Mention the polar vortex, and most people think about shoveling sidewalks and chipping ice off windshields. But winter weather, the cause of dry skin and chapped lips, can do a number on your hair as well.
We tend to think of summer as the toughest time for our hair when chlorine, bright sun and humidity conspire to turn our hair to brittle, dry or unmanageable locks. Yet winter hair care brings its own set of problems like staticky hair, brittleness and dull, lifeless “hat head.”
Here are winter hair care tips to overcome some common winter hair woes.
Dry flaky scalp.
There’s less humidity in the air during the winter months. If your scalp itches and the flaking persists, you might have dandruff. Dandruff can also cause your hair go limp, as dandruff flakes keep oil at the roots causing your lovely locks to lose their bounce. An anti-dandruff shampoo should eliminate the problem in no time.
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It’s important to conserve heat and cover your head when it’s cold outside but no one wants to wind up with flat hair for the rest of the day. First, try styling your hair with a product that adds some bounce. If your hair is long, pull it up into a bun before putting on the hat. When the hat’s off, take down the bun and shake out your hair. For shorter hair, remove the hat, hold your head upside down and work it out with your fingers.
When your hair picks up electrical charge from the super dry, cold air you get unsightly static. Try switching to a super moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. If problems persist, try a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer. For fine hair, treat only the tips so it won’t look weighed down. If you have thick or coarse hair, you can use a heavier conditioner and treat your hair from the roots down. Avoid alcohol-based gels as they will cause additional dryness. Spray a little anti-static product on your hairbrush when styling to keep stray ends from standing straight up. And a final tip: Carry a fabric softener sheet for a quick wipe down during the day. A wipe or two will keep your hair from looking like a science experiment gone bad.
Brittle hair with split ends and breakage.
Review the above winter hair care notes. Start with a good haircut that removes all split ends. Hydrate! You need just as much liquid during the day in winter as you do any other time of the year. If the thought of drinking ice water makes you shiver, try sipping warm water with a squeeze of lemon. Your hair, your skin,and your organs will thank you. When you wash your hair, apply a heavy duty moisturizer, wrap your hair in a towel and leave it in for an hour or so. The deep moisturizer will undo a lot of seasonal damage. Plus you’ll have a good excuse to sit and read that magazine article about your favorite star.
Change your routine.
Stop washing your hair every day, it just removes more moisture from your already dry locks. Apply a generous helping of leave-in conditioner to dry hair, then blow-dry on a cool setting to style. Put the flat iron down. Pull long hair into a neat ponytail. It’s easy to do and gives a professional appearance. For shorter hair, try a headband or a few colorful pins to keep your ‘do looking fresh.
Go easy on processing.
Hair coloring, straightening treatments and perms are all guaranteed to suck moisture from your hair. No one advocates letting your grey roots show for months on end, but be wise about the products you choose. Look for brands that have extra moisturizer as an ingredient. If possible, let your hair air dry with a little styling gel instead of the blow dryer.