With temperatures quickly beginning to drop, it will not be long before the full force of winter is upon us. Rather than bracing to deal with dry and lacklustre hair, here are 7 ways in which you can prepare your hair for the onslaught of winter from now, ensuring that your locks stay silky smooth all season
1. Amp Up the Moisture
The dryness of winter can really dry out your hair, which is why the months of fall are the perfect time to begin amping up the moisture.
This is especially important if your hair is curly or wavy. Why?
Due to the shape of each strand, the sebum that is produced by the scalp has a harder time travelling down the hair shaft, leaving the ends of your hair, which are also the oldest parts of your hair, dry.
So, how exactly do you go about amping up the moisture?
Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are a great start. The shampoo will help the proteins to penetrate into your hair shaft, while the conditioner will close your hair cuticles and lock in the moisture.
Moisturizing hair masks can also really help.
However, while some products may claim to be moisturizing, this may not actually be the case…
To ensure that your products really are moisturizing your hair, keep an eye out for some of these beneficial ingredients:
Glycerin – binds water together and helps to moisturize
Aloe Vera – locks in your hair’s natural oils, and speeds up hair growth
Shea Butter – contains vitamin A, and can physically hold in moisture
Panthenol – also known as vitamin B5, panthenol penetrates the hair shaft and improves moisture retention
Jojoba Extract – has a similar molecular structure to the natural sebum produced by the scalp
Another easy way to retain moisture is by ensuring that your pillowcase is made from silk rather than cotton.
Cotton absorbs moisture, meaning that it will dry out your hair, whereas silk does not.
2. Regular Trims
Your hair will be much drier, and therefore more brittle, during the winter months, meaning that it will be much more prone to split ends.
While some people believe that split ends can be repaired with certain hair treatments, this is actually a big myth…
Split ends can never be repaired, and will only keep travelling up and splitting further, reducing the length of your hair and restraining its growth.
If that isn’t enough to convince you that regular trims are important, here are a few other reasons:
Split ends are lighter in color than the rest of your hair, and will make your hair seem uneven and discolored overall
Split ends will make your hair appear dull and lifeless, as they will not be able to take on a shine
Regular trims help to keep hair strong and healthy from roots to ends
So, how often is a trim needed?
Every two months is ideal if you want to keep your locks fresh and healthy. However, keep your own natural hair growth cycle, as well as the health of your hair, in mind – if your hair grows quickly, you may need a trim every 6 weeks, whereas if your hair takes longer to grow, once every three monthsmay be sufficient.
3. Seal with an Oil
Sealing the strands of your hair with an oil will not only help to retain moisture, but will also provide your hair with an added layer of protection against the harsh winter environment, while helping to preventbreakages.
Never used oil on your hair before?
To begin with, you need to choose an oil. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Hair Type – if your hair is dry, you need an oil that will penetrate easily into your hair, such as olive, coconut and avocado. If your hair is oily, but the ends could do with some TLC, go for a lighter oil that resembles your scalp’s natural oils, such as jojoba, argan and Moroccan.
Scalp Health – If you have dandruff or a dry scalp, look for a moisturizing oil that contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, such as coconut, peppermint and rosemary.
Hair Texture – If your hair is thin, a nourishing but light oil, such as avocado oil, is needed, so as not to weigh hair down. If your hair is thick, a thicker oil would be more beneficial, such as grapeseed and coconut.
Food Allergies – Many oils are nut-based, which is something you need to be aware of if you have a nut allergy
Budget – Oils vary greatly in price, so your budget will play a big role in the oils you end up purchasing. Remember that there is nothing wrong with mixing different oils.
Now that you have chosen your oils, it is time to apply them…
Begin by sectioning your hair in at least two parts, so that you can distribute the oils evenly
Put a drop of oil onto your hands and rub it together, before raking it through your hair and then combing
Make sure that you stop at least three inches away from your scalp, as you do not want to be replacing your scalp’s natural oils
Once you have oiled one section of hair, bring down the next section and repeat the process
Keep in mind that the amount of oil you need to use each time will depend on how thick your hair is
If you are intrigued by the idea of using oils on your hair, but do not want to apply them directly, try mixing in a couple of drops with your shampoo the next time you wash your hair.
