If your hair is feeling dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage this time of year don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Cold winter air is drier than other seasons because there is less moisture in the air and humidity is so low. The winter weather along with several other factors all contribute to dry hair. Good news is dry hair is a common problem and can be easily treated and prevented.
Knowing how to prevent dry hair all year long will keep your locks healthier, shinier, and easier to style. To help visualize some of the healthy hair steps we’re about to share, check out our YouTube tutorial on how to prevent dry hair.
1. Understand what causes dry hair
The cold season is an external factor that impacts dry hair. The air inside your home may also feel dry in the colder months which can also affect your hair. Mother Nature however isn’t all to blame for dry and damaged hair.
Hair washing is also one of the most common culprits of dry hair. Your scalp naturally creates sebum or oil that helps to nourish the skin on your scalp and your strands. Washing your hair too often strips your hair of these natural oils it needs to help stay moisturized.
2. Hair washing
How often you should wash your hair depends on hair type and how quickly your hair gets greasy. Typically, washing two times and at maximum three times a week is a safe way to protect the natural oils while style giving you that fresh hair look and feel.
How you wash your hair is also important. In the winter months, it’s super tempting to turn the shower all the way up to maximum heat, however this isn’t good for your hair. Hot water also strips away your hair’s natural oils, it also dries out your scalp. Instead, rinse your hair with cool or cold water. Rinsing shampoo and conditioner products out with cold water helps to revitalize hair and add shine.
3. Dry your hair the right way
How you dry your hair can also help to prevent dry hair. On wash days, use a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair. Instead of rubbing your hair between the fabrics (a big no-no as this friction causes breakage), you want to scrunch your hair gently. If using a hairdryer, wait until your hair is about 75% dry then use the hairdryer, this causes less damage than blow drying when your hair is soaking wet. Remember to keep heat low and always apply a heat protectant before using any hot tool.
If you use hairdryers, straighteners or other hot tools, you may have more heat damage which can also cause dry hair. Limit heat styling to a couple times a week if necessary. Using hair extensions also helps to prevent heat styling damage. By curling or styling clip-in hair extensions and applying to your natural hair, you’ll not only save your natural hair from constant heat styling but also add length and volume to your style. Heat protectant should be used on hair extensions too and tools should be set to a maximum temperature of 120C/250F to prevent damaging the extensions.
While a lot of us are still working or attending school from home, blowouts may seem like a distant memory and air drying has become the go-to. We hate to break it to you, but this non-fussy method can dry out your hair (in the bad way). To better seal or lock in moisture after a wash it’s best to wrap your hair with microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt as mentioned above.
4. Brush your hair the right way to prevent dry hair
When your hair is wet, do not brush! We know it’s tempting to get those tangles out but brushing your hair when wet is damaging as hair is vulnerable when went and you can unnecessarily pull and break hair much more easily.
When brushing dry hair, be sure you’re using a safe tool, such as wide tooth comb, instead of old school bristle brushes. To prevent breakage, remember to brush from the bottom up, meaning working your way from the ends, then lengthening the strokes from the mid-shaft to ends. Do not brush top to bottom as this causes breakage, especially if you have dry hair.
5. Use the right hair accessories
On non-wash days, dry shampoo can help if you have extra greasy hair but don’t want to go through the washing process. Another method is to style your hair in a messy bun or pony, and avoid hair ties with rubber or plastic.
We love the Luxy Hair Gravity Defying hair ties, made of telescopic fiber and does not contain any plastic or rubber. The interlocking fibres are made to hold hair high without pulling on hair or letting your ponytail sag.
Scrunchies are also a great alternative to traditional (and damaging) hair elastics. Luxy’s Midnight Hour Accessory Collection includes our Dusk to Dawn fabric scrunchies and Sleepover Mini Satin Scrunchie Trio to help stylishly and safely tie your hair back between wash days and all the others.
6. Break up with split ends
With dry hair, split ends are very common. This has to do with the natural oil creation we spoke of earlier. Your ends are the last to receive the oils and if those are lacking moisture, they quickly become dry and brittle, weighing down on the rest of your hair.
7. Use the "dusting" technique
Getting regular trims helps with overall hair health, but if your salon is currently closed or you can’t go as often, we recommend the “dusting” trick for a little trim DIY. If you can get your hands on a pair of professional shears, you can focus on dead ends and lightly trim. This doesn’t require a lot of technique as dead ends will usually stick out from healthy strands, do small portions of the hair at a time to prevent any mishaps.
8. Limit chemical treatments
Chemical treatments such as hair coloring also causes dry and damaged hair. Limit these treatments to a couple times a year to preserve your natural oils and hair health. There are a ton of ways to refresh your look and rock the styles you love without all that heat and chemicals including using hair extensions to offer you an alternative way to add length, various styles, and color to your look, there are plenty of heatless hairstyles that can help too.
9. Dry hair needs masks too
Your vanity may be full of sheet and face masks, but your dry hair could use a mask just as much as your skin. Especially in the colder seasons, hair masks and hair oils will be your hair lifesavers. Natural oils like coconut and argan not only help to moisturize your hair but also help to nourish your scalp. You can apply either coconut oil or argan oil in as a mask before you wash or apply it to dry hair as a mask.
10. Try the "bagging" method
After a wash when your hair is wet, apply a generous amount of the hair mask then twist or pin your hair up with alligator clips. Wrap hair in a shower cap or plastic wrap for 10-20 minutes. By covering hair with a mask, it helps to open hair cuticles to maximize conditioning agents to penetrate the hair follicles. Hair will absorb the conditioner much better when wrapped compared to when it’s left uncovered. Try this moisturizing method 1-2 times a week to help prevent dry hair.
11. Check if it runs in the family
Sometimes, dry har is simply in our genes. If your parents or siblings are susceptible to dry hair or scalp, it’s likely you are (or will be) too. The best way to remedy genetically inherited dry hair is to follow our steps above for healthy hair. Don’t forget to take care of your scalp too!
12. Load up on the right foods
Diet also impacts hair. Load up on foods that are rich in omega-3 and anti oxidants; broccoli, blueberries, tomatoes, walnuts, kidney beans and salmon are not only great for hair, but skin and overall health too. Don’t forget H2O, staying hydrated and getting enough water is so critical for skin and hair health.
13. Apply all rules above all year-round
Dry hair in the winter can be just as inevitable as frizz in the summer, though some experience it all year round. A healthy hair routine that keeps the hair and scalp moisturized is essential all year long. Don’t just use these practices when you get dry hair, take preventative measures and incorporate them into your daily hair routines, no matter the season.
Written by: Rosalyn Solomon