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Top Hairstylists Reveal How to Get Healthy Hair in Winter

model with white beanie I Dermstore Blog

There may be plenty of things to love about winter, but for your hair, the freezing temperature, dry air and harsh winds can only lead to limp and lifeless locks. Cold weather

takes a toll on your hair and scalp, making it lose a ton of moisture and leaving it dry and dull. Not to mention, the low humidity weakens your locks and makes them susceptible to breakage and hair fall.

So as you settle into the new year, restoring your crowning glory and undoing the damage from the beating it takes every winter should be one of your top priorities. And as it turns out, winter hair care is more than just washing with lukewarm water and ending with a cold rinse. For one, having a healthy scalp is key in making sure your hair is always in top form. Below, we’ve rounded up some top tips from hairstylists and beauty experts on how to winter-proof your tresses!

1.Strengthen dry and brittle hair

Regardless of your hair type, your strands need extra fortification during winter. Just like how you switch out your closet staples as temperatures drop, your hair care products are also due for an upgrade. “Switch to a more moisturizing shampoo and conditioner since the winter season can cause hair to become drier,” advises Dani Everson, hairstylist and owner of Clementine Salon in Denver. And as we all know by now, dryness leads to weak strands, so adding a nourishing treatment or hair oil to your hair care routine is also a must.

And if you’re thinking of experimenting with your hairstyle or going lighter, you may want to put those plans on hold. While rocking platinum locks in the winter is a look we can definitely get behind, we’re not too big on bleach-damaged hair. The same is true for heat styling and chemical straighteners—both can only aggravate dryness and add to the damaging effects of harsh winter conditions.

2.Prevent breakage and hair fall

Hair fall, breakage and split ends become more common in the winter as your hair is constantly being battered by blasts of dry air. Aside from pampering your locks and curls with nourishing treatments, there are other steps you can take to prevent brittleness and breakage. These are:

  • Wear a hat when going outside to protect hair from bad weather. If you’re using one made of cotton, wool or other coarse fabrics, make sure to line it with silk or satin to avoid split ends and breakage.
  • Use a hair wrap when sleeping.
  • Switch to a silk pillowcase—these minimize friction and do not absorb moisture away from your hair.
  • Brush your hair gently, especially when it’s still wet. Use a wet brush with soft and flexible bristles that detangles hair and helps massage the scalp.
  • Use hair-friendly bands when tying up hair, such as crease-free fabric hair ties and coil bands that prevent tension and breakage.

3.Pamper your hair with deep hair treatments

Constant exposure to cold, dry air means your hair is always struggling to retain moisture and maintain the right level of hydration. To protect your tresses, get into the habit of using a hair mask or treatment weekly to give your strands another layer of much-needed protection and replenish lost moisture. “Use products infused with light oils like grapeseed oil to control frizz and add luster and shine to dull hair,” suggests Everson.

The cold night air also strips away moisture from your hair even as you sleep, so to prevent this, Jasmine Anna Galazka, senior hair stylist at Warren-Tricomi Salon in New York, recommends using hair masks for fall and winter. “Masks are more hydrating and have higher ceramides in them,” says Galazka, and using an overnight hair treatment is like a facial sleep mask but for your hair. It deeply conditions, repairs damage and restores strength while you catch up on some beauty rest.

4.Don’t forget about your scalp

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, so it only makes sense to look after your scalp like you would the skin on your face. And just like your skin, your scalp can also battle with dryness, dehydration and flaking. This is especially true in the winter, when the constant switch from the cold breeze to heated rooms can be extra damaging. Not to mention, product buildup and residue can further aggravate your scalp’s condition and lead to other concerns, such as itching and dandruff.

5.Switch to sulfate-free shampoo

Most of us think that the foamier the shampoo, the better. Shampoo lather is due to sulfate and while it helps cleanse the hair, it can also contribute to dryness and breakage. Sulfates strip your hair’s natural oils and make color-treated tresses lose its luster. “Hair health starts in the shower,” says Denver hairstylist Cheyenne Etheridge. “Keratin is one of the ingredients you want to look for in a shampoo, especially when the temps start to dip. It helps rebuild your hair and repair hair follicles, giving it that soft look that everyone wants in the winter months.”

