How to Avoid Pesky Hat Hair

Winter is upon us, and while getting cozy in cute mittens, a warm coat, and a pom pom beanie sounds nice, having to deal with hat hair all season does not. If you’ve ever worn a hat, you probably know how aggravating hat hair can be, especially after you’ve spent so much precious time styling your hair that morning. 

“Hat hair typically flattens your hair and creates a crease or cowlick,” explains Jana Rago, a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Jana Rago Studios in Boston. “This is usually a result of the oils that are on your roots and in that concentrated area, the oils keep your hair matted down even more when you wear a hat—the tighter the rim of the hat, the worse the crease will be.”

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    How to fix hat hair

    If you find yourself dealing with hat hair this winter, Rago suggests using a sea salt spray, dry shampoo, or a textured spray or powder on your locks. “These products help oxidize your hair, and give the roots some volume,” says Rago. “The cleaner your hair is, the better so that it can easily bounce back after wearing a hat. Also, if you use a lot of hair spray, you’re more likely to have a deeper crease in your hair after taking your hat off.” 

    Lizzie Caplan, balayage and creative color specialist at Soon Beauty Lab in Fort Greene, suggests “flipping the script” on your part if you’re dealing with hat hair often. “Start with your hair parted opposite your preferred side,” she says. “When you remove your hat, flip it back to give a little lift and hide any imperfections.” Another tip is to “pull a Dolly Parton” and get in there with a fine-tooth comb and backcomb your hair a bit to bring back the volume. 

    For those with longer hair, Rago suggests throwing your hair up in a messy bun, which will hide the creases. “If your hair is really dirty and flat, the only real solution is to wash, condition, and blow-dry it.”

    How to avoid hat hair

    Clean hair, a loose brim hat, and a few hair products are key to avoiding hat hair, according to Rago. “When it comes to products that will be helpful in avoiding hat hair, I would suggest dry shampoo or any type of volume spray that prevents your hair from falling flat,” says Rago. “We know, the looser the brim, the less likely you are to have hat hair—however, many hats now have a silk lining on the interior crown to prevent the hat from creating a crease in your hair, similar to when people use silk scrunchies.” 

    While Rago is a big proponent for a clean scalp to avoid hat hair, Caplan is a fan of the lived-in day two hair. “Squeaky clean hair isn’t known for its volume,” she says. “We all know and love that lived-in day two hair, so wash it every two to three days. If you must wash daily, replace every other wash with a cleansing conditioner, as this will remove sweat and product build-up without stripping the scalp of its essential oils.”

    Caplan also suggests getting the right haircut to avoid flat hair. “The foundation for great style always starts with a great cut,” she says. “Long layers are bound to flatten under a hat, but you can zhuzh up shorter, textured layers with a light tousle.”

    Best hats and hairstyles for avoiding hat hair

    To avoid dreaded hat hair, Rago suggests wearing any hat that has a looser and softer fit. “If the hat has a silk lining on the interior brim, that is ideal and will help prevent or decrease the chances of your hair having a crease when you take the hat off,” she says. “Other ideal hats include bucket hats, beanie hats and any knit hat. I’d say the worst hats for hat hair are definitely baseball hats, and anything that is tight around the crown of your head.” 

    The best hairstyles to pair with your hat include textured waves, loose braids, or a low messy bun. “The less straight your hair is, the better so that it already has some texture and movement to it,” says Rago. 


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