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Ways to Weather Winter Hair Damage

by The Hairstory Team|11 December, 2018|Blog / Hair health / 

Baby, it’s cold outside, and for many of us, waltzing out with wash-and-wear hair is a three-season luxury. And while we get warm and cozy inside, our skin and hair can get overheated, and start cracking as the fireplace is crackling.

It’s a myth that going out in the cold with wet hair invites a cold, but it is a fact that hair is vulnerable to frizz and static when it’s damp and the cuticles are wide open. And it stands to reason that water expands when it freezes, and frozen water trapped in the hair shaft can actually cause hair to break. So, make sure hair is 100% dry before you go outside, and make sure you dry it properly. But first, shower your hair with love.

Wash hair without scalding it.

Washing with very hot water can contribute to dry skin, scalp, and hair. So keep the shower temperature moderate, or just warm enough for comfort to preserve your natural oils (and keep the bathroom mirror less steamy).

Shampoo less frequently to avoid depleting more moisture and to reduce the need for blow drying and heat-styling. Go one step farther by eliminating shampoo altogether. A cleanser that’s more in line with the one you probably use on your face, Hairstory New Wash has all the benefits of shampoo but none of the risks. Instead of detergent, an ingenious blend of essential oils and saturated fats condition while they cleanse, eliminating the need for a second product in the shower (and often a third or fourth once you’re out).

And remember to handle wet hair with care when it’s most elastic and fragile.

Dry hair without burning it.

Air dry whenever there’s time. When you must, use heat tools as seldom and for as short a time as possible. Set them at the lowest temperature you can to still get the job done. Hold the dryer at least 6 inches (15cm) away from your scalp. 

Dry hair without boiling it.

A condition known as bubble hair occurs when water in hair is heated and turns to steam, causing bubbles on the shaft. The result is brittle hair that is more prone to breakage and split ends. So before you reach for the blow dryer, use a towel, tee or micro-fiber cloth to make sure hair is merely damp and not sopping wet.

To counter the risks of heat styling, use a product beforehand that contains copolymers, proteins, and essential oils – to both insulate hair from heat and prevent moisture loss – such as Hairstory Dressed Up, our natural hair protector.

When you must, use heat tools as seldom and for as short a time as possible. Set them at the lowest temperature you can to still get the job done.

Remember that moisturizers can help mask the appearance of heat damage, but cannot actually repair it. Try a leave-in conditioning product like Hairstory Hair Balm and think of it as a skin cream. It’s also a great way to prevent static.

Some alcohols – ethanol (or ethyl alcohol), propanol, denatured alcohol (or alcohol denat) – can strip moisture. But others do the opposite. Look for cetyl, stearyl, cetearyl, myristyl, behenyl and lauryl alcohols in ingredient lists.

To avoid the issue entirely, wash your hair at night before bed so it’s dry by morning!

Keep it under your hat.

It turns out that the idea of losing heat most rapidly through the head is a fake pearl of wisdom. The head only represents about 10% of the body’s surface area and would have to lose many times as much heat per square inch as any other part. The simple fact is that if you’re not wearing a hat in the cold, you lose heat through your head as you would through your legs if you were wearing shorts.

But what about that dreaded winter malady called hat hair? Some say that the repeated friction of putting on and taking off a hat can lead to breakage by causing hair to mat, tangle, and rub together, but a hat is unlikely to do much damage unless you wear one all day, every day, without allowing your scalp to breathe. But in general, opt for hats with silk or satin linings that slide rather than snag.

Many of us would rather shiver than squash our coifs with hats. Choose looks meant to be worn close to the head like tight ponytails, braids, twists, or low buns that won’t get deflated.

The problem starts when hats come off. To avoid that telltale crease encircling your head, choose a hat that’s not too small: You should be able to fit your finger between the hat band and your head. And again, make sure your hair is dry before putting one on. Fabric choices can make a difference as well. Heavy fabrics tend to weigh hats down and flatten hair. Cotton hats also decrease static compared to synthetic material.

Many of us would rather shiver than squash our coifs with hats. Some preventative styling tips: Choose looks meant to be worn close to the head like tight ponytails, braids, twists, or low buns that won’t get deflated. In fact, for hair that tends toward bushy, a hat can be a great way to contain it. If you like to add texture by twisting hair or create waves by coiling it, use a hat to not only keep you warm but also to “set” hair while you wear it.

We hope you find ways to weather the winter months, and until spring arrives with its lions, lambs, showers, and flowers, stay warm – just not too warm.

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