Winter wreaks havoc on all sorts of things: our skin, our hair, our commitment to starting a new exercise regimen, even our mental state and emotional well-being. But let's forget most of those things and focus on our hair for now. It's no secret that cold, dry weather brings with it all sorts of beauty problems, chief among them ultra-parched skin. This can affect our hair in all sorts of ways (what's up dandruff) and, let's face it, what affects our hair also affects our mood. And we need all the help we can get to stay positive during these dark times. So in an effort to prevent follicular disasters this winter, we spoke with hair expert Brooke Jordan Hunt, owner of the wonderful Bird House Hair Studio in Brooklyn, New York, about how to keep our tresses free of the trauma this chilly season usually bestows upon them. Read on to find out how to combat dry scalp, static cling, and more.
How often should we wash our hair in the winter?
Well, it’s never black and white, because it depends on your hair type. Almost everyone, however, can wash their hair less often in the winter because your hair and your scalp are dryer. You need the natural oil your scalp produces to keep your scalp and your hair moisturized and healthy, so in general, I definitely recommend washing less in the winter for most of my clients. If you have super-fine hair and very oily skin, you may still need to wash daily, but with pretty much every other combination, you should be able to go at most every other day up to once a week. I wash my hair once a week. I also swear by dry shampoo to stave off greasiness as I get closer to day seven, but be careful not to use it more than three days in a row because it can clog your pores.
Are there specific products that can protect our hair from the overly dry air?
YES! First, one of my favorite products to talk about: oils. High-quality oils that are intended for use in the hair can make your hair silky soft and can give it a shine as if it’s the middle of summer. We sell my favorite hair oil of all time, Sachajuan’s Intensive Hair Oil, which is a combination of argan oil, sunflower seed oil, and rosemary leaf extract. The oils have a small enough molecular structure that they will penetrate the cuticle of the hair rather than just sitting on top, making it healthy from the inside out.
Similarly, Olaplex, another one of my all-time favorite miracle products, also makes your hair healthy from the inside out, but in a way that rebuilds the bonds in order to prevent breakage. When your hair is dry, it’s more likely to break, and Olaplex gives it superhero strength. When you get a color treatment in the salon, always request Olaplex and ideally, take home the Olaplex #3 at-home treatment, which I always tell clients to use like an antibiotic: use regularly—once or twice a week depending on the texture of your hair—until it’s gone to reap the maximum benefits.
How do we prevent static cling?
Static cling is tricky. Silicone products have their place, and one of their places is to prevent static cling. A light hairspray or dry texturing spray can help to neutralize electrical charges, but it won’t completely solve the problem. A few tricks in addition to products: One, rub your clothes and your hair with a dryer sheet; two, spray the inside of your hat or hood with hairspray, which will help. A couple things to note: Argan oil also helps to neutralize electrical charges, and your naturals oils help prevent static cling as well so washing less frequently can make a big difference.The dirtier your hair, the less static cling you’ll experience.
Is there one thing that you notice clients complaining about more in the winter than at any other time?
Oh, yes. Dry everything. Dry dry dry. Dry and itchy scalp, and dry ends. In the winter, I often recommend an exfoliating scalp shampoo combined with oil for the shaft. Using a more moisturizing shampoo and conditioner in the winter can also help combat the dryness. Also, although it feels amazing to take a hot shower on a frigid day, this can cause even drier skin and hair. If you want to take a hot shower, be sure to turn the temperature down a little when rinsing your hair and follow up with oil.
Is there something we do wrong with our hair in the winter? Like putting in too many products to moisturize, thus weighing it down?
There is a delicate balance between moisture and texture, and the things we do wrong with our hair are honestly the same in the winter and summer: We wash our hair too often and don't moisturize enough. People also often want to shy away from products, but products can be the thing that takes your hair from boring to amazing. I always recommend using both deeply moisturizing products to maintain the health of the hair and high-quality styling products to boost the hair's texture and hold. One of my absolute favorite texture-related products, and easily our best seller at the studio, is Davines’ Dry Texturizer.
Is the winter a good time to try something dramatic with your hair?
Any time is a good time to do something dramatic with your hair! Or rather, it’s not about the time of year; it’s about your emotional state. Hair is a deeply emotional element of our bodies and lives, and it’s a beautiful way to physically express our innermost feelings and experiences. For instance, many of my female clients, in light of the recent election, have come into our salon asking to cut off lots of inches. They’re feeling strong and rebellious and deeply sad after Trump’s election, and dramatically cutting our hair has always been a powerful symbol of lament and strength. Of course, long hair is a symbol of strength too, going all the way back to the days of Samson, so there are several women who’ve told me they’re growing out their hair, too. In any case, the best time to dramatically change your hair is when you’re feeling ready for a change. So follow your heart!