The secret to damage-free hair in the blustery vortex that is New York midwinter may seem elusive. However, a combination of changing habits, swapping products, and working from the inside out can transform hair from straw to silk.
Split ends and dull or brittle hair are consequences of the plummeting temperatures. In addition, the necessary indoor heating can wreak equal havoc. Coming into the new semester, look to swap some common hair products such as shampoo and conditioner, and look for replacements with added natural ingredients as well as moisturizers such as Argan oil, coconut oil, and Shea butter. When paired with a moisturizing conditioner featuring hydrators such as fatty acids and soy, hair will look and feel stronger within a few washes.
If you are forced to wash you hair often due to sports and daily exercise, try a deep conditioning mask one to two times per week. Otherwise, seek to nix shampooing every day, as it often strips hair follicles of vital oils and leaves hair dry and dull. Another on-the-go tip is to touch the ends of your hair after putting on hand lotion to lock in some extra moisture.
During the winter season, crèmes are superior to gel products for holding moisture, but just be sure to avoid products with alcohol or heavy fragrances. This includes spritzing perfume into your locks like Kim Kardashian—save that for the spring and fall.
As far as heat goes, try to use your iron and blow dryer sparingly. Though if needed, use a heat-protectant and wait until hair is 90 percent dry before blow-drying. If you flat iron daily, rub olive oil onto the plates once a week to protect hair. In both cases, use a wide-tooth comb in the shower to remove tangles before pat drying wet hair. Since hair is already at its weakest when wet, working with knotty strands can cause excessive breakage.
Diet can also help improve hair texture and shine. Pile on the protein-rich food, at least twice a day. Hair experts also suggest B-vitamins and rosehips to repair hair from the inside out. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to have a humidifier in your room to protect against the dry winter air creeping in.
As I impart my last bits of wisdom, remember not to go outside with wet hair if possible; it’s downright abusive to your hair. Never be afraid to whip out the scrunchie if necessary; it is the most hair-friendly hair tie despite its dated style. And if it comes down to it, a hair cut with shears (never scissors) will also do the trick.
Cate Wright is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org