6.Take time to condition

The winter months can be busy for many of us, especially during the holidays, so there may be days when you’re tempted to cut your shower time short to make it to your next appointment. But if you’re really serious about looking after your hair, you’ll have to work conditioning into your busy schedule. Conditioners can reverse the damaging effects of winter weather, hot styling tools and indoor heating and provide your tresses with additional protection. Look for keratin and moisturizing oils such as coconut oil, argan oil and jojoba oil when choosing which product to use.

For color-treated hair, leave-in conditioners work best as a support system for your hair and goes in after shampooing and conditioning. “When it’s colder, people tend to blast the heat in their showers, which could dry out your hair and fade color faster,” says Doug Mengert, a hairstylist in Los Angeles, CA. “Using moisturizing agents, like leave-in conditioners, will help tame unruly hair and keep it healthy and not become brittle.”

Ready to have your best winter hair ever? Below, we’ve listed down our favorite hair care products for your winter hair concerns.

  1. 1. For strengthening brittle hair and preventing breakage
    $56.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    1. For strengthening brittle hair and preventing breakage

    This best-selling at-home hair treatment from Olaplex goes in before shampooing and conditioning to give your strands a fortifying boost. It repairs and reverses hair damage while strengthening and protecting its structure, leaving you with breakage-free tresses, smoother texture and healthier-looking locks.

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. 2. For dandruff prevention
    $75.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    2. For dandruff prevention

    When your scalp is going through a dry and itchy spell, it may require more than the usual dose of pampering and TLC it gets from your shampoo and conditioner—especially when the problem goes beyond the usual dandruff. And that’s where this five-piece Briogeo set comes in. Featuring ingredients like Binchotan charcoal, panthenol, biotin and tea tree, peppermint and spearmint oils, this all-in-one kit includes the brand’s award-winning micro-exfoliating scalp scrub, a hydrating scalp mask, scalp treatment, dry shampoo and scalp massager. These hair care MVPs detoxify and rid hair of buildup, excess oil and impurities while hydrating and soothing an itchy, flaky or irritated scalp.

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. 3. A scalp treatment
    $48.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    3. A scalp treatment

    When it comes to restoring and nourishing your scalp, this lightweight leave-in treatment from Oribe is definitely not holding back. Featuring aloe vera, caffeine and biotin, it provides instant relief and reduces scalp irritation while exfoliating and treating dandruff. Formulated without sulfates, parabens and fragrance, it also works best for color- and keratin-treated hair.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. 4. For moisturizing dry hair
    $38.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    4. For moisturizing dry hair

    Just like your skin in winter, your hair is in constant need of moisture and hydration—and that’s exactly what this treatment mask from Briogeo does best. It brings your hair back to life by thoroughly hydrating and nourishing each hair strand, thanks to its rich formula that combines algae extracts, B-vitamins and rosehip and almond oils. So you can say goodbye to dry, frizzy hair and get ready to live your best hair life that’s healthier, shinier and breakage-free.

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. 5. A hair oil
    $44.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    5. A hair oil

    If you’ve always been apprehensive about using hair oils because of how it might weigh down your tresses, the Virtue Healing Oil treatment will no doubt change your mind. Its serum-like formula is packed with tried-and-tested hair saviors, including tocopherol, Kalahari melon seed oil, brown algae and floral extracts, it smooths and enhances your hair’s texture, repairs damage, protects from external aggressors and leaves your tresses with a lustrous, silky appearance.

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. 6. A sulfate-fee shampoo
    $29.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    6. A sulfate-fee shampoo

    Sometimes, the state of your hair in the morning can make or break your day, which is why this clarifying shampoo from Living Proof is definitely a winter hair care must-have. Powered by the brand’s Healthy Hair Molecule, it lets you shampoo your way to healthy hair without worrying about drying ingredients that strip your hair of moisture. It cleanses and nourishes your crowning glory while absorbing excess oil from your strands and scalp.

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. 7. A repairing conditioner
    $52.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    7. A repairing conditioner

    If you’re on the lookout for a hair product that truly does it all, then your search ends here. Formulated for all hair types (including color- and keratin-treated hair), this multitasking conditioner rom Oribe is infused with biotin, niacinamide, amino acids, argan oil and Mediterranean cypress extract—all working together to restore your locks to its lustrous glory. It reverses damage, improves circulation in the scalp, strengthens and smooths cuticles and provides protection from UV damage.

    Buy now with free delivery


Beauty Reporter

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for a good pair of hiking shoes and skip hotels to camp under the stars. She loves horror movies, googling ingredients in her beauty products and backpacking trips with her toddler. Her newfound obsession: nude lipstick.