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5 Jan

The BEST Ways to Winter-Proof Your Hair

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According to a recent study conducted by science, winter is literally the worst. The freezing temperatures can ruin various aspects of your day, but they really go the extra mile on your hair. If you’re anything like me you tend to look like a cranky pile of trash all winter. Why? Because fixing your hair in the winter so often feels like a futile mission. A measly effort.

Picture it: you spend an hour, from shower to straightener, fixing your hair to perfection for that Christmas party. You take all the extra steps to make it super cute, down to the tiniest strand. Then, after all your hard work, you throw on a huge sweater, then a coat, then a scarf- already your angelic curls have turned to satanic, static-filled puffs. It’s ok though, right? Frizz is kind of in as of late.

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Just when you think you’ve managed to mentally convince yourself that it still looks fine, you take 2 steps into the outside world. In one swift, foul gust of frozen winter wind, your hair goes from glamorous to ghoulish. No amount of hairspray on this icy winter wasteland of a planet could stand up to the brute force of a snow-laden gust. The wind blows your carefully crafted style to smithereens, while the tiny snowflakes melt in between every strand, ensuring that fresh-from-gym-class chic.

If you’re tired of looking like a sweaty, windblown beast upon entering any and every building, try some of these tips.

 

Ditch The Heat

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Yeah, you heard me. The first step to recovery is acceptance. It’s time to face the fact that if you want to maintain a heat-motivated style in the winter, you’d need a wizard wand, not a curling iron. Don’t spend thirty minutes perfectly shaping those waves. Don’t spend twenty minutes straightening. You’re just going to regret it when you arrive at your destination, only to check the mirror and realize your perfect curls have melted into wet, stringy waves. Winter winds have the power to take your look from Taylor Swift to Old Gregg in no time at all. (Although, are they really that different?)  If you depend on straightened bangs for your daily ‘do, I highly recommend a hat. Which brings me to my next point:

 

Embrace The Hat Lifestyle

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If winter weather is Voldemort, hats might as well be Dumbledore. They’re just about the only thing that can protect you from the evils of winter wind (although, like Dumbledore, they are not foolproof). Unfortunately though, and I’m not really sure why, hats seem to be one of the few things nobody wants to wear. Several of my friends claim they “don’t look good in hats” or “can’t pull off” a hat. To those of you who feel similarly—you are so very, deeply wrong and I feel immense sympathy for the lack of headwear in your life. Seriously, stop trying to convince yourself it doesn’t look good when you know you look fly as hell in that wintery bedazzled beret. Put on some Great Lengths ombre extensions and throw on a beanie to create a flawless flowing look in about five seconds. Wrap a thick, velvet headscarf or twist-knot turban around a giant bun to master the messy diva style. Dive in headfirst, abandon all trepidations about hats, and you’ll be a much happier winter survivor. A knitted beanie or a fluffy crocheted turban can help preserve your hairdo in the face of the harsh winter elements.The only drawback? Static. Which carries us to my next tip:

 

Learn To Defend Yourself Against Static

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             (note: laying in snow will not help you protect your hair from winter. Like, at all. It’s a cute picture, though)

The daily scarf-and-coat combo required by most cold winter days is already likely to ruin your chances of showing off that dope new outfit— don’t let it ruin your hair, too. When you throw a coat and scarf on over a fluffy sweater, then add a beanie, you’re basically a walking, talking wad of static electricity. All too frequently, this can turn a perfectly fabulous hairstyle into something more closely resembling Albert Einstein’s famous frizz. If you deal with tons of flyaways from static, don’t fret. There are a handful of solutions.

Personally, I like dryer sheets. They’re cheap, you’ve almost always got them in your house, and they will leave you smelling like a fresh lavender breeze. Or maybe clean linens. The possibilities are endless. I carry a few in my purse, especially if I plan to shed several layers or take my beanie off and on. To fight static, just grab a sheet and use it to lightly wipe your hair. The static will disappear and you can once again carry on like the frizz-free fashionista you are.

