Hair health can take a beating in the brisker months. This autumn and winter, ensure your hair is protected from the elements with these simple salvation and styling tips!
Winter not only causes havoc for our skin, our hair also cops a beating. To prevent your strands from the harsh elements, follow these expert tips.
1. Wet and dry
“Always dry it thoroughly before stepping outside as the combination of wet hair with the cold wind will dry out hair, leaving it brittle," cautions Alan Buki of Alan Buki for O&M, Sydney.
2. The longer the hair, the more love needed
The longer the hair, the drier the ends. Generally the follicle area closer to the scalp is healthier as it is in contact with natural oils, so if you have long hair, be prepared to spend a lot more time caring for it and catering to its increasing brittleness. This is doable via a daily dose of oil on the ends – or at least two trims during the autumn/winter season.
3. Prep-styling property
Before you use a heat styling tool – whether it be a blow-dryer or flat iron – coat the hair in that extra film of protective hydration so that any moisture sucked out of your style is already compensated for. There are loads of styling protectant products on the market that cater for heat-styled hair, the best of which contain glycerin and propylene glycol.
4. Halt hat hair
“One of the things I love about winter is that you can add instant style with a hat,” says Alan. It also protects hair from the elements, but with it comes a side-serve of hat hair! "An easy way to avoid hat hair is to wrap a silk scarf around your hair - under your hat or beanie - ensuring that your hair style is kept in place and not flattened. It’s also a great way to prevent static,” Alan explains.
5. Choose your winter hair weapons wisely
Hair whipped up into a frenzy in the freaky winter weather? Get on top of gnarly knots immediately with a boar bristle brush. The natural bristles are best as they distribute your hair oils through the lengths so that you are simultaneously conditioning hair while combing it.
6. Coffee and tea fix
Make your colour last longer with these easy natural fixes; for brunettes, pour cool percolated coffee over hair and rinse and for blondes, whip up a cup of chamomile tea, let it cool and pour over hair.
7. Fortified hair starts in the fridge
Your hair health is directly linked to your lifestyle, so if alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and salt are diet staples, your hair – like your skin – will appear flat, dull and lacklustre. And no amount of product can cover your dietary sins. For the perfect hair beautifying combination make a hearty salad containing brown rice and salmon, with a sprinkling of cashews, blanched beans, boiled egg and spinach leaves. On a daily basis, supplements, such as zinc and silica - which helps to strengthen the connective tissues that promote strength in follicles (not to mention cartilage and collagen) – also benefit the hair dramatically.
8. Run hot and cold
A smooth, closed hair cuticle is a healthy shiny one - think of it like the texture of a eggplant. But cold winds and hot indoor heating can open this shaft, turning it more into the texture of a pineapple. This is not good as the open cuticle gets all types of damaging external aggressors from the environment into the hair, causing coarse, wiry textures. To ensure your hair cuticle is closed after you shampoo and condition hair, always finish your shower with a cold blast of water. This will seal and smooth the hair shaft. Always pat - don't rub - dry hair so that the cuticle remains closed for styling.
9. DIY Hair Mask
“An easy to make at home moisture treatment is this Mayonnaise and Avocado Mask," says Alan.
- Mix ½ cup of mayonnaise with ½ an avocado
- Blend until it forms a light green paste and smooth the mixture into hair, ensuring you saturate any dry ends
- Cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap, then wrap hair with a hot, damp towel, and leave for 20 minutes
- Rinse and shampoo as normal
“Both the mayonnaise and avocado have natural oils that are great for dry hair and avocado is packed with vitamins B6 and E to boost strength and shine,” he explains.
10. Stop shampooing so much
Excessive shampooing can strip the hair of its natural oils and moisture, and the repeat friction when shampooing can promote flyaways. So skip every second shampoo you would usually do and simply rinse the hair (with warm, not hot water) instead.
11. Say hello to aloe
As there is less humidity in the air in winter it can tend to dry out your scalp and cause flaking. “Aloe Vera is great natural oil to use on your skin,” notes Alan. Jojoba is also a wonderful tonic for scalp and hair dryness and if you want to rid yourself of dry skin residue, exfoliate the scalp once a week with a good massage using baking soda.
12. Treat hair like skin
Whenever your complexion feels tight and compromised by the cooler weather, chances are your hair is also. These are the days you need to up the hydration – everywhere. Your best option for a impromptu hair hydrator is natural coconut oil, as it contains loads of beneficial omegas that the hair simply soaks up. Concentrate coconut oil into the mid-lengths and ends to prevent build up of greasy residue at the scalp.
13. You don’t need sun to suffer sun damage
In winter, snow covered plains are the perfect reflector for UV damage. So if you live – or play – in a snowy landscape, be aware that sunlight can be reflected off snow and intensely damage the hair. Therefore, ensure you are using a shampoo, conditioner and styling product containing UVA and UVB protection factors.