Cold air. Low humidity. Fuzzy wool hats. All reasons why your hair just doesn't seem to cooperate during the winter. Here's how to avoid the season's biggest hair care challenges—without too much extra effort.
Problem: Your hair is dry and parched.
Solution: Shampoo less often.
Most women need to shampoo only three times a week—and less often if their hair is on the dry side. “Many of my clients can stretch it up to six days,” says Harry Josh, a stylist and creative consultant for John Frieda. Less frequent washing means you’ll avoid not only excessive cleansing but also excessive blow-drying, another move that can leave hair parched. If you feel compelled to do something between washes, “rinse your scalp with water and condition the ends only,” says Ted Gibson, the owner-stylist of the Ted Gibson salons in New York City and Fort Lauderdale.
Problem: Your hair is standing on end, à la Bride of Frankenstein.
Solution: Tame stands with hair spray.
Spritz hair spray on a comb, then run it through fly-aways. Or, if you have fine hair, use dry conditioner, which grounds strands without flattening. In a pinch, you can use a lightweight lotion. But remember—a little goes a long way. Rub a tiny dollop between your hands, then gently run them over hair. To block static from building up on your tools and spreading to your hair, stow a dryer sheet with brushes and combs, says Tabatha Coffey , a celebrity stylist and the creator of the Luxhair How line of extensions.
Problem: You don't want to go out with wet hair.
Solution: Speed-dry your hair.
Trying to dry sopping-wet hair can take forever and invites heat damage. Hurry things along by blotting hair with an absorbent towel (no rubbing, which roughs up strands). Next, gently wrap your hair turban-style until it’s 80 percent dry and move on to other tasks, like applying makeup and getting dressed, while your hair dries naturally. Then enlist a dryer. Bonus: This technique will also make your style last longer since it really only sets during the last 20-percent of your blow-dry.
Problem: Your color is fading.
Solution: Use products for color-treated hair...sparingly.
Alas, since dryness speeds fading, your color may, in fact, fade faster in winter. You can’t stop it completely, but you can slow it down. Don’t shampoo for at least a day after you color. "From then on, wash only every two to three days," says Jasen James, a color specialist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. Stick to shampoos and conditioners made for color-treated hair, since “these products are designed to keep the hair shafts closed, and that keeps color in,” explains Crawford. And be wary of volumizing products, which can open the hair’s cuticles, releasing the color inside and leading to, you guessed it, fading.
Problem: Your hair is flat, stringy, and lifeless.
Solution: Use the right hair spray.
Add volume with a root-boosting spray. Divide the top layer of wet or damp hair into four sections. Lift each section up toward the ceiling and spritz the roots. Give the spray a minute to work its magic, then hit roots with a hair dryer while lifting the section with a big round brush until all the product has evaporated. Smooth hair down as much (or little) as desired with a brush. For even more volume, finish by back-combing each section.