Then, when you add sun to the mix (no matter the season), hair experiences a new set of problems, particularly due to UV exposure. These shifting environmental factors need to be top of mind as you navigate the seasons in the quest for cooperative, perfectly balanced hair.
To learn about seasonal hair care and the priorities that evolve with the calendar year, we spoke to Greg Cassese of Cutler Salon in NYC, where he is the Director of Education, Cutting Department. Here are some tips on keeping your hair balanced year round, despite primary environmental obstacles.
When it’s cold and dry
When the air is dry, it pulls moisture from any possible source—including your skin and hair. That’s why we get such chapped knuckles and parched hair in the colder months.
Cassese helped us identify the best dry hair products to resuscitate and fortify dehydrated strands: This begins with a sulfate-free shampoo followed by conditioner.. From there, you want to add a weekly deep-conditioning hair mask, heat-styling protectants, and possibly a leave-in conditioner or hair oil.
When we create customized hair care products at Prose, we take into account the environmental factors of where you live (as well as what time of year it is). So, when it’s February and your home is in Minneapolis, we’d likely load up your formulas with extra-hydrating additives, such as hyaluronic acid, and a medley of oils like argan, sacha, and jojoba. A lack of moisture can also weaken hair because it makes strands more brittle and apt to snap. Thus, wintertime formulas at Prose may also include strand-strengthening ingredients like silk proteins, and a cocktail of collagen and lilac.
When it’s warm and humid
When it is humid, you can feel the moisture in the air, so it’s your hair strands’ turn to pull in the excess water, as opposed to the problem you experience in cold, dry months. (This is especially a problem if your hair is very porous, be it naturally so or due to chemical processing or frequent heat styling. As hair takes in the moisture from humid air, everything begins to expand, resulting in the headache we all know as frizz. Worse yet, damp air may also increase moisture on the scalp and create a breeding ground for bacteria.
First things first, you should consider smaller intervals between shampoos. “Humidity and heat can put a lot of wear and tear on your hair,” Cassese says. “I usually recommend washing with shampoo every other day or two, since our hair can get more sweaty and oily than usual.”
As for combating unwanted frizz, choose hair care products with ingredients that smooth and close the hair’s cuticle (its outermost, protective layer). Doing this will make it more difficult for your strands to take in extra water, which in turn prevents your hair from frizzing uncontrollably.
Formulas that contain hair-repair ingredients also mitigate unwanted frizz because they reinforce weak spots along each strand) and minimize how much moisture can sneak in. Some of the most effective strand-strengtheners include collagen, lilac and hyaluronic acid, which work together to repair damaged and weakened hair, and keep out unwanted water.
To minimize the inflammatory impact of bacteria on the scalp, be sure to use a shampoo formulated to deep-clean scalp skin.. Cassese advocates for pre-shampoo scalp treatments in this case, since they “reduce excessive oils and [help] remove flakes and bacteria build-up.” At Prose, this is what our own custom pre-wash scalp masks aim to do
When it’s extra sunny
Just as your skin needs defense against harmful UV rays (and year round, no less), your hair also requires defense against sun damage. Many of us perceive hair as a shield for our scalps, and while that’s true, you’ve got to also protect the strands themselves against direct UV hits.
First, wear a hat whenever possible, especially during the sun’s most direct hours of the day (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) . While it’s impractical to tell you not to go outdoors at the brightest part of the day, just note that this is also when you need to up your sun defense strategy. One way to do this is to use hair care products that counter the negative effects of the sun.
Cassese recommends a couple approaches. “First, applying a lightweight leave-in conditioning spray when you know you’re going to be exposed to the sun. Oil can also be a good moisture keeper for the days you are in the sun for a long period of time. Most times when we’re in the sun, our hair isn’t styled so even if the oil weighs your hair down a little bit, it will act as a sunscreen for your delicate strands.” It’s an effective defense against the sun’s heat and UV damage, just as it is against a blow dryer’s intense heat.
When we’re designing formulas for a client in a sunny climate, we’ll often infuse it with wheat and soy amino acids plus arginine to minimize the drying effects of heat; coconut and karanja oils to provide an extra protective (and hydrating) layer, and oat lipid and sunflower seed extract to shield your hair color and minimize oxidation and fading.
One behavior to track on sunny days is how much time your hair is exposed to salt water or chlorine water. “Chlorine and salt water can be really drying on the hair also,” Cassese notes. “Be sure to use conditioner often and a leave-in spray after. The more moisture the better!”
He ends with a pro tip: “Don’t tie your hair back when it’s wet, either. Let it dry completely before you put it up or else your ponytail holders will cause breakage.”
As the seasons change, so should your haircare. Prose makes it easy by updating your product formulas for you, so there’s no changes to be made on your end. Just order your Prose as usual and it will be tailored to help you combat the weather whether it’s dry, humid, sunny, and everything in between.
ONLY GOOD HAIR DAYS
What does your hair need to thrive? Take the consultation to find your formulas.