When the temperature drops and the cold winds blow, and you can’t get enough of hot coffee and soups. And yet you can’t seem to get your hands reasonably warm. But that’s all the winter season does to you because the dry weather takes a toll on your skin and well—hair too, apart from giving you terrible flus and cold every now and then!
“Winter is a dreaded period for many people as it zaps the moisture out of the hair and scalp, resulting in frizzy hair, dry scalp or simply worsening the condition of those, who are already facing hair problems,” points out Dr. Apoorva Shah, founder, Richfeel Trichology Centre and Spa, Mumbai.
But don’t let the chill take a toll on you because the cosiest of jackets and blankets might fail you, but these winter haircare tips recommended by Dr Shah will most definitely not. Try ‘em to believe ‘em:
Massaging your hair and scalp regularly, say, once or twice a week, in these chilly winter months with natural oils can nourish your hair roots and strengthen your hair follicles by moisturising the scalp and promoting blood supply in the hair roots. You can try oils like coconut, jaborandi, argan, brahmi, almond, sesame or olive. Dr Shah suggests leaving the oil overnight and shampooing it off the next morning for best results.
There’s no doubting the fact that your hair needs the natural oils secreted by the scalp, even more so, in the dry winter months. Excessive shampooing can strip your hair off these protective oils as well as the essential moisture they provide. So, keep the hair washes limited to once or twice a week and use a mild shampoo suitable for your hair and scalp type.
Also, refrain from using back-and-forth strokes to wash your hair as it can lead to tangling and breaking of the hair as well as weaken the hair follicle.
If you’re a busy bee in life, chances are that you simply storm out of the shower after shampooing your hair and miss the very important step of applying a conditioner afterwards.
But, you’ve got to spare 5 more minutes to condition your hair as it moisturises and protects the outermost layer of your hair, makes it smooth and shiny, and can rid your hair of the frizziness and the resulting breakage.
“Look for a conditioner with cetyl alcohol. It is the best moisturizing agent and is derived from coconut. The molecular structure of coconut oil is too large to penetrate the hair cuticle, but by extracting the molecule and altering its size, you end up with cetyl alcohol,” Dr Shah explains.
“Another ingredient to look for is cetearyl alcohol, which is again, a great moisturiser for your hair,” he adds.
Surely, drying your hair in the winter seems like a mammoth task. But you know what? Not taking the effort and stepping out or sleeping with wet hair can make your life even worse as doing so can lead to excessive tangling and breakage.
“Further, if you leave your hair wet for long, it becomes cold in this weather. As a result, the hair shaft expands, making it very prone to breakage. If you have coloured hair, then not drying your hair can make the colour fade faster,” Dr Shah points out.
He also warns against rubbing your hair harshly and vigorously using a towel to dry your hair as it can cause more damage than you can imagine and recommends air/fan drying the hair before stepping out.
This one’s a no-brainer, ladies. Applying heat to your hair is a sure-shot recipe for hair damage, split-ends, and breakage. Now, imagine, how this damage can increase ten folds when your hair is already at its weakest best in the chilly weather. So, try to limit the usage of iron rods and hair straighteners as much as possible and don’t forget to use a heat-protection serum before doing it.
Winter-dry hair tends to tangle like crazy. So the key here is to comb your hair using a wide-tooth comb from the middle of your hair length while gently working it downwards in order to reduce the strain on your scalp and minimise breakage.
The lack of moisture in the air during winter can make your hair electrically charged due to increased friction. This can lead to further damage and breakage. Thus, a leave-on conditioner or a hair mousse can help you a great deal by reducing the hair static. Apart from this, wiping your hair with a soft tissue or fabric and using a silk pillowcase instead of a cotton one can also help you combat this issue.
Lack of water intake in the winter can lead to dehydration, which is bound to affect your hair and make it even drier. So, make sure you’re well hydrated in the winter. Also, consume a healthy, balanced diet to avoid any deficiencies of essential vitamins and nutrients that make your hair stronger.