When cold weather hits, there’s no enemy quite as pervasive as hat hair. While the snow slowly falling is charming and curling up by the fire is relaxing, there’s no doubt those low temperatures take their toll on your aesthetic.
Your trusty beanie may be an adorable millennial pink shade with a faux fur pom (on sale, too!), but that doesn’t mean it’s not killing your vibe. Hats and winter conditions leave hair frizzy and lackluster.
To combat the winter hat hair blues, we contacted Laura Dyer, Kérastase tech artist and brand ambassador. Dyer broke down the causes of your unruly ’do and offered sage advice about how to begin getting your mane in line.
Before trying to make any changes to your routine, it’s crucial to understand the root cause of the problem: dryness.
“There’s a serious lack of humidity during the winter that affects our hair. Remember learning about static electricity in physics class?” Dyer explains. “In a nutshell, dryness causes electrons to build up on a surface such as your hair, creating an electrical imbalance. The reason this doesn’t happen when there is moisture around, like in the summer, is that humidity helps keep the balance."
Instead of trying to fix your frizz after it’s already happened, apply these winter haircare tips to your daily routine. Before you know it, you’ll have Dyer-approved smooth locks.
Choose your winter accessories carefully.
Take a moment to consider how many different fabrics rub against your hair every day of winter: a hat, a scarf, and the collar of your oversized parka, to name a few. Even if you’re working with a pixie cut or bob, chances are good you’ve become frustrated by all the static.
“Hats are functional and cute, but the friction between two dry surfaces creates that electrical imbalance,” Dyer says. “Even though staticky hair is great for comedy, it’s pretty annoying when you’re trying to look professional.”
Unfortunately, the only way to cut down on hat-induced frizz is by swapping it out for something with less surface area. If you need to guarantee a good hair day, trade in your standard beanie for ear muffs. On particularly cold days, you can rely on a satin-lined winter hat to keep your mane looking good.
Swap out your texturizing sprays for oils.
There’s a reason you probably associate texturizing and sea salt sprays with beach season. They’re designed to create a summery, lived-in look. Just the way you trade in your light moisturizer for rich cream when cold weather hits, you should consider the importance of hydration for dry strands.
Instead of taking a chance with some DIY recipe, rely on a Kérastase product that’s specially formulated to create sleek strands like Elixir Ultime Nourishing Hair Oil.
“The best part about using Elixir Ultime is its versatility. You can apply to damp or dry hair, no matter your styling routine,” the pro says. “Hair retains a balance of moisture and suppleness, and static has no chance to strike.”
Make good use of your conditioner.
There are some women who advocate using only the shampoo and skipping over the conditioner completely. Dyer is here to confidently tell you that those people are wrong, particularly during frigid weather.
“It’s so hard to avoid hot showers, especially in the wintertime. But hot water saps the moisture from our skin and hair,” she explains. “If you normally skip conditioner, you may need to add it into your routine for the winter. Since your scalp produces a good amount of natural oils, most people can get away with just applying conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of their hair.”
Swap your standard formulation for the Kérastase Nutritive range, which provides lasting nutrition for dry, sensitized hair.
“My go-to products for extremely dry hair are Fondant Magistral, a rinse-out conditioner for the shower, and Créme Magistrale, a leave-in conditioner that smells incredible and works like a dream,” Dyer says. “If you can get your hair wet and also rinse it in cooler water after shampooing or conditioning, you’re already better off.”
Contrary to popular belief, winter showers are not a competition to see exactly how hot your water will go. By turning that knob to the left, you may be aggravating the problem.
Up your air drying skills.
Beauty gurus are always going on about air drying hair, which is less unpleasant than it sounds once you’ve practiced a few times. The key is to get the majority of the moisture out with a towel (gently squeezing the hair, never rubbing it) before applying any kind of a product.
If you’re still missing your curling iron, Dyer recommends learning to wet set your mane and embrace the waves or curls that come with it. Plus, you’ll be able to sleep in a few minutes longer before work.
“Winter is a great time to air dry or diffuse your hair, especially if you have natural texture that you want to enhance,” she says. “Apply a leave-in conditioner or oil and push up on the ends to help release natural texture. Even the most gorgeous curls usually have a few areas that can benefit from a ’wet set,’ meaning some twisting around a finger or even setting with clips while you air dry.”
Braids are your new best friend.
Feeling left out because your hair doesn’t have a modicum of body? Not to worry. Dyer is an advocate for simple styles that help guard your strands against seasonal damage. Braids are an excellent example of a look that requires almost no effort but looks neat and professional.
“Try applying a leave-in conditioner or oil, make two three-strand braids, then place them up and over the top for a cute ’milkmaid’ or crown effect,” she explains. “You can secure with a few bobby pins and use a wet, strong-hold hairspray—I like Kérastase Laque Noire—to secure your style and fight the frizz. A look like this can even stay put under your winter hat!”
Just like that, you’re armed with tips to keep your hair happier and more beautiful until warm weather comes again.