We know that the cold wind and dry heat of winter can cause dry skin, but hair is just as prone to damage from the winter weather. During the summer months, you may make sure to moisturize your hair to minimize the damage from the heat and sun; but during the winter months, your hair needs special care too. Cold winds, indoor heating, static electricity all can cause your hair to by dry and brittle.
The following are tips to help you keep your hair looking healthy all winter long.
Decrease the amount of times you wash your hair each week. Shampoo washes away dirt but it also washes away natural oil and moisturizers on your scalp. Instead of washing your hair on a daily basis, cut down to washing it twice a week. On days you don’t wash it, rinse your hair with cold or warm water or use a dry shampoo (such as baby powder) to absorb some of the oils.
Turn the temperature of your shower down. A hot shower feels so good on a cold winter day but the hot water isn’t good for your skin or your hair. Turn down the heat and shower in warm water instead.
Use warm oil to moisturize your scalp and hair. There are hot-oil products on the market but you can also use olive oil. Warm it slightly and massage into your scalp and hair. Leave it on your hair for one to two hours and then shampoo out. Don’t worry if you don’t get every bit of the oil out of your scalp; it will continue to moisturize and condition your hair and scalp.
Use conditioner after you wash your hair. Conditioners should be applied to your hair, not rubbed into your scalp. Conditioners help moisturize your hair, keeps it looking shiny and helps prevent breakage.
Allow your hair to air dry. Air drying your hair is the healthiest way to dry your hair. Hair dryers and curling irons dry out your hair but going outside with wet hair in the winter can cause it to freeze and break. If you don’t have time for your hair to dry naturally before going out to work, use a leave-in conditioner before you using a blow dryer or curling iron.
Wear a hat to protect your hair from the cold and wind. Your hat should not be so tight that it restricts circulation in your scalp. If you end up with static electricity in your hair from your hat, run a dryer sheet over your hair; that should get rid of the static electricity.
Keep your haircut simple and maintenance free. The less you fuss over your hair - even running your fingers through your hair or combing it throughout the day - the more it can break or develop split ends. Style your hair so that once you are done, you don’t need to do anything else with it throughout the day.
Check the ingredients on hair spray or other products. Make sure they don’t have a high concentration of alcohol which will dry out your hair and make it feel brittle.
Use a humidifier in your house. Indoor heating can dry out your hair. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, helping both your skin and your hair.
Get a trim. On the average, your hair grows ½ inch every 4 weeks. For long hair, it is usually recommended you get your hair cut every 2 to 3 months to trim off the ends and keep it looking healthy. For short or medium length hair, trims should be every 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how quickly your hair grows. Regular trims will help your hair stay and look healthy.
For more information on protecting your skin and hair during the winter:
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.