You can also use a product called Static Guard. I’m pretty sure it’s meant for liberating shag carpets from their static shackles, but hey, it gets the job done. Just spray it on your brush, comb, or styling tool before you use it on your hair. You can also just *lightly* spray it directly over your hair and use your hands to distribute evenly. (Props to Leisa Loan, a fellow GL writer, for revealing to me the endless, miraculous possibilities of Static Guard). However, you might want to use very small amounts to prevent residue from building up, because another of my winter wisdom gems is:

 

Let Your Locks Live Dirty

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When you wash your hair every single day, you’re stripping it of a healthy amount of oils, which is always going to lead to dryness. Dryness + winter weather = damage. So, one good route to keeping your hair healthy is to lay off the shampoo and let your hair go a few days between washings. If you have excessively oily hair, just cut back to a smaller amount of washes per week to keep from living in a greasy wasteland while also preventing dryness from over-washing. I personally wash my hair every 3-ish days, but I comb and rinse my hair before every shower to prevent tangles and oil buildup.

On top of that, if you wash your hair every day, there’s going to be at least one day where you find yourself 20 minutes late, unable to completely dry your hair before leaving the house (especially if you stick to the first tip of ditching heat tools). When cold hair and cold winds mix, breakage and dryness are inevitable. Don’t subject your hair to such frigid tomfoolery. I know, I know, not washing your hair feels dirty and wrong—but it’s actually really beneficial. Over washing can lead to some seriously limp locks, dullness, and even an overproduction of scalp oil- guaranteeing a one way ticket to Greasy Town. If you’re feeling distraught over the concept of going a few days between washes, you aren’t alone. But maybe you’d feel better knowing the next step:

 

Start Deep Conditioning

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Don’t worry, you won’t be leaving your ultra-soft and shiny locks in the dust just because you stop washing it every day. Starting a consistent deep conditioning regimen can be amazingly beneficial for your hair. The intense moisturization will help protect your hair against breakage, add shine, and generally promote healthier-looking locks. The frequency in which you deep condition depends on the texture of your hair, how much heat and chemicals you use, and how often you usually wash it; I have really fine hair, so I only deep condition once every week or so. A good rule of thumb is to deep condition every other time you wash your hair.

Which product you use is entirely up to you. Many people like the effects of store-bought deep conditioners, while some prefer more homemade/DIY alternatives. Coconut oil, the elixir of the gods, is always a great option. A quick Google or Pinterest search will yield tons of results and advice for picking the perfect formula. It may seem intimidating at first, since many DIY deep conditioners use things you would never have considered putting on your head, but carry on. They say to make an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs. Which are, coincidentally, a common ingredient in homemade deep conditioners.

Whatever mysterious witchy goo you decide to douse yourself in, make sure to apply liberally, especially to your ends. Some treatments call for rinsing after no longer than 30 minutes to an hour, while some recommend leaving the conditioner on for extended periods of time, overnight being the most common.

Heat and steam are best buds with deep conditioners, so try to incorporate them throughout the treatment. My personal favorite is wrapping my wet hair up in a towel that’s fresh out of the dryer. The heat will help swell the cuticle layer and allow deeper moisture absorption, while also making you feel like a fancy, pampered princess. If you’re really feeling frisky, throw a terry cloth robe in the dryer along with the towel you intend to use for your hair. You’ll feel like someone rolled you up into a big, muscle relaxing burrito and you will love it.

There are tons of ways to protect your hair from intense winter weather; these are just the beginning. Cotton fabrics prevent static cling, so look for more cotton based headwear or scarves. High, messy buns are low maintenance and actually sort of look better after you let the weather do its dirty work. You could even go grab one of those dashing plastic hair bonnets to wear over all your styles and flip the bird to the falling snow before it even has a chance to do any damage. Really, it’s up to you and whatever you think best suits your style. Knowing what you know now, there’s nothing winter can throw at you! You can defend yourself against any amount of bogus, stupid, crummy winter weather and look phenomenal while doing it. All it takes is a little courage to try something new.

 

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Emily Neal
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