifeless and tends to have split ends or a lot of frizz. As a result, you’ll want to use the same tools to mask the problem, creating a harmful cycle. Heat protectant spray is the easiest way to have the best of both worlds, especially when the risk for damage increases in the winter.
Try Not to Over-Wash Your Hair
Your scalp’s natural oils come in extra handy during the winter, but over-washing your hair can strip these oils away and cause your scalp to become especially dry, flaky and itchy.
Try to wash your hair every other day, or perhaps even every three days, and to focus on brushing your hair with a boar bristle brush to sweep those oils through each strand of hair for the ultimate protective effect.
Avoid Hat Hair
Finally, we should mention another source of damage-inducing friction that is unique to winter: hats! If you wouldn’t rub your hair in a towel to dry it, you don’t want it being rubbed by a hat during your commute or night on the town. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: wrap a silk scarf around your hair before putting on your warm wooly hat. That’s all it takes to prevent hat hair!