Winter is well and truly here and while it’s a bonus not having to think about sun damage, your hair still needs a lot of TLC. Cold weather means dealing with hair that’s not only dry, brittle and prone to breakage, you’ll probably also be faced with the frizzies that come with transitioning to a winter wardrobe. But gloomy weather doesn’t have to mean lacklustre hair. Perk up your luscious locks with our winter hair care tips!
#1 – Fight Flaking
Lack of moisture in the air during winter can often lead to an itchy, dry scalp and other issues like dandruff, flaking and even psoriasis (a skin condition that results in scaly, red patches often on the scalp). So to ramp up your winter hair care plan, start with exfoliating your scalp, which can get rid of dry, dead skin cells. Simply include a tablespoon of sugar in with your shampoo and gently work it into your scalp with the pads of your fingers.
Massaging your scalp can also help clear blocked pores and loosen dandruff and excess skin, and olive oil works wonders. Using a small amount of oil, massage it in to your scalp using gentle circular motions and then cover your head with a shower cap. Leave for 45 minutes, rinse well with lukewarm water then shampoo and condition as normal.
#2 – Control Frizz
Wintertime can often be OTT static time, particularly with all the hoodie and beanie wearing that goes on. The result? Hair that’s a frizzy mess! Frizzy hair occurs when the outer, protective layers of your hair follicles lift up, so in order to tackle it, one winter hair care tip is to wash your hair with a sulphate-free, protein-rich conditioner. Use lukewarm (not hot) water to rinse, which will keep your hair’s natural oils in place, and then apply a leave-in conditioner to keep your locks looking smooth.
Treat yourself to a homemade version by mixing a half a cup of avocado with a cup of mayo. Other natural ingredients that combat frizz include oils like coconut, olive, Argan and Moroccan oil.
When drying your hair, use a microfibre towel to soak up excess water rather than roughing it up with a towel. Then those with curly hair should use a wide-tooth comb to de-tangle, while straight-haired women should use a vented, boar bristle brush. This will encourage the scalp’s natural oils to move down the hair shaft and nourish the drier, frizzier ends.
#3 – Add Shine
Moisture-sapping winter weather not only frizzes up your locks, it can also leave your hair looking dull and lifeless. If you’re looking for some tips on how to take care of your hair in winter, one natural ingredient worth using is honey. A sweet option that can help restore shine and bounce, honey is a humectant, which is a substance that’s used to reduce the loss of moisture. Use a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles then apply raw honey to the length of your hair from the roots to the tips. Cover your head with a shower cap and leave for 30 minutes then wash out with lukewarm water.
We all love a bit of bling, but the over-use of shine products that contain mica can rough up hair shafts and work against your hair’s natural shine. Look for gloss-boosting alternatives instead like products containing Argan oil.
#4 – Dry Properly
OK, so in terms of hair care in winter we’ve talked about the over-use of styling products, however, there is a tried-and-true method to drying hair using a hairdryer that actually won’t cause any damage. But firstly, let’s look at the science behind it.
Each strand of your hair is, in simple terms, a tube with an inner cortex and an outer protective layer (known as a cuticle), which is all held together by delicate proteins. When the cuticle layer’s intact, hair is very shiny, however, too much heat can damage the cuticle by trapping water inside the cortex which can actually cause the water to boil (believe it or not!)
So is air-drying hair a better option? Not necessarily. Studies have found that using a hairdryer at the right temperature and distance can actually cause less damage than letting your hair air-dry. Why? Hair that’s in contact with water swells, and the longer it swells, the greater the pressure on the delicate proteins that keep hair intact, which can lead to more damage.
So what is the magical hair drying formula? Let your hair dry naturally until it’s about 75% of the way there. Then with your hairdryer on the coolest setting, blow-dry it, keeping the hairdryer about 15 centimetres away from your hair at all times. Move the hairdryer around continuously, and when your hair’s dry, you’ll have gorgeously healthy hair, without the heat!
#5 – Condition Well
When it comes to hair maintenance in winter your hair needs all the moisture it can get, which makes conditioning a vital part of your hair care routine. Using a hair oil or deep conditioning pack once a week can help, however, it’s also worth tackling certain issues directly if you’re really committed to healthy winter hair.
If hair dryness is caused by styling products or chemical damage choose products that actually bond moisture to the cortex of your hair, which will add shine and softness. Hair that’s at the point of splitting and breaking should be treated to a weekly hair masque that works on rebuilding the bonds that hold your hair together. If you have colour-treated hair, choose products that close hair cuticles to help keep pigment in your hair. Flat, baby-fine hair can be thickened with body-building products, and course and frizzy hair treated with conditioners that make the hair softer and less likely to frizz in humid conditions.
And what about oily hair you may ask? The last thing you want to do is weigh your hair down even further with more product, so try and avoid your scalp when conditioning. And while your hair is still damp, use a little dry shampoo directly on your scalp before blow-drying, which will help to absorb excess oil.