Love Your Locks This Winter: 5 Practical Tips

Loving your locks is important year round, but especially critical in the winter. The dryness in the air can really pull the moisture, bounce, and vibrancy out of your hair so much so that if not treated properly, your hair can take months to get back to its healthy state. And do we really want to head into next summer’s chlorine and salt water with already damaged locks? Definitely not. To keep your hair lively and healthy, I’ve compiled for you my practical and easy list of five ways to keep the winter out of your hair all season long.

1. Stay Hydrated

During the winter season, our locks tend to get much more dry and brittle due to the lack of moisture in the air. Just as your hands need constant lotion to keep from drying up and even cracking, your locks need constant conditioning. Use a deep conditioner on a regular basis (about once a week or as per the manufacturer’s instructions) and be sure to comb it through with a wide tooth comb once you’ve applied it to ensure every strand is really soaking it up. Rinse it out with cooler water to close down your cuticle and keep all of that moisture where you want it. And if you aren’t using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner on a regular basis, you might want to consider adding it into your shower routine at least every other time you wash.

2. Say Goodbye To Static

Static is my nemesis in the winter time. I absolutely hate it and now that we are on the verge of snow here in Denver, it is everywhere! I’ve noticed that a lot of clients have a misconception about static; they tend to spray hairspray on it to force it down flat, but that often makes it worse. The reason is that static is a sign of a lack of moisture and hairspray is actually drying your hair out more with its high alcohol content. I attack static in a very practical sense: I keep a bottle of oil or a lotion with a heavier hold with me (travel sizes work perfectly) and whenever I notice a bit of static, I add either product to my hair. If I’m doing my regular deep conditioning treatments, I deal with static much less frequently. But having a bottle of Kevin Murphy’s Young.Again treatment oil in my purse means that anytime it starts to bother me, I can take care of it immediately without having to pull my hair up completely into a ponytail or hide it under a hat.

3. Treat Your Dry Scalp

Dryness doesn’t just affect the ends of your hair causing the strands to split and break; it can also affect your scalp greatly.

Dry scalp is characterized by the presence of white flakes on the scalp which can be brushed off easily and a feeling of tightness on the surface. In beauty school, we were taught to treat this with a process called “scientific brushing”, which I still use to some degree today. In this process, you are to take a boar bristle brush and brush the scalp along parted sections to brush off any flakes and activate the sebaceous glands to produce oil. Then, using an oil product, you are to massage the scalp for about ten minutes allowing the scalp to retain moisture. Once the scalp feels like it’s been conditioned, cleanse the hair with a clarifying or detoxing shampoo and then finish with your normal shampoo and conditioner to finish. Afterwards, the scalp should feel like it’s stretched out a bit and isn’t as tight. And most importantly, those flakes should be mostly or completely gone. For clients who have severely dry scalps, I recommend this about once a week as a prequel to a deep conditioning treatment. Those with a more mild case, I recommend about once to twice a month.

4. Get Rid Of Dullness

In the winter, your hair is already having a hard time due to the lack of humidity and moisture in the air. Add daily heat styling and chemical treatments into the mix and you are in for some dull and dry locks. One of the ways I like to keep my hair looking shiny and healthy all season long is by staying true to my shampoo routine. By only washing my hair every few days, the natural oils that my scalp produces to moisturize my hair can do their job and my hair can look shiny and healthy… even in the dead of winter. I also make it a point to use heat protection on my hair every single day. Because my heat tools can be harsh on my hair, I need to stay ahead of the damage by making it virtually impossible for my blowdryer and curling iron to make my hair brittle and weak. And using heat protection on my hair, providing a barrier between the heat and my fragile strands, allows me to stay ahead of any damage before it can happen.

5. Wear Low-Key Styles

When it comes to styling in the winter, less time and maintenance is huge. I tend to rock a lot of braids, topknots, and big, loose curls that don’t take me long to style. I know that I’ll either be wearing a hat, scarf, or both and I know that those two things can really limit my options with how I can wear my hair and keep it looking great all day. And honestly, I don’t want to worry about my hairstyle every time I step inside and take off my hat. The lower maintenance styles also allow me to not worry so much about my heat tools as I can usually wash my hair at night and blowdry it then or let it air dry on its own. And then in the morning, I can add curls or a braid and be ready to go in 20 minutes without fussing too much and still maintaining a trendy style and healthy locks.

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