We’ve written before about how to protect your skin against wintry weather. But because winter officially blows, frigid temperatures can also wreak havoc on your hair and scalp. To help you help your hair survive the winter, we asked hairstylist Natalie Rose Dixon for some tips:
Easy on the Heat
We know it’s tempting—especially when it’s freezing outside—but scalding showers tend to dry out the hair. That’s because hot water strips your hair of the natural oils that ordinarily lock in moisture, making it brittle and more prone to breakage.
Hot water also removes oil from your scalp, which in turn, causes an overproduction of oil that can damage hair at the root and cause excess shedding. To avoid all this badness, rinse conditioner from your hair with cool water—this closes the cuticles and locks in moisture, leaving your hair (and scalp) healthier, shinier and stronger.
Quit Washing Your Hair
Shampooing your hair too often can strip it of essential oils, leaving the hair dry and brittle (and exacerbating the already negative effects of winter weather). “Take a week off from shampooing to see if your scalp and hair feel less dry,” Dixon recommends. But keep your hair type in mind when doing so: Those with naturally oily hair may want to wash their hair more often than those with naturally dry hair.
Condition Like a Madman
If the cold weather has your scalp dry and flaky, Dixon suggests employing coconut oil. Here’s how it’s done: Put three to five tablespoons of coconut oil in a small bowl, then microwave it for 30 seconds. Stir well, and heat for a few more seconds (until the oil is completely melted). Let it cool, then massage the oil into your scalp and use a comb to work the oil through your hair. Allow the oil to soak in for an hour or two, then finish by shampooing as usual.
If that sounds like too much work, a hairstylist previously showed us how to create a makeshift leave-in conditioner out of your regular conditioner to add extra moisture and weight to your hair, and to combat frizz:
Simply squeeze a pea-sized dollop of conditioner into your hand and emulsify it—that is, give it a good rub between your hands. Once it’s nice and emulsified, work it through the frizzy ends of your hair, and apply a pomade or clay to lock in that moisture and calm down any strays.
Invest in a Blowdryer
“Don’t be afraid to blowdry your hair after your morning shower,” Dixon emphasizes. “This will ensure your head doesn’t freeze when you walk outside.” But don’t go overboard: It’s best to minimize hair drying tool usage to about once or twice a week, since excessive heat exposure can dry out your hair even quicker than winter weather alone.
Winter, why must you be so difficult?