When the first polar vortex hits the year, our hair strands start to misbehave. As if our skin doesn’t go through enough winter damage, the severe toll cold air conditions take on our hair makes the strands susceptible to more damage that follows. I’m talking about static, frizz, and dry hair that lack moisture, shine, and luster. Talk about pointers for unhealthy hair.
The back and forth transition from overheated houses and offices to freezing streets with arctic air and blustering winds can zap the moisture off your hair. This translates to —without a proper winter hair care routine up in your sleeve, the exposure to the harsh cold elements can lead to dull hair, regardless of the hair texture and type.
Change Your Hair Care Routine To Tackle Winter Woes!
It’s not just the use of styling tools with high heat or harsh chemicals that cause harm to the hair. If you are living in a place where colder weather hits with full force, the effects of it must be hitting the skin and hair alike (sadly to all manner of hair types) and way quicker than you’d expected. There’s nothing more we hate than the toll drier months take on our hair save for the parched skin.
From dry and itchy scalp to the risk of hair breakage and split ends, your tresses suffer from a lack of hydration and humidity that otherwise summer days generously offer.
Instead of enjoying the winter by reading your favorite book with a cup of coffee in the coziest corner of your house, you are worried about your hair strands. Unfortunately, they have started to closely resemble disposable straws. Flaky, dry, itchy scalp, dandruff(1), breakage, brittle ends, frizziness, add hair loss to the list, and you have summed up the effects of winter on hair. It honestly seems inevitable. The solution to combat what freezing temperatures and whipping winds bring is tweaking your hair care routine to suit the frigid temperatures.
What Changes Should You Make In Your Winter Hair Care Routine?
It seems like the ideal time to sneak in more moisture into your hair care regime is the chilly days the cold weather offers. I mean, what’s the better time than now when your hair is dried beyond repair (or it seems)?
Nevertheless, it would be better if you keep a routine altogether different for winter. Because the needs of your hair changes with the seasons, too. If you continue with the same hair care routine you followed on hot days, your hair will become damaged beyond repair.
Ahead, I have listed a few tips and tricks that must be squashed into a winter hair care routine without fail. Because this is exactly how you should care for your hair in winter to prevent tangles, breakage, and other aforementioned winter effects. Take a peek here!
Shower In Lukewarm Water
Let’s start from the beginning. A steamy shower is too tempting not to mention therapeutic when the temperature is freezing. But that’s a mistake that has detrimental effects on your hair as well as your skin. Hot water zaps natural oils and moisture from your hair, making it dry and your scalp dry and flaky.
Instead of hot water, shower in lukewarm water to avoid making your hair more brittle and vulnerable to breaking. Besides, a lukewarm shower is relaxing in every season.
So lower the water temperature when you shower and follow with a cool rinse at the end to seal your hair cuticles.
Avoid Washing Hair Every Day
During winter, your hair requires all the vital natural oils it already has to keep your hair protected and moisturized. But overwashing your hair can strip your hair of its much-needed oils, causing further dryness and itchiness.
Meaning, if you are someone who washes your hair every day, you are stripping away all the goodness that is necessary during the winter. Try extending the period between your washes. For instance, wash your hair every other day instead of every day and try washing every two days if you usually wash it every other day.
Follow The Rules of Shampooing In Winter
Excessive shampooing is a big fat no every hairstylist frowns upon. Especially in winter. The not so gentle ingredients in shampoos can strip off the natural oils from your scalp. This makes the hair dry and the scalp flaky. The chemicals may also irritate some skins, causing an itchy scalp.
So you have to shampoo less often (not more than twice a week) and also use mild shampoos with gentle formulas. The drying ingredients you must steer clear of are sulfates(2), alcohols, dyes, and fragrances.
Since dryness causes dandruff, you can add an anti-dandruff shampoo once a week to fight the flakes, treat dandruff, and find relief.
Treat Limp Hair With Dry Shampoo
Limp hair is not shocking during winters. Individuals with oily hair must be familiar with limp hair and it gets worse than normal during winters. Because when you take your time to style your hair in the morning, only to take your hat off to the dreaded crushed style, your hair becomes that sad winter hair.
If your hair has gone limp, use dry shampoo to refresh your hair without dehydrating it. Merely applying a small amount at the roots can make a difference.
Dry shampoo opens up and expands the hair shaft, making your hair fuller, more robust, and helping you revive your style. But try not to overuse it since it can be considered as one of the aggravators of an irritated scalp. So you might as well carry a small bottle of dry shampoo!
Condition In The Right Way
You’d be surprised if you knew how many people condition their hair in the wrong way. Hair conditioning done in the right way can help your hair immensely in winter. From replenishing moisture and hydrating your hair to controlling frizz and preventing static hair, conditioning combats the effects of cold weather.
Use a thick and creamy conditioner with natural oils for deeper hydration and nourishment.
The right way of conditioning:
- Shampoo your hair and rinse it thoroughly.
- Follow it with conditioner from the mid-length of the hair to the end while focusing on the end to prevent both dryness and split ends.
- Leave the conditioner on for a few minutes and then rinse with cold water to seal the moisture.
Protect Your Hair From Frizz and Static
Thanks to the dry air, your hair cuticles will be opened up and your hair will be frizzy (rough and irritatingly unmanageable) and static (floating like an experiment gone badly wrong). No one is fond of taming frizz and static hair. Along with a lack of moisture, the effects of hot styling tools, indoor overheating, and friction caused by hoodies, scarves, and hairbrushes can contribute severely to dehydrated hair.
To keep your hair strands hydrated and moisturized, you can invest in some leave-in products.
Apply a leave-in conditioner on your damp hair, just enough to keep your style intact, (without overloading) to protect your hair from being static or frizzy as well as keep your hair smooth and shiny all day. Allow it to air dry naturally. Or, for a quick fix, you can lightly swipe an anti-static laundry dryer sheet, anti-frizz wipes, or use a hair spray over the fly-aways to get instant static-free hair.
You may as well use a vented hairbrush with plastic bristles and deep clean them to remove build-ups and apply hair oil before drying your hair to prevent static hair.
Deep Condition Hair With Hair Masks
For dry and damaged hair, you need repairing as well as preventive treatments. Any expert will recommend a weekly treatment of hair masks with nourishing and moisturizing ingredients to deep condition the hair.
Though they are pretty quick, they are highly potent and effective, offering countless benefits to the locks. Aside from reversing the effects of dryness, the hair mask treatments mentioned below can ensure your hair is protected and improves overall hair health.
You don’t have to buy expensive hair masks available in the market, you can whip up effective DIY hair masks straight from your kitchen.
Many of the ingredients found in your fridge and kitchen cabinet can deeply condition and hydrate your scalp and strands. They also replenish the dry locks with moisture, add shine, soften the hair. this helps to promote hair growth, and even combat issues with the scalp. You can also choose to exfoliate your scalp once a week or so to get rid of the itchiness that comes with dry flakes.
Oil Treat Your Hair and Scalp
If you find your hair too dry even with all the weekly hair mask treatments, you can hydrate your scalp and hair strands with hair oil or hydrating serum. Keep in mind to choose a hair serum with hydrating ingredients.
Either moisture your hair and scalp with heated (lukewarm) oil or choose to treat overnight to hydrate from within —much like a night cream for the skin, an overnight oil treatment will work wonders for the hair. But that may make a mess on the pillow, use a silk or satin pillow.
For hot oil massage, all you have to do is heat a few drops of any oil you have at home, apply it thoroughly on the scalp and hair, and give your hair a good massage. Leave it on for 20 minutes to deeply moisturize your scalp, then wash it off with a mild shampoo. The massage will promote blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.
