As much as we love curling up by the fire and admiring the snowfall during the winter months, the dropping temperatures are not always so kind to our strands. Because of the harsh winds, frigid temperatures, and snow, we deal with dryer, frizzier strands and lack of volume and shine. That’s why, to remedy these concerns, you’ll need to give your hair care routine a major seasonal upgrade!
We tapped Rachel Graham, Matrix artist and color specialist, to break down exactly why switching up your hair care routine for a new season is a must.
"It is important to change up your hair routine every season because the weather and lifestyle changes can affect hair dramatically,” Graham explains. "The winter months can also take a toll on the hair due to how dry the air can be. Hair can become dry, brittle, and more prone to flyaways."
So when exactly is the perfect time to make the change? According to Graham, you should get started a few months prior to the winter chill.
"I recommend my clients start changing up their routine sometime in the fall to get ready for the colder months ahead," Graham says.
If you’re looking to combat your winter hair woes, keep scrolling for all of the winter haircare tips you need to know to achieve your healthiest, shiniest mane this season. We’re breaking down how to keep hair from frizzing in the winter, how to deal with hat hair, and more.
Wash your hair less often.
Wondering how often you should wash your hair in winter? If washing your hair sometimes feels like an all-day event, you’ll love this time-saving tip. While shampoo is formulated to clean your scalp and strands of any buildup, overdoing it can dry your hair out (which is why conditioner should always be your next step). Cutting back to washing your hair just two or three times a week, rather than every day, may help your hair feel less dry.
Which shampoo is best for hair in winter?
You should use a hydrating, softening shampoo formula during the winter months—plus the matching conditioner for best results. When it’s time to wash, be sure to reach for a system like Biolage Hydrasource Shampoo and Conditioner. Formulated to resemble the moisture-retaining properties of the aloe plant, this best-selling nourishing system balances moisture levels in hair while leaving it softer, shinier, and more manageable. If you have fine hair, try a system like Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo and Conditioner. These lightweight formulas revitalize, soften, and nourishe dry, fine color-treated hair without weighing it down.
Pro tip: For those with curly hair, swap out your regular shampoo for a cleansing conditioner like Mizani True Textures Cleansing Cream Conditioner. These formulas cleanse and hydrate in one step to help keep your ringlets soft and shiny.
If you can’t go a day without washing their hair before it gets greasy, you’ll want to pick up a dry shampoo like Redken Deep Clean Dry Shampoo. This formula delivers maximum oil absorption to refresh up to fourth-day hair.
Keep your strands (and scalp) hydrated.
Rule number one of winter hair care: Make hydration your BFF. When it comes to maintaining moisture, the colder months are basically your strand’s worst enemy. That’s why you’ll need a line-up of moisturizing hair products to prevent excessive dryness.
Once you have shampoo and conditioner down, your next step should be incorporating a hair mask into your routine. Use a formula like L'Oréal Professionnel’s Absolut Repair Resurfacing Golden Mask once a week. This mask instantly nourishes and restores weakened and damaged hair, leaving it shinier and softer.
If your scalp is feeling just as parched as the rest of your mane, add a hair serum like Kérastase Serum Extentioniste Scalp & Hair Serum to your routine. This formula strengthens hair from the root to promote longer, healthier hair and help soothe itchy scalps.
When it comes to styling, applying too much heat to your strands can quickly dry them out. We recommend limiting heat styling to once a week and always using a heat protectant like Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Iron Smoother Leave-In Spray.
Amp up the shine.
It’s normal to notice your strands looking duller during winter, but the good news is, it’s an easy fix. Add instant shine to your hair with a shine-boosting hair oil.
Which hair oil is good for winter?
If you want a formula that’s going to give your strands shine and nourishment, try Kérastase Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil. This luxurious formula made up of marula, camellia, and argan oil, creates super shiny hair while strengthening and nourishing it.
Invest in a high-quality hair brush.
The natural oils on your scalp get a bad rap. People have invested a lot of time, money, and shampoo (both wet and dry) trying to mask their oily locks, but in the wintertime, you can use those oils to your advantage. Instead of letting the oil collect on your scalp, use a good bristle brush to help distribute the oils throughout your strands.
Your ends naturally lack moisture, and the winter chill can leave them parched and brittle. By simply brushing your hair from root to tip, you’re able to help the natural oils on your scalp do what they’re made to do—nourish your locks. If you’re not sure which hair brush is right for you, click here for our full guide.
Protect your strands from harsh fabrics.
Winter weather was made for big hats, long scarves, and thick sweaters, but your favorite cozy attire may be wreaking havoc on your precious strands. Cotton and wool can be deceptively rough on your locks and have the potential to cause unnecessary pulling, breakage, and flyaways.
Have you ever pulled a big sweater over your head and felt your strands get caught in the fabric? While a single snag doesn’t feel too damaging, day after day of pulling sweaters over your head can begin to add up. To avoid this, gather your hair in a low bun or ponytail before you get dressed in the morning. The less hair that comes in contact with your clothing, the less opportunity it’ll have to get caught.
If you can’t survive the winter without a cozy beanie, consider finding a satin or silk-lined hat. Or, wrap your hair in a silk or satin scarf before throwing on your beanie. Much like a pillowcase of the same fabric, the scarf will create a smooth surface for your hair to lay against without a snag in sight. Click here for our complete guide to preventing hat hair.
Keep up with your haircuts.
We know it can be tempting to cozy up under a blanket and avoid leaving the house at all costs during the chillier months. It’s essential, however, to maintain your regular trimming schedule. Winter can make your strands dry and brittle, and haircuts can keep split ends from appearing and leave your hair softer and healthier-looking.
Soothe your scalp.
Nothing ruins a good hair day like dealing with an irritated, itchy scalp—which is a more common problem in winter. Aside from scalp exfoliators and gentle shampoos, there’s one more product anyone dealing with winter scalp woes needs: A scalp lotion, like Mizani Scalp Care Calming Lotion. Formulated with menthol, eucalyptus oil, aloe, and avocado oil, this product nourishes and soothes to help maintain scalp comfort.
Dark hair was made for winter, and it’s not just because dark brown hair looks striking against a winter wonderland backdrop. Bleach will cause damage to your hair and can seriously dry it out. When you’re already battling the natural elements, you don’t need anything else working against you. If you’re looking for a new hair color for the season, consider opting for a rich black or brown shade and save your blonde ambition for the summer.
No matter which shade you choose, keep your color-treated hair looking its best with a shampoo and conditioner like Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed Shampoo and Conditioner. This system cleanses and conditions to help protect against fading and extend color vibrancy.
Interested in more expert hair care tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.