Oh, winter—how we love and hate thee. On the one hand, it’s a time to rest and recharge after the holiday bustle. On the other, it’s a period when the whipping snow, wind, and rain have us less than eager to leave the couch, especially knowing the toll they take on our mane.
“Winter does not need to be a ‘bad season’ for your hair,” urges Guillaume Duez, general manager of Kérastase Paris and Shu Uemura Art of Hair. “In fact, it’s the perfect time to take care of it. Since each of us is different, having the best advice and routine is key—as always, your salon and stylist have the answers!”
We couldn’t agree more, so we polled Duez and other industry experts for the clever hacks and top products they rely on to make winter a less scary place for our vulnerable, exposed locks. From hat hair to staticky flyaways, keep scrolling to kiss winter hair hassles goodbye.
Outsmart Hat Hair
Beanies may keep us warm, but they can be an instant hairstyle spoiler when trying to gracefully transition from commuting in the snow to happy hour with friends.
“Save yourself from hat head by applying Redken Invisible Dry Shampoo to your scalp first,” says Redken artist and educator Bambi McClone. “While you let that sit and do it’s thing (remember, dry shampoo needs a few minutes to get the job done right), spray some of that glorious Invisible Dry Shampoo onto the INSIDE of your hat! It will keep the hat and your hair smelling fresh and prevent that dreaded hat head style.”
Redken artist Denise Welsh says another way to combat hat hair is to ensure strands are completely dry before slipping on your topper.
“Wet hair can dry and form to the hat's shape, making the top flat,” says Welsh.
If hair still manages to decompress underneath your cap, Welsh says that Redken’s Dry Texture Finishing Spray is best to “help lift the roots and reshape and tousle the hair after being flattened.”
Last but not least, how you part your hair can make all the difference in thwarting a hat head crisis. Switch your part to the opposite side you normally wear it or create a very deep side part before slipping on your hat. The new part line forces hair to lie in a different direction at the root so that when you flip it over, your strands remain propped up and voluminous long after removing your headwear.
Pump Up the Volume
While the summer humidity makes our tresses puff up, the dry winter air can have the opposite effect, sapping the life right out of even the most carefully-styled hair.
“My favorite wash day trick to getting volume is applying Redken Root Lifter Volumizing Spray Foam (formerly called Guts 10) to my base and blow drying it in the opposite direction of where it lives,” says Redken’s McClone. “For example, the crown gets blow-dried forward, so when I put it in natural fall, it has some volume! And if I need a little extra staying power, I’ll add a little Redken Root Tease Backcombing Spray (previously Quick Tease 15) to the crown.”
Regarding styling, Cynthia Alvarez, Biolage Professional brand ambassador, echoes this sentiment, saying she loves spraying volumizing spray or a dry shampoo onto hair while flipped upside down to revive and lift hair that tends to fall flat. She notes that the texture of your hairstyle can also greatly impact how much body you get. If you’re prone to limp hair, wearing it straight and sleek can cause it to stick unflatteringly to your head, emphasizing its lifeless look.
“Adding waves to your hair creates the illusion of fuller, more voluminous hair,” says the Biolage pro. More on that later!
Static hair occurs when electrical charges build up in your body and then transfer to your strands, making random pieces floaty and buoyant. Flat irons, certain hair accessories, and even walking can create static electricity in hair. Still, it mostly occurs when the air is dry (like during the winter) and when there’s consistent friction against the hair (looking at you, winter hats).
“Hydration is necessary to prevent static,” says Alvarez. This is because the cuticle will soak up moisture, making it more resistant to dryness in the air. She advises beginning your routine with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, then applying a smoothing hair oil like Biolage Professional’s All-In-One Mulit-Benefit Oil to calm frizz and seal the cuticle, further locking static out.
Rethinking everyday items like your hat and your brush can also hold the key to minimizing your chances of staticky hair.
“Avoid wearing hats made of synthetic fibers,” says Redken artist Amber Maldonado. “They can pull on your hair and cause static.” Some common synthetic fibers to look out for are acrylic, polyester, and rayon, while natural fibers include silk, wool, cotton, and linen.
As far as brushes go, the friction created between your hair and bristles can be a major catalyst for super-charging hair with static, especially if your brush is plastic. If possible, consider investing in a wood or natural-bristled brush to cut down on the pesky electrical charges.
