Reintroducing Moisture into Winter-Frazzled Locks
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on December 28, 2018 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Hair Care
Plummeting temperatures and harsh winter winds are not your hair’s friends. Tons of people have problems with their hair in winter, and most of these problems stem from a severe lack of moisture.
If you live in a cold climate, it’s imperative you protect your locks from chilly temperatures by improving moisture levels and regularly pampering your scalp. Without careful attention, your strands could look dry, frizzy, broken and lifeless well into spring.
How winter affects your hair
During winter, humidity levels in the air drop significantly. This means there is less moisture available in the air for your strands to soak up, and moisture already present in your locks can easily get zapped away. Hair that has seen a few too many days under the winter sun tends to look dry, lifeless and frizzy because it is dehydrated.
On top of that, the air inside your home gets super dry, too, when you turn on the furnace. A lack of a humidifier means that your home is warmer, but just as dry as outside.
And, when you run in from the cold and decide to soak in the warmth of a toasty shower, the heat from the water can damage your strands even more. Hot water can lead to the loss of small protein fragments called lipids, which are instrumental in moisture retention in the strands. Lose too many lipids, and the moisture will get sucked right out, leaving dry hair behind.
Finally, as if dry hair wasn’t bad enough, strands that are frizzy and dehydrated are much more likely to break or split, leaving your hair looking frazzled and damaged.
Tried-and-true moisturizing tips
So, what are you supposed to do if you’ve made a few hair no-no’s and are left with dry, dehydrated hair? The answer: moisturize.
Dry locks should be thoroughly nourished with hydrating hair formulas to help hair repair itself and lock moisture back in. You may not be able to perfectly repair your hair until it grows out, but these tips can help reverse some of the damage done by winter’s wicked weather.
- Stay away from heat: Before you can get to work repairing your frazzled locks, you need to implement healthy hair practices to prevent future damage. Using hot tools like blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons can zap even more moisture from your hair and make it dry and brittle. Put the styling tools away for the winter and learn to style your hair naturally.
- Learn to love hats: Leaving hair exposed to the cold air can exacerbate moisture loss, so find an adorable beanie and pull it on before bracing the outdoors. Also, never go outside with wet hair without a hat! Wet hair is even more susceptible to breakage and can even freeze and crack.
- Get a moisturizing shampoo: It’s a good idea to skip shampoos a few times a week to help re-invigorate your locks with your scalp’s natural oils. Shampooing everyday can actually strip your hair and leave it drier than usual. But, when you do shampoo, use an all-natural, hydrating formula designed to re-introduce moisture.
- Use leave-in conditioner: Even on days you’re not shampooing, giving your hair a quick rinse and applying leave-in conditioner is a great way to provide deep, long-lasting hydration for your strands.
- Apply weekly hair masks: Hair masks are a luxurious way to pamper your hair once a week. You can buy deep-conditioning masks pre-made at the store or make your own at home by mixing a few hair-healthy ingredients together. Yogurt, honey, coconut oil and avocado are all great choices for healthy, hydrated and shiny hair. To get the full effect, apply the mask at night, pull on a shower cap and sleep on it before rinsing out in the morning.
- Eat well: Healthy hair starts from within, so make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and getting your full suite of vitamins and minerals. If you’re not getting the nutrients you need, your hair will be one of the first things to suffer, and no amount of hydration can help it look shiny and healthy.
- Nourish hair from the inside: Taking hair-healthy supplements is another way to nourish your hair from the inside. Supplements designed for hair help repair damage, restore lost proteins and prevent against brittle, dull strands.
The most important thing to remember when taking care of dry, winter-frazzled hair is that results won’t appear overnight, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your hair a little more TLC. Winter is when your hair needs the most pampering, so set aside some extra time to whip up hydrating hair masks, add a few supplements to your daily routine and keep your hair protected wherever you go.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan