During the winter months, cold outside weather combined with dry indoor heat can wreak havoc on your strands, leading to split ends and breakage. That’s right: Breakage isn’t just a summertime sadness. It happens in winter, and to all manner of hair types. In order to have a fabulous mane all year long, there are a few precautions you should take throughout the year.
Shampoo less often to help with itchy, flaky scalp.
Plaques of skin can smother the scalp, not only causing itch and flakes, but smothering growth as well. Shampoo a little less if you can.
Switch to an oil-based moisturizer to lock in extra moisture.
Blasts of dry air are not good for any type of hair. The only way to combat it: extra moisture. “Natural, curly, wavy, relaxed, and coiled hair is sensitive to cold weather, when it’s prone to brittle texture, breakage, and split ends,” explains Ron Williams, national educator for Phytospecific, who suggests using a heavier-than-usual oil-based moisturizer that will evaporate more slowly to protect textured hair.
Commit to weekly treatments to keep hair hydrated.
Dry air also means all hair textures should focus on weekly hair treatments to replace lost moisture. “Hair dries out in winter from not having enough moisture in the indoor air, which is when a good conditioner comes in handy,” advises James Corbett, owner of James Corbett Studio and global color consultant for Clairol. “Once a week, you should baby your hair: Slather conditioner on and take 30 minutes for the moisture to penetrate into the hair shaft.”
Use leave-in conditioner to combat static.
Floating, fine strands are a common occurrence during winter, which Corbett says is a key sign of dryness. Corbett advises that, instead of the static guard/dryer sheet route, be sure hair is hydrated with regular conditioning, then lock it in with a leave-in conditioner.
Forgo platinum haircolor for a darker dye this winter.
According to Corbett, this might be a good time to dial down blonde ambition. “Anytime you can switch off is good. Platinum is awesome, but it’s so incredibly damaging for the hair.” He advises leaving the roots a little darker and applying a demi-permanent hue until the weather is kinder. “That way, it washes out, and the process won’t be that detrimental when you’re ready to go back to platinum again.”
Cut down on your heat-heavy styling routine.
All that heat and dryness will result in split ends and breakage. Corbett advises avid use of heat protection, including leave-in conditioners, to prevent breakage. Also try protective styles, such as braids, buns, twists, and ponytails, which give hair time off from the heat routine.
But never go outside with damp hair to bypass breakage.
Although time is of the essence in the morning, it’s critical to dry hair thoroughly before dashing into the cold. “Anything that’s cold expands, and that’s what can happen with your wet hair shaft in the cold weather, which puts you at risk for breakage and makes your color fade faster,” cautions Corbett. Take the time. Your hair—and your salon bill—will thank you later.
Line your winter hat with silk or satin to stop split ends.
Warning: Wool, cotton, and other coarse fabrics can cause split ends and breakage, a tip even more important if you have curls or natural-textured hair. “Always line wool, acrylic, and/or cotton hats with silk or satin,” recommends Williams, who advises going DIY: Buy or use old fabric (like a vintage scarf or silk blouse) to measure and sew into any hat you already own.
Williams recommends curly and natural girls apply an oil-based hair moisturizer prior to hat placement, while Corbett suggests smooth-textured ladies utilize a silk scarf to prolong their blowout. “Place your blowout or style inside a silk scarf underneath your hat to protect your hair. When you arrive at your destination, remove the scarf and your blowout will be in-tact and protected.”
Use dry shampoo for volume if your hair has gone limp.
Those with oily hair might find their hair goes extraordinarily limp, particularly when it comes to the dreaded “hat head,” which can ruin your style and your whole day. “You’ll want to shampoo a little more, and condition a little less, especially at the root,” explains Reyman. “Use a good spray or thickening tonic to help build up the style and add volume. Dry shampoos are great for this: they keep the hair fuller and more robust, and expand the hair shaft.”
Hydrate hair overnight with an oil or serum.
Dry night air leeches moisture from your skin (hello, night cream!) as well as your hair. Ryan Cotton, hairstylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon, is a proponent of night serums. “It can sometimes create a mess on your pillowcase, but I say designate an old pillowcase for ‘hydration night.’”
Williams advises girls with curls, relaxed, and textured strands hydrate nightly with a light oil high in omega fatty acids, along with an extra measure of added protection. “Always cover your hair with a sleep bonnet or silk scarf to avoid friction. It will also keep moisture levels intact.”
While most women have a go-to morning routine for their skin, what about for your hair? Whatever the style du jour might be, here’s how you can care for your hair on a daily basis.
- Use the right brush
It all starts with the right brush for your hair type and condition. Using a brush that’s too harsh, causes frizz or forces you to rip through your hair are all bad ways to start styling. A non-synthetic wide and flat brush is a good option for most hair types, but remember to wash it regularly.
