1. Wash your hair less.
“In the winter, people should wash their hair less,” advises Ramirez, debunking a common myth that washing your hair more often may lead to a healthier, more moisturized mane. “Hair is dryer in the winter and over-washing will dry it out more which can cause breakage, especially if you’re not using the proper shampoo and products.”
2. Be mindful of hydrating too much.
Yes, there is such a thing as over-hydrating the hair. While treating the hair and scalp to much-needed moisture is always encouraged in the winter, “too much of anything is not a good thing” per Rivera. Known as hygral fatigue, this over-hydration can occur when moisturizing products—like hair masks, hair creams, and thick hair conditioners for example—are used too often. Think of it this way: When hair is wet, it swells; when it dries, it shrinks. This constant back-and-forth can lead to hair breakage. Try using your favorite hair mask no more than 1-2 times per week.
3. Use the right styling tools.
Heat has an adverse effect on hair, leading to decreased moisture and breakage. This tends to intensify during the winter season, which usually finds us layered and bundled up, and sitting in heated rooms for months on end. Add your trusty hot styling tools, and you’ve got a recipe for unhealthy winter hair. While taking a break from heat styling is best, Rivera has an easier solution for those who can’t live without curling or straightening their hair. “Infrared styling tools are great for the hair during the winter, and during all seasons,” recommends Rivera, adding, “This is because they lock the moisture in rather than pull it from the hair.”
When you do heat style your hair, make sure to always use a heat protectant to shield your strands as much as possible.
4. Clarify the hair.
As a must-follow hair commandment, clarifying the hair helps to up-keep a healthy mane. For the uninitiated, clarifying the hair refers to the removal of any product or environmental build-up from the day(s) before, by way of shampoos or DIY concoctions. Rivera personally opts for a homemade paste that consists of baking soda and water. “Create the paste, wet the hair, and massage from roots to ends, then follow with your regular [shampoo],” she advises. Failing to include this step in your winter haircare routine “can contribute to a drying effect and create more static.”
5. Take your vitamins.
6. Swap your pillowcase.
While hair loss during the winter could be related to an underlying health issue or improper product usage, hair breakage during the cold-weather season is fairly normal and expected. Think about it: Not only are you more likely to sport hats or wear sweaters in the winter, but doing so can cause friction. Ramirez recommends investing in a silk or satin pillowcase to keep hair healthy, intact, and sans static while you sleep. “It helps preserve your hair and protect your scalp and skin too,” he says, citing, “Silks and satins don’t grab hair the way wool, cotton, and other materials do.”
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