Do you feel that? Winter is just around the corner! The temperatures are getting colder and colder, the nights are getting longer, and people are already beginning to hang their holiday lights.
From the many snow-related activities to the joy of spending time with family during the holidays, winter is a time that many of us look forward to. However, as with any seasonal or weather change, you’ll need to plan for the upcoming winter season accordingly.
For many, this means stocking up on warm layers of clothing, preparing your tires for ice chains, and swapping out your summer comforter for your heavy-duty winter comforter. For those of us of certain hair types, this winter preparation also means taking extra precautions when it comes to our hair and scalp health.
To get ahead of the winter weather, read our guide below in order to formulate a bulletproof plan to keep your hair happy, healthy, and moisturized! Each person’s hair is unique, as are the environments that we each live in, so feel free to make some tweaks to best fit your own winter hair needs.
Winter and Your Hair
Unless you live in an incredibly dry, desert climate, winter brings along a massive drop in temperature. Because of this drop in temperature, the air itself becomes less humid, as colder air holds less moisture than warmer air does. As you can assume, this loss in moisture content in the air can lead to a subsequent loss of moisture content in your hair and skin. One reason for this is that there is simply less water in the air for the skin to absorb and hold onto, leading to reduced moisture levels. Another reason is due to water’s natural inclination to maintain balance, with the water in the skin and hair being attracted towards the outer air to compensate for a lower level of moisture. Additionally, with cold weather comes the need to crank up your heater, which leads to a constant influx of dry, circulating air that also causes your hair to leech moisture.
How to “Winterize” Your Hair
While we can’t control the weather or the change of the seasons, we can certainly control how prepared our hair is, as well as how to maintain our hair health throughout the cold months. We’ve compiled several key tips to keep your hair at its very best while warding off the cold:
Winter Tip #1: Invest in a Humidifier
As we mentioned, one of the biggest causes of winter-related hair damage is due to a dramatic reduction in humidity levels. Thankfully, there are a plethora of well-designed humidifiers that have been created with the sole purpose of balancing out the humidity in your home. These humidifiers can range from massive (large enough to increase the humidity in a one-bedroom apartment) to compact (small enough to carry in a purse and use on-the-go), and they work by heating water until it is hot enough to produce steam, which is then released and helps increase the humidity in the room.
Whatever size you choose, what is most important is when and how you use your humidifier. For those who work at a desk during the day, make sure to keep a humidifier near your head that can keep moisture levels around you high while you work. At nighttime, make sure to run a humidifier by your side of the bed to keep your hair and skin moist and hydrated while you sleep! When travelling to a region with much lower humidity levels, bring a portable-sized humidifier to help adjust to the dry air.
Winter Tip #2: Apply a Weekly Hair Mask
It’s no secret that we are huge fans of replenishing hair masks, and we can’t think of a better way to introduce a massive amount of moisture into your hair in such a small amount of time. As much as we love a good leave-in conditioner, the cold winter months require the rich, indulgent power that a hair mask can provide.
While it may be tempting to use a mask more than once a week, you may find your hair becoming easily weighed down and difficult to style. By utilizing a once-weekly hair mask, you’ll put your hair in the best position to maintain its moisture levels while combatting any damage or moisture loss you may have experienced. To start off the winter, try using a hair mask that you can leave-in overnight, covering your hair with a hair wrap or shower cap to keep the product in place.
Winter Tip #3: Make Friends with Hair Oils
Hair oils are almost always a good idea for your hair, whether it be for reducing frizz and flyaways or adding an extra layer of moisture to your hair during dry spells. During the winter, however, hair oils are even more important, as they help to fill in and coat any cracks in the cuticle that may have been caused by the dry air. Additionally, typical hydrating serums and treatments are usually rich in humectants like glycerin, which work by absorbing moisture from the air. While these are great in environments with normal humidity, in lower humidity these ingredients can actually absorb water from deep within the hair strand or skin, as there is simply not enough moisture to absorb from the air.
Enter the hair oil.
Hair oils work on an emollient and occlusive basis, which means that they coat the outer layer of the hair and skin to prevent moisture from escaping, rather than drawing in moisture like a humectant. During the winter, look for oils or oil blends that are richer and heavier, such as argan oil and coconut oil. Rather than weigh your hair down, your hair will absorb just what it needs in order to maintain its moisture and structure. Aside from treating dryness, these oils help to provide an incredible boost in softness while adding noticeable shine and luster!