Fall and winter call to mind cute hats, colorful scarves, and trendy boots and coats. But, fashion aside, the colder seasons can really be a challenging time for your skin and hair. Without proper precautions and adjustments, you could end up seeing all the progress your hair made come undone because of the effects of cold weather. The extent of the changes you need to make to your hair routine would, of course, depend, on how extreme the cold season is in your area, but if you play your cards right, you can emerge in the spring with hair that’s vibrant and thriving, having built on the strides you made during warm weather. To ensure the health of your hair as the weather becomes and stays colder, create some new habits by doing the things mentioned below. Come spring, you’ll be very happy you did.
Deep Condition your Hair
There are few practices more beneficial to your hair than deep conditioning, regardless of the season. Deep conditioning helps keep hair moisturized, particularly important in cold weather, but also improves the manageability, elasticity, and natural shine of the hair. Deep conditioning moisturizes, strengthens, makes hair more elastic, maintains the right pH balance, and helps to keep your hair soft and manageable between washes. Because cold weather dries the hair out (whether by exposure to dry, cold air outdoors, warm, dry air indoors, or the drying fabrics of scarves and winter hats), there’s a lot of opportunities to dry the hair out and cause breakage. Deep conditioning will help restore what is lost to the elements and counteract dryness so that hair is less likely to become dull and brittle and you can retain your length and minimize the possibility of breakage.
Use an Anti-Humectant
Depending on where you live, fall and winter may bring snow, rain, and sleet along with biting winds, dry air (low humidity) which all cause the hair to dry out. Humectants, which are helpful for pulling moisture from the atmosphere into the hair during times of high humidity (e.g. summer), are not your friend during cold weather, because when the humidity is low and the air is dry, humectants facilitate the pulling of moisture from the hair and out into the atmosphere. An anti-humectant will keep the moisture that’s within your hair locked within the strands, preventing the usual movement of moisture from an area of high concentration (your hair) to one of low concentration (the air/atmosphere). Examples of anti-humectants include coconut oil, shea butter, avocado oil, and olive oil. Add one or combine them all and use them to seal moisture into your hair from root to tip to help your hair stay moisturized for longer.
Heat Style Less
While there are ways to try and use heat on your hair safely, even with the best precautions, heat is stressful on the hair and may cause dryness and damage. Heat strips the hair of its moisture and natural oils and can alter its protein structure, potentially permanently altering your curl pattern. With the cold air already working against you, heat styling less if at all is the wise choice during colder weather, and using a heat protectant is absolutely essential on the occasions that you do choose to use heat. Keep the temperatures as low as you can for the results you need and air dry whenever possible before blowing out or flat ironing your hair to minimize the risk of heat damage.
Eat Foods that’ll Nourish your Hair
Healthy hair starts from the inside which makes it paramount to drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fats, and proteins. Eggs, berries, avocado, salmon, and dark green veggies are among the foods that are great for your hair’s health, so among all the hot chocolate and other indulgences, make sure your diet includes adequate amounts of these healthy foods.
Protect your Hair and Scalp
Fall and winter are great times to rock your head wraps, headscarves, berets, and winter hats. Ensure your hats are lined with satin to protect your hair. If they aren’t there are lots of YouTube videos out there that can help you line your favorite hats yourself. Wool and fleece, while warm and cozy, are extremely drying and should not be allowed to come in contact with your hair.
Use a Humidifier
Dry winter air can create havoc on your skin and hair but can also irritate your nasal passages and result in nosebleeds. Humidifiers put moisture into the environment so that your hair and skin are not allowed to dry out. They are available at different price points so you’re likely to find one that suits your budget. Trust me, if you’ve never used a humidifier before your entire body will appreciate the difference this fall and winter.
You work hard to keep your hair healthy and strong. It would be a pity if all your hard work unravels because of the weather so take action. Use these healthy hair habits and protect your hair from all the stress and damage that cold weather can bring. These simple things will have a big impact on your hair and you will be happy you did them all at the end of the day.