“Spray a little bit of Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Anti-Static Oil Mist to your brush or comb before detangling dry hair,” adds McClone. “Start on mid-to-ends so as not to create extra oil at the scalp. This will help prevent static before it gets out of control.”
If there’s one thing our pros agree on, it’s opting for heatless styles this time of year. They give your strands a break from harsh hot tools and help you save precious time on styling when you can’t seem to leave your bed on cold mornings. Plus, a quick scroll through social media will leave you with no shortage of genius heat-free hacks to try.
“Heatless curls can be made by placing a thicker piece of fabric (think the belt on your bathrobe) on top of your head, splitting the hair down the middle, and wrapping both sides around the fabric,” says Redken’s Welsh. “Leave [it on] overnight before taking it out to create a big bouncy curl!” (Editor’s note: Keep fabric in place with clips and/or scrunchies.)
Another easy shortcut to add instant waves? Slightly re-wet the hair with a conditioning spray to manipulate it into a new style—no wash day required.
“I like to mist Biolage Professional Strength Recovery Repairing Spray onto dry hair and either twist or braid my hair,” says Alvarez. “After a few minutes, I undo my hair and am left with shiny, bouncy waves.”
In addition, Duez says rope braids often yield amazing heat-free results and can be worn while you sleep. Just be sure to apply a finishing serum from the mid-lengths to ends of hair, like Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil.
“A few drops go a long way, and it can be re-applied throughout the day without ever weighing down your hair thanks to a blend of precious and rare oils,” says the Kérastase guru.
Embrace Messy Hairstyles
Matrix brand ambassador George Papanikolas suggests opting for undone looks that will appear purposeful in inclement weather.
“Ponytails, loose braids, and messy chignons are all easy looks to wear on windy or snowy days as their imperfect texture works to your advantage in less than perfect weather,” says Papanikolas. “These styles hold best on second or third-day hair, so it's an easy way to give your hair a break from heat tools and styling.”
If you do decide to recreate these styles on clean hair, he says that a texture spray like Matrix Miracle Extender Dry Shampoo or Miss Mess Dry Finishing Spray can add grit to hair, allowing these styles to stay in place even on the windiest days.
Take Advantage of Beauty Sleep
Who knew that long winter nights could be such a good thing for our mane?
“One aspect that is often neglected and will do so much good for your hair is taking advantage of the night to enhance your routine,” says Duez. “Overnight products, like in skin care, have unique benefits and will drastically improve your hair quality and oftentimes allow you to save ‘time’ in your morning routines.”
For an overnight option we love, consider adding Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Essence Absolue Overnight Serum to your cart.
Almost all of the experts we polled suggested sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase or wrapping locks up in a bonnet made of the same materials. Unlike traditional cotton, the smoothness of silk and satin can help minimize friction from tossing and turning while you sleep, which can potentially lead to breakage, frizz, and damage. Plus, these fabrics are less absorbent than cotton, making them a secret weapon against dry hair.
Protect Your Color
It’s important to take care of your color-treated hair year-round, but you should be especially vigilant during winter to preserve the hue your stylist worked so hard to create. Harsh winter elements can make hair more porous, and its cuticle lifted, allowing dye molecules to seep right out of your strands.
“Balancing out your hair porosity with Matrix Instacure Anti-Breakage Porosity Spray helps color and gloss adhere to the hair for balanced and desired tones,” says Papanikolas.
“It has protein, which, when coloring your hair, tends to need protein to hold on to the color and moisture,” adds Matrix brand ambassador Rachel Bodt.
Another surprising culprit of color fading in winter? Overusing volumizing hair products.
“Use gentle, hydrating formulas that keep the cuticle tight,” says Papanikolas. “Anything volumizing will cause the cuticle to swell, and your color will fade faster.”
That’s not to say you should trudge through winter with flat hair. As with many things in hair and (and in life!), moderation is key. And as Papanikolas mentions, counteracting heavy or harsh stylers with a deep conditioner or hydrating hair mask can keep your color healthy and vibrant well into the next season.
Looking for more professional advice and salon-grade products to get you through the winter? Stock up on all your needs on Hair.com.