Going as far as an extra mile, apply a few drops of any nourishing oil at the ends of your hair every day to give the moisture it desperately needs. Or, to make things easy and to make your conditioning more effective, add a drop of hair oil into your conditioner. You may get lucky with static hair with this simple trick!
Store Away Your Heat Styling Tools
Cold weather leeches moisture off your hair. So using heat styling tools on your hair during winter when your hair is already fragile is a big mistake you must dodge!
To avoid hair breakage split ends, or worse, intensifying the dryness, cut down blow drying your hair, straightening or curling your locks with heat styling tools. Give your hair a break from the heat! You can use a few drops of hair oil to tame the frizz and take a shower in the evening if you are short on time.
If you must style and cannot skip out on these products, do not forget to use a hair protectant to shield your strands from further drying. Or, use products like mists and creams to help your hair dry on its own.
But if you think about it, what’s better than allowing your hair to air dry naturally? If you are worried about your hairstyle, you can try effortless winter hairstyles, such as heatless curls and waves, loose braids, twists, ponytails, and buns.
Don’t Step Out When Your Hair Is Still Damp
Ever heard of frozen hair? If you didn’t, you must have felt it. Particularly if you leave home with wet hair during winter. The crunchy and brittle feeling in the hair translates to frozen hair. To understand the how and why of frozen hair, let’s talk about the science behind it.
Your hair is porous, meaning it can easily absorb and hold water. Since water expands when it freezes and ice takes up more space than water in liquid form, the water molecules will expand inside your hair shafts. Which in turn, stresses and stretches your hair cells beyond their limits. This can damage your hair from the inside and outside and make your hair less pliable.
Yes, you are short on time. But that doesn’t excuse rushing out with wet hair, especially during winter. Cold air expands the hair shafts, so if your hair is wet, your strands will be less pliable and more susceptible to hair breakage, freezing, and even color fading. Break your summer habit and air dry your hair before you leave home when the temperature starts to drop!
Choose to shower in the evening to avoid having to blow dry the next morning. If at all you have no other choice, work a quick squeeze of fast-absorbing serum before tucking your hair inside a hood or hat. Cover your head as well, which brings you to the next point.
Cover Your Head
The lesser exposure to the winter elements, the better for your hair. You don’t want the arctic air and dry wind to suck out more moisture from your hair nor make your hair more prone to breakage. So shield your hair with a hat or scarf from the cold air, wind, snow, and rain.
But since wool and cotton fabrics can cause friction, resulting in split ends and breakage, style with a line of silk or satin scarf first and layer it with cotton or woolen fabrics or hat. If you have curly hair, apply an oil-based hair moisturizer before placing a hat.
Opt For Silk Pillowcase And Microfiber Towels
You don’t know how many times you toss and turn while sleeping. When you sleep on pillowcases that are not silk, the friction can damage your hair. Cotton and woolen fabrics may be soft to touch but they can tug at your hair strands and cause breakage. On the other hand, silk is naturally hypoallergenic, can stimulate hydration, and prevent thinning, knotted hair, and split ends.
Another important switch to be made is microfiber towels instead of avoiding using cotton bath towels. Microfiber towels have high water absorbing capacity, help reduce friction along with hair drying time, and are gentle on your hair. Whereas, other materials can frizz, tangles, and flyaways that will be hard to manage.
Stay Hydrated And Eat Healthy Food
Here is an interesting fact. One single strand of your hair is made up of 25% water. If this doesn’t prove hydration comes from within and you have to drink enough water, I don’t know what will. One of the essential components of hair strands is water. But to refill the water content you lose in the winter months, you have to stay hydrated.
In addition to that, drinking water can solve winter woes such as dandruff, itchiness, dryness, split ends, brittle hair and stimulates a healthier scalp as well as hair growth. Together with hydration, increase the intake of foods rich in protein and vitamins such as carrots, pumpkins, berries, and eggs. Eating healthy is extremely beneficial for hair health.