- Give your hair a break
If you wore a heavily-styled look yesterday, opt for something looser with less products required today. This will help prevent serious product-buildup in your hair, and give it the time it needs to regain strength after being pulled around and strained.
- Don’t grease up
Avoid skincare products getting into the hairline, giving you greasy roots before you even leave the house, by wearing a soft fabric headband when applying your skincare products and makeup. When you move onto your hairstyle, remember to wash your hands.
- When to wash
It’s recommended to wash your hair every two/three days to avoid stripping it of its natural oils. If your hair starts to look a little greasy in between washes, spray Morning After Dust at the roots and underneath. Once a week, apply a leave-in conditioner overnight to replenish the hair.
- Blow-dry it right
Don’t use the hottest temperature when blow-drying as this can damage and dry out the hair shaft, leaving it weak and prone to breakages. For a natural boost of volume to start your day, blow-dry with your head upside down, then flick upwards and backwards when 90% dry. Always try to avoid drying 100%, your hair will appreciate the little bit of moisture left over.
Applying these (almost) everyday tips to your haircare routine will show your hair that you care for it just as much as you do your skin!
01: Don’t Like Your Color? Change It!
If your clip-in human hair extensions aren’t quite the right color for you, it can be massively frustrating. But for the crafty out there, this doesn’t have to be a problem. In fact, just like standard human hair, you can simply dye them a different shade. As long as you’re making your extensions darker or altering the tone (for example, making them redder or cooler,) it’s a simple at-home process.
A word of caution, though: If you want to lighten or highlight your human-hair extensions, consider enlisting the help of a professional hair stylist. You can attempt it, but it’s a trickier, more involved process—one that can damage your expensive investment if done wrong.
Before you begin, double-check that your hair extensions are true human hair. Artificial hair cannot be colored successfully.
02: Choose a Color, and Gather Your Supplies
Select a color from a professional hair color and developer line. A boxed color from a drugstore doesn’t give you the option to choose the developer that you will use on your hair extensions, and that’s what you want. A 10-volume developer or a demi-permanent color is best. You can use 20-volume developer if necessary, but avoid 30- and 40-volume developers as they will damage your hair extensions if you’re not careful.
After you’ve purchased your color and developer, gather a few more supplies:
- Color bowl and brush
- Hair color gloves
- Tin foil
- Plastic wrap
- Wide-toothed comb
03: Organize Your Workspace and Mix Color
If possible, set up your supplies on a large counter or table space with plenty of room to work comfortably. The room should be both warm and well-lit. Spread sheets of tin foil across your work area to prevent staining your workspace from the color.
Following the manufacturer’s directions, prepare your color. Most color is mixed with equal parts color and developer. You’ll need approximately 3–5 ounces of prepared color for your extensions. More color may be necessary for longer extensions. You don’t have to wash your extensions prior to coloring, but you need to comb them through to remove tangles. Then, lay them across the tin foil. Let them dry—don’t color your hair extensions while they are wet or damp.
04: Apply The Color
Using gloved hands and a color brush, completely saturate each section of your hair extensions with the color solution. Be sure that the color completely coats both sides of your extensions, from their tops to the very ends. It’s far better to use too much color, rather than not enough. Start at the top of the extension (where the clips are located) moving downward to the ends, following the natural fall of the hair. Applying the color upwards could damage your extensions, and will likely leave your extensions frizzy and disheveled.
05: Process The Color
After you’ve applied color to each section of your extensions, loosely cover them with plastic wrap in order to prevent the color from drying out. Allow the color to process at standard room temperature for the amount of time specified on the manufacturer’s directions—typically anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.
Check a small section of the hair extensions every five to 10 minutes during the processing time by gently rubbing the color off the extension with a paper towel. Reapply the color with your color brush after checking, and remember that hair color when wet appears darker than it does when dry. When the processing has been completed and the color of your extensions is satisfactory, it’s time to rinse out the hair. Fold your tin foil in half for simple transportation to a sink.
Rinse the color from your extensions using cool (not cold) water at low pressure, using your fingers to gently work the excess dye out. It’s important that you allow the water to flow in the direction that the hair naturally falls, from the clipped portion of the extension to the ends. A thorough rinsing should take an absolute minimum of 15–20 minutes. Make sure you remove all the color; if you’re not sure you have, keep rinsing. Follow up by shampooing your extensions with a mild, sulfate-free, moisturizing or color-safe shampoo.
07: Comb & Allow To Dry
When you’re sure that your extensions are rinsed completely, lay a towel down on your workspace. Apply a leave-in conditioner to each section of your extensions and comb them gently with your wide-toothed comb. Allow the extensions to air-dry thoroughly (don’t use a blow-drier) before using or styling them, especially if you use any kind of heat tools.