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Dry hair treatment strategies to keep hair healthy in winter

Diana Kelley Levey
Diana Kelly Levey February, 17, 2020

Runner, dancer, baker, adopted dog mom, wisecracker (or jokester)

Why is my hair so dry? It's an age-old question. Nothing sucks the moisture from your skin and hair like a particularly icy winter, whether you're in the cold outdoor air or staying cozy by the dry warmth of a heater.

Dry hair tends to lack volume, texture and shine. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can minimize the damage done by a frigid winter. From getting a dry hair treatment to changing your diet, here's how to attack dry hair from every angle and get your hair healthy and hydrated.

Why is my hair so dry?Woman drying hair in the bathroom

When hair goes from bold and bouncy to limp and dull with the season change, there's usually more going on than just the weather. Your hair might be worse for wear in the winter when:

  • Your scalp is dry. When your scalp feels itchy and dry in the colder months, it's a sign that it's not delivering the natural lubrication your hair needs. Swap out your normal shower staples to target the causes of dry hair. Choose a dandruff shampoo and dry hair treatments that nourishes the scalp to ensure your hair gets the hydration it needs.
  • You're working it too hard. Why is my hair so dry? You may find the answer sitting on your vanity. Using a lot of hair tools can cause damage that makes hair dry and more likely to break. If you pull out the hair dryer and straightener in the morning or make a point to dye your hair every month, a round of temperature drops might be what tips the scale to turn your hair brittle. Use winter as an opportunity to try new hairstyles that put less stress on your hair. The fewer times you reach for heating tools to get your signature look, the better your hair will look and feel.

How to prevent dry hair

Whether you're hoping to undo some of the damage winter has already done or you're just preparing for the upcoming cold season, here's how to protect and nourish your hair all winter long.

  • Take shorter, less frequent showers with lukewarm water. They might feel great in the moment, but long, hot showers dry out your skin and hair. You don't have to suffer through a cold shower — just go a little cooler than you might be used to. And since dry hair doesn't need to be washed daily, use dry shampoo to minimize washings and protect your hair follicles from drying out.
  • Pay attention to the ends. Getting regular trims to prevent split ends, and apply dry hair products designed to moisturize and seal the tips of your hair strands.
  • Use hydrating hair care products. You wouldn't use harsh, drying soap on your face if you have dry skin, so give your hair the same TLC and avoid picking drying, alcohol-based shampoos and conditioners. Instead, look for hair products with ingredients like oats to soothe your scalp, as well as almond and avocado oils for hydration. To go even further, coat your hair in a leave-in conditioner or overnight hair mask for a deep-reaching hydration boost.
  • Grab natural oils. Some oils work overtime, acting as equally effective skin moisturizers and dry hair treatments. Warm up coconut, jojoba or almond oil and gently massage it into your hair. Leave your hair wrapped in a towel for 45 minutes or overnight to allow the oil to strengthen and hydrate your hair before washing it out.
  • Add healthy fats to your diet. Sometimes, the best dry hair treatment doesn't even touch your hair. Eating a balanced diet that includes healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids — found in foods like walnuts and salmon — promotes healthy hair follicles from the inside out, improving strength and thickness all in one go. Research has found that omega-3 may even help contribute to preventing hair loss.

The arrival of winter doesn't mean you have to put up with dry, dull hair. With a little extra attention paid to your 'do, you can make sure your hair stays bouncy and glossy all season long.


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