Dye Winter’s Darker Shades
Platinum blonde is ideal for summers. But you should leave it just there. The number of bleaching sessions you go through during the winter can strip off moisture from your hair. So, dial down your blonde bleaching and as an alternative, try a hair glaze or apply a demi-permanent hue until the weather has shifted to warmer and kinder.
To make things easier when you are indoors, get a humidifier. Rehydrate the air, and keep your locks in envious luster. Doing small favors to your hair as using hair clips instead of hair ties will make your hair happy! Getting regular trims alongside these tips for winter hair care can ensure optimum hair health.
If you are careful, you will steer more closer to the safe side of winter and you won’t spend another cold day mourning for your strands!
Winter DIY Hair Care Masks You Can Try At Home!
With a few ingredients found in your kitchen, you can mix up many effective hair masks. These natural hair masks listed below can repair the damage winter has brought and even prevent hair damage. All the ingredients provide countless benefits from moisturizing and hydrating the scalp and hair strands. This works to condition and stimulates hair growth. Go to your kitchen, grab them, and start whipping!
Egg whites and heated Olive oil.
Mix and apply it all over from roots to ends, leave it on for an hour, and rinse with a mild shampoo. You can add curd or coconut oil in case of excessive hair fall or dryness.
Egg Yolk, Honey, and Olive oil.
Take one egg yolk and beat it until frothy. Add one cup of honey, and one tablespoon of olive oil(3) to the mix and stir well. Massage your hair and scalp with the mixture for five minutes. Leave it on for about an hour, and rinse off using your shampoo.
Yogurt, Lemon Juice, and Apple Cider Vinegar.
Take two tablespoons of yogurt, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and one teaspoon of lemon juice into it. Mix well and apply to your scalp and hair. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse it off with your regular shampoo.
Banana, Yogurt, Honey, and Olive oil.
Take one ripe banana and mash it without any lumps. Add half a cup of yogurt, one teaspoon of honey, and two tablespoons of olive oil to the banana mash. Mix well and apply it to your hair and scalp. Leave it on for 45 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water and your shampoo.
Coconut oil, Honey, and Apple Cider Vinegar.
Put two tablespoons of coconut oil, two tablespoons of honey, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a jar. Mix well, apply to your hair and scalp, then rinse it off with regular shampoo. You can keep the mixture and use it again. But always shake well before each use.
Honey and Milk.
Take a cup of raw milk and add one teaspoon of honey to it. Mix it well and massage your scalp with it. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash it off with shampoo.
Avocado and Olive Oil.
Blend a ripe avocado for one minute. Add one tablespoon of water and blend again until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to it and mix well. Apply it on your wet hair from roots to ends. Tie your hair up, leave it on for 20 minutes, then, rinse it off with water.
Rosemary essential oil, Honey, and Olive oil.
Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add ¼ of honey and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil to the mix and whisk thoroughly. But make sure the mixture is warm but hot. Apply it to your clean and damp hair, cover it up, leave it on for 30 minutes. Then, rinse, and shampoo.
Coconut milk, Coconut oil, and Honey
Heat half a cup of coconut milk, half a cup of honey, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Keep on stirring to combine the two. When it is warm enough, massage into your damp hair, and cover with a shower cap. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse.
How often should you wash your hair and when is the best time to shower?
To avoid removing natural oils from your hair in winter, it is recommended to reduce the number of hair washes. If you have an oily scalp, wash your hair every 1 or 2 days. On the other hand, if your scalp is dry, wash your hair every 3 to 4 days.
The best time to take a shower is at night as it can give your hair more volume in the morning the next day. Make sure to gently squeeze out the excess water from your hair, then use a towel to absorb as much water as you can before you hit the sack.
Invest time and effort in your winter care hair routine and reap the benefits! Because none of us are Disney Princess Elsa to rock icy winter hair without damaging the locks.
Follow this hair care routine and flaunt your hydrated, moisturized, shiny, and healthy winter hair. If you have any tips to squeeze into the winter hair care routine mentioned above, let us know in the comment section!