You might not realize it, but the way you care for your long hair greatly depends on the season. Different weather has different effects on hair. While you may think you only need to use extra conditioner in the summer because of the dry heat, winter is still a dry season because of the super cold temps. Continuing moisturizing hair treatments and protecting the hair follicles from cold weather damage is necessary to help long hair survive until spring!
The worst thing you could do going into the cold weather season is to continue doing what you normally do for your long hair routine. Washing hair every few days is not enough to care for long locks. A little extra product and a few other precautions go a long way!
Here are some easy ways to ensure your long hair is well taken care of in those equally long winter months:
- Nix static
No one likes frizzy hair, but unfortunately we tend to see a lot of staticky hair when winter comes around. One trick to banishing static is running a dryer sheet through your long hair. Not to get all sciency on you, but dryer sheets work well on staticky hair because their ingredients neutralize electrons in hair.
Another way to prevent staticy hair in the winter is with a humidifier. Sleep with it in your room to keep moisture levels up, ultimately preventing hair from drying out. Bonus: a humidifier is good for skin too!
- Don’t Go Outside with Wet Hair
Cold weather irritates the hair follicle. If your hair is wet when you go outside in cold weather, the elements penetrate the hair, making strands break off. To combat the breakage, it expands in volume which in turn makes the follicle expand and open up the shaft to damage.
If you’re in a hurry, tuck your long hair under a hood or a scarf.
- Wear a Hat or Scarf for Protection
You might not think twice about covering your hair if you’re heading out for a morning run or taking an evening walk, but the less your hair is exposed to cold weather, the better. Scarves and hats for long hair are your best friend in the winter time. Keep one by the front door and in the car for easy access!
- Sleep in Satin
No, we aren’t talking about your nightgown or pajamas. A satin pillowcase is much better for long hair than cotton. Why? It smoothes frizz, helps prevent static, and just feels better on skin. Cotton fabrics also are known for how they suck up moisture, the last thing you want when it’s wintertime and you want your long hair to keep its moisture! Pick up a satin pillowcase for as little as $5 at Target. We promise you won’t want to switch back to cotton ever again!
- Get Regular Trims
Your long hair is still growing in the winter time, which means regular haircuts are still necessary, especially to get rid of split ends that leave your hair prone to damage. Cutting split ends regularly promotes hair growth, strengthens hair follicles to prevent potential damage, and just makes your hair look a lot better visually. Every 2-3 months is the ideal schedule to follow for long haircuts.
- Resist Hot Showers
When it’s cold out, a nice hot shower is just what your body wants to warm it up. Your long hair will already be craving moisture so don’t add to it by using hot water which also sucks out moisture, causing flakiness and dandruff. If you must take a hot shower, do not wash your hair. Instead, switch the water temp to lukewarm. You can even use a blast of cold water at the end of your shower to seal the hair cuticles.
- Do Weekly Hair Treatments
If there was ever a time to give your hair special treatment, it’s the winter. Invest in lush conditioners – ones that wash out or a leave-in – and do a weekly hair mask to give your long locks the moisture they crave in the winter. Hask Argan Oil and Garnier Fructis hair masks are both affordable and easy to use.
- Cut Down on Hot Hair Tools
Using hot tools for hairstyling only rarely is generally a good rule to follow, as any hair stylist will tell you, but the rule applies even more in the winter because of the decreased amount of moisture in cold air. Take the winter months as a time to wear your hair naturally. There are many hair products out there that will make it easier to work with your hair’s normal texture and it will give your hair a break!
- Drink Your Water
You probably already hear this enough from your mom or doctor, but drinking water isn’t just important for your body’s health. It’s also helpful to hair health! Water is hydrating and lubricates your hair’s follicles. Hair loss, brittle hair, and other hair damage can be avoided by chugging that water throughout the day.
- Check Your Hair Product Ingredients
One common ingredient of hair products is alcohol. While the amount is small, continued use of hair products that contain alcohol is bad for hair and our usage of them only increases in the winter.
According to Kennaland Studio hair stylist Jehnna Mahoney, alcohols in texturizing sprays, heat protectants, and hair sprays contain ingredients we need to be aware of. Look for names like “ethanol (or ethyl alcohol), propanol, isopropyl alcohol (or isopropanol), denatured alcohol (or alcohol denat) and benzyl alcohol.” All of these deplete the hair of moisture.
- Wash Hair Less Often
The more you wash your hair, the more its moisture is reduced. Wash every 3 days instead and use a dry shampoo in between.
Keeping the above tips in mind when caring for your long hair in the winter is the best way to help its growth, maintain optimal health, and prepare it for any professional styling or coloring you plan to do when the weather warms up again.