Cold, dry winter weather is basically your skin’s worst enemy. Unsurprisingly, it’s not so friendly to your hair either.
Just as dropping temperatures can lead to skin dryness and irritation, they can suck the moisture out of your strands, making them more susceptible to breakage. On top of that, there are a few common habits that could increase your chances for hair damage.
In order to find out what we’re doing wrong when it comes to winter hair care, we went straight to the pros. Read on to find out the absolute worst things you can do to your hair when frigid weather strikes.
1. Going outside with wet hair
You’ve probably heard it before: Don’t go outside with your hair wet or you’ll catch a cold. While that may not necessarily be true, there’s still reason to avoid heading out the door with your hair sopping wet. When the weather outside reaches extremely low temperatures, your wet hair can freeze and break.
To prevent that from happening, wash your hair at night before bed so it’s dry by morning or investing in a blow dryer (if you don’t have one already). Just remember, whenever you’re using heat tools, use a protecting spray.
2. Not conditioning enough
Overall, all hair should receive more hydrating masks and treatments in cold weather.
Keeping your hair well moisturised can also help combat dreaded hat hair and static. Both of those can be remedied by using a combo of leave-in conditioner (applied to wet hair, from midshaft to ends) and serum (to dry hair), which helps create “a barrier to tame the static.”
3. Washing with superhot water
Very hot water can dry out your skin, as well as wreak havoc on your hair and scalp.
Superhot water is drying all around, for your skin, scalp and, of course, the hair. Rinsing your hair with moderately hot or warm water helps to maintain hair health without freezing you out of the shower and won’t cause further dryness.
Extreme temperatures, both cold and hot, can snatch the moisture from your strands, causing them to possibly become dehydrated, which will cause frizz, dullness and ultimately breakage.
4. Overwashing your strands
Overwashing can lead to dryness in your hair and scalp, which “means a tight, flaky scalp as well as brittle, breaking strands.
On the flip side, overshampooing can cause your sebaceous glands, the glands responsible for producing oil, to become overactive, which will cause your scalp to be oilier than usual.
How often you wash your hair depends on your hair type. Tighter curls tend to have fewer cuticle layers than straighter hair textures, so it’s more susceptible to damage and dryness. It’s recommended shampooing every two to three days for straight or wavy textures, every four to five days for curly hair, and once per week for highly textured hair. However, there are always exceptions.
5. Using too many alcohol-based products
If you’re looking to keep moisture in your hair, alcohol-based products aren’t necessarily your best option. Alcohol-based products ― like some hairsprays, heat protecting sprays, texture sprays and even salt sprays ― are definitely one thing you can use too much of in the winter.
6. Not choosing the best hat
Obviously, hats are a go-to accessory for keeping you warm in the winter, but some people have wondered whether hats can damage hair.
Not only do they give you major hat hair, but it has also been said that the repeated friction of putting on and taking off your hat can lead to breakage. Additionally, hats can sometimes make your hair look greasier, and they don’t always let the scalp breathe.