Posted by All-Nutrient Professional on Oct 18, 2016

Turn winter hair woes into super hair wows with this guide to winter hair prep.

Summer is humid; winter, not so much. Not only is outside air dry, indoor air is even drier, unless you have a humidifier in every room. This creates the worst problems for those whose hair is super curly or chemically processed, but it affects everyone’s hair and scalp in some way. Not to mention, even highlighted hair loses its glimmer when days are dark and gray. Stave off straw-like strands, flaky scalps, stand-on-end static, and more with these pre-emptive strategies that make peace with those cold-weather hair haters.


1. Up the Moisture Factor

Hair is about 88% protein or keratin, so just a small amount of moisture loss shows up fast. Your No. 1 goal in winter to keep hair hydrated. It’s not necessary to change shampoos and conditioners if you’re already choosing sulfate-free, hydrating products. Just up the hydration factor. Start with a clarifying treatment to remove residue, cleanse the scalp and help moisturizing products penetrate better. Then add a pre-winter hair-hydrating mask. Follow wash-out conditioners with a leave-in version. Just don’t over-do it—too much of a heavy conditioner can weigh hair down and leave it limp, especially if it is fine. On the other hand, the curlier the hair, the more moisturizing it will need. For curly hair, there are two great options. Apply a deep conditioner to dry hair and wait 10 minutes before shampooing. Then rinse lightly. Alternately, shampoo first but don’t rinse the conditioner out completely. After towel blotting, add a little more of a leave-in conditioner.

Scalp care starts with a clarifying treatment, too. Winter wonderlands aren’t so wonderful when it’s dandruff time. Dandruff isn’t always what it appears to be; it could be simple dryness or an oily scalp. Check with a dermatologist first. For oily scalps, conditioning every other day or twice a week helps avoid dandruff. Also, an aromatherapy scalp massage/treatment with essential oils can prep scalps to stay healthy.


2. Fight the Frizz

The first line of defense against end frizz is regular trims. Getting them also prevents splits from traveling up the hair shaft. For all-over frizz, replace moisture first, using deep or intense hydrating products. Then seal in the moisture by finishing with an oil, pomade, cream or butter. The curlier the hair the more crucial this is because dry, fragile kinky curls can get more breakage than usual in winter. Pre-winter frizz-reducing or smoothing treatments can also keep the cuticle smooth, just be sure they don’t use harsh chemicals that can dry hair further. Other tips:

  • Avoid rough towel-drying, which mats hair, and towels with hair-grabbing nubs. Squeeze out moisture instead.
  • The shorter the hair, the more likely it is to frizz. Curly or straight, longer hair is heavier, which can help pull out the frizz.
  • Once a curly style is in place, don’t overwork it. Minimal manipulation is best.


3. Stop the Static

When the air is dry, hair static increases. Especially if it is blown dry and brushed or if you put on a wool hat. Why? Because electrons transfer more easily in dry air and objects with the same electrical charge repel one another. Basically, hair stands on end “get away” from that brush or hat. Fine hair takes on more static than coarse, thick hair does because it expands more than heavier hair does.

Prep hair to prevent static by rinsing with tepid water, which seals the cuticle. When styling, use a leave- in conditioner, slightly heavier styling products and shine serums. Now’s also a good time to switch to a boar-bristle brush, which is naturally conditioning. To stop static any time, keep a travel-sized hairspray handy. Just mist it on a brush and brush through strands lightly to smooth them back in place.


4. Brighten Up Haircolor

Without the sun to lighten and illuminate hair, it simply looks duller. Why not transform babylights into stronger balayage pieces or add a color flash or two? Once hair color has extra pop, don’t forget a final glosser to boost the shine. Another idea is to add highlights, then position them against lowlights for more obvious dimension. And if you’re following the traditional “darker, richer” in fall/winter approach to hair color, buck tradition with a lighter, brighter shade . It acts as an instant mood booster!


5. Style Differently

Winter styling routines also focus on keeping hair hydrated and avoiding damage. The days of going out with wet hair are over but more heat styling requires a shift to “low and slow.” After all, the main cause of flat, lifeless hair in winter is over-drying. Tools with temperature controls are a must: keep settings below 180˚C (356˚F). Skip the concentrator attachment on blowers, use thermal protectors and root boosters, then let hair develop its own body as you dry smaller sections slowly. Better still, eliminate excess heat by shampooing every other day, and quickly refreshing second-day hair. It almost always has more volume, and that’s a good thing when hair-crushing hats come out.

When it comes to cover-ups, you can choose a hat that’s looser or crib a trick from women who have relaxed hair by wearing a silk scarf under your hat. It keeps hair smooth and in control. For long locks, gather them up into a bun first. When the hat comes off, mist hair with styling spray and shake it out. For short hair, use a pomade or paste to piece-out any flattened or indented pieces. If “hair hat” indents still create a ring around your ‘do, mist hairspray on a brush and lightly smooth out indents, or spray your hair, then lift and smooth pieces with the end of a rattail comb. In a pinch, even a water spray bottle will do.

Topics: hair care