Winter hair woes?

Ah, the ravages of winter and the toll it takes on our hair! Follow the tips below to ensure your hair stays beautiful and healthy despite the cold, dry air and other problems winter can bring!

1. Condition, condition, condition! Dry heat and cold weather zap hair of moisture. Because dry hair breaks easily, the most important thing you can do during the cold months is to deep conditionregularly and use a more intensive daily conditioner.

2. Avoid using heated appliances as much as possible. Using a blow dryer, curling iron or flat iron dries hair out even more in winter.

3. Avoid chemicals. Don’t perm or use peroxide-laden color in winter. Try having lowlights or highlights added to just a few strands of hair to give you that extra glow, or try using a no peroxide hair color or a low-peroxide color.

4. Don’t clarify too often. At this time of year it’s best to avoid products that build up in your hair rather than have to remove them. If your hair is sensitive to the effects of silicone build-up, now is the time to avoid products with silicone derivatives (look for ingredients with the suffix “cone”). While the initial effect of silicone is one of smoothing and shining, silicone can be very difficult to remove completely and can eventually have a drying effect on some types of hair. As wonderful as using a clarifying shampoo or rinse is at removing hair product buildup, most tend to remove the protective oils from the hair shaft… oils that are very much needed to protect hair during the harsh, cold months. It’s important that when you do clarify in winter to be sure to use a gentle clarifying shampoo.

5. Cover up! If you are going to be outside, especially in extreme temperatures or wind, use a pretty silk scarf to protect your hair from the elements. Sun can also be as damaging in winter as it is in summer!

6. Remember that your hair can be more dry and brittle in winter, and thus be much more delicate. Try to avoid over-brushing your hair, Grandma wasn’t right about everything. Comb hair gently with a wide-tooth comb (my personal fav is It’s a 10 leave in and the Wet Brush) a least a couple times a day to prevent tangles and be sure to follow the Ultimate Guide to Removing Knots to learn how to safely remove any hair tangles that do occur! Also, keep in mind that as wonderful as fuzzy winter sweaters are, turtleneck sweaters can cause knots at the nape of your neck, so be wary of wearing them if they cause problems for you.

7. Trim often. If you are maintaining length, trim your hair about a half inch a month using a good pair of sharp styling shears that you use for nothing other than trimming your hair! If you are actively growing your hair, trim it a half inch every other month during the cold season. This will help prevent any breakage from moving up the hair shaft and causing you a boatload of trouble later!

8. Keeping hair conditioned will help to prevent static electricity. If you find your hair is flyaway in winter despite conditioning, an anti-static spray specially formulated to control static in your hair. In a pinch, you can even use a dryer sheet on your hair, or give your hairbrush a light spray of an anti-static product like Static Guard. It’s important to keep all your fuzzy sweaters and other winter clothes “conditioned” too. Using fabric softener on your clothes, especially garments you put on over your head, will help to reduce static electricity in your hair.

9. Avoid excessively hot water when you wash your hair. Hot water is drying to hair. Rinse in tepid or even cold water for smooth, shiny hair all year ’round!

10. Try wearing your hair in some dazzling updo hairstyles during winter. Not only will this limit your hair’s exposure to the elements and dry air, they are beautiful and wonderfully festive!

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