4. Give it a Steam
Hair steaming is a great way to pamper your hair and help to strengthen it before winter arrives, which then prevents it from becoming brittle and keeps it beautifully healthy. Here are just a few of the other benefits that hair steaming can bring:
Cleanses the scalp
Promotes hair growth
Improves the penetration of subsequent hair products applied
The easiest way to steam your hair is by investing in a hair steamer, but, if you do not want to do this, here is an alternative method to steaming your hair at home:
Begin by washing your hair and then applying a hair treatment to it, such as an oil, a conditioner or a mask. The steaming process will help the treatment to penetrate deeply into your hair
Place a tight-fitting plastic cap around your hair
Soak a towel in hot water and then wrap this around your head
Cover with another plastic cap, as this will help to keep the towel warm and lock in the steam
Leave this on for about 20-30 minutes, adding more hot water to the towel if it starts to cool down
Unwrap your hair and leave it to cool before rinsing thoroughly
So, how often should you be steaming your hair?
Aim for once a week, and try to keep up with doing this regularly, as this will only enhance the effects. However, make sure that you do not go overboard and steam your hair too much, as this will only weaken your strands.
5. Keep It Covered
If you live somewhere that experiences biting, cold winds, then you may want to consider keeping your hair covered when stepping outside, providing it with a strong, physical layer of protection from the weather.
There are many practical, yet stylish, ways to keep your hair covered on a breezy day. Here are a few ideas:
Head Wraps and Headbands – these can be incorporated into your hairstyle, but will also protect your hair, and your ears, from the cold
Ear Mitts and Ear Muffs – while these are designed to warm the ears, rather than protect your hair, they do still offer a bit of coverage for your locks
Snood – this detachable hood has been all the rage the past few winters, and will give you a cocoon of warmth and protection without placing extra weight on your hair
Beanies – go for a looser style and fabric so that it does not flatten your hair. If you opt for a heavier material, make suer that it has been lined with a soft fabric
- Scarves – tying a scarf around your hair brings your look a dose of chic, but make sure you go for a silk, rather than a cotton, scarf, as cotton will pull the moisture out of your hair
Love the idea of hats, but not so keen on hat-hair?
Here’s a quick tip: Flip your hair over across to the opposite side to which you usually part it, before wearing your head gear. Once you take your hat off, shake your hair out so that it returns to its normal part, and you will find that it has managed to maintain its volume and body.
Alternatively, pull your hair up into a loose top knot before wearing your hat, and then taking it down and fluffing it out once you reach your destination.
6. Scalp Massages
Due to the colder weather, the scalp’s circulation will begin to decline, making it important for you to boost this back up.
A healthy scalp circulation keeps your scalp’s natural oil production going strong, which is essential for maintaining moisture and hydration during the winter months. A good circulation will also boost hair growth and ensure that hair is healthier, by bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles.
So, how do you go about massaging your scalp?
It’s easy. Here are the steps to follow:
Remove hair accessories and loosen hair, so that you can reach as much of your scalp as possible
Mentally divide your head into four to eight sections, with a part down the middle. This is to help you to work on one small area at a time.
Using your fingertips only, and not your nails, massage a small area around your temples, using firm, circular motions.
Work your way back through each section, keeping your fingers on your scalp rather than on your hair, as this would otherwise cause tangles. Take your time with this, ending once you have reached the nape of your neck.
When it comes to timing your scalp massage, try to aim for a minimum of five minutes. If you have more time to spare, then 20 minutes is optimum.
Wondering when the best time for a scalp massage is?
Try to fit one in before you wash and condition your hair, as the massage will help to loosen any dirt, which you will then be able to wash out.
7. Cut Back on Heat Styling
Your hair is much more susceptible to damage during the winter months, and heat styling products definitely do not help. While you do not need to give these up completely, now is the perfect time to begin cutting back on how much you use them.
Begin by decreasing the temperature on the tools that you use by 25%, adding to this as the weather turns colder. While this may seem like a big change, your hair will become more brittle with the colder weather, and will not need as much heat in order to be styled.
If you are someone that blow dries your hair after each wash, then this is another area that you can make a few changes to. Rather than blow drying your hair while it is fully wet, allow it to 80% air dry, and then use your blow dryer for that last 20%.
When it comes to heat protecting products, these are necessary no matter the season, but do become even more important in the winter. These should be applied before you use any heat styling tools on your hair, be it a blow dryer or a curling wand.