5 winter hair care concerns—and how to prevent them
Keep your hair healthy and looking flawless all winter long.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Winter is filled with tons of great stuff, like stylish sweaters, cozy blankets, steaming hot chocolate, and crackling fires. And while the cold weather is the reason all of those things are so delightful, it doesn't always play nicely with your hair. Freezing winds, snow, and dry air can dry out even the most luscious of locks, causing them to look lackluster and staticky and even become damaged. Throw in hats and hoods and you have the recipe for a bad hair season. The good news is that there are great products you can try to help tame even the unruliest of hair.
1. Moisturize dry hair with a mask
With a drop in temperatures comes a drop in your hair’s moisture level, and the result is dry, brittle hair. Just as you would reach for a rich cream to moisturize very dry skin in the winter, you should also reach for products that’ll condition your strands. You don’t need to ditch your normal shampoo and conditioner—just add in a moisturizing hair mask to really boost your hair’s hydration.
The Majestic Pure Avocado Hair Mask moisturizes, reduces frizz, and adds shine for dry, damaged hair with shea butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil. It also claims to thicken the hair with biotin, a vitamin known for improving the health of hair, skin, and nails.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “I wasn’t expecting much, but this product was great. I have really dry and damaged hair from growing it out and dyeing it; my hair feels like the bristles on a broomstick. I put a lot of product in my hair (from root to rip, which took a few handfuls), and I left it in my hair for eight hours throughout the day because I didn’t want to risk getting it on my bedsheets. I washed my hair as normal, and my hair was healed. It was so soft and noticeably stronger. I couldn’t feel my dead ends anymore (even though they were still there). The best part is, although I have oily, thick hair, it stayed this way for three days after. This is amazing, I highly recommend it for anyone looking to nourish their colored damaged hair.”
2. Nix static with a spritz
Dry winter air with little to no humidity can also ramp up the static electricity in your hair. What’s more, the hats and hoods you use to stay warm can worsen the problem because they create friction as they rub against your hair. In a pinch, gently rubbing a dryer sheet over your hair can also reduce static. But like many of our winter hair care problems, the first step to combating static is moisturization. Once you’ve given your hair a moisturizing boost with your typical hair products, you can try an anti-static spray to stop those rambunctious electrons and keep static under control.
Consider the ExStatyk Anti Static Spray, which neutralizes static by evenly distributing ionic charges. The spray is water-based, so it won’t weigh your hair down, and it’s fragrance-free and hypoallergenic for those with sensitivities or allergies.
One Amazon reviewer sings its praises: “I have had really (really) statically charged hair for about five years. It clings to my face when I wear it down, so I put it up so it won’t bother me. Once I received this spray, I put my brush through my hair … instant static. I sprayed just a little on my brush… no static. I wish I could give this 6/5 stars; it’s just that amazing! I’m buying this again when I run out (which won’t be for a while since you only need a small amount).”
3. Smooth frizzy hair with a serum
Cold air contains less moisture than warm air, so when the winter rolls around, you may see that lack of moisture manifest in the form of frizzy hair. To tame fuzz, moisturization is key. Ideally, you’ll want to use moisturizing products throughout your routine, beginning with shampoo, but sealing the hair with a serum at the end is a sure-fire way to beat frizz.
Try the John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum. Formulated with a blend of bamboo extract, silk proteins, and seaweed extract, this anti-frizz serum repairs dry, damaged, and frizzy hair. It works for both color-treated and natural hair and it protects your hair from heat damage (which can exacerbate frizz), and it repels humidity. Apply to wet hair before heat styling to lock in moisture.
“I am amazed by this product!” one Amazon reviewer raves. “I have always hated my hair when it air dries because it dried into a big frizzy ball but, in just two short weeks of using this product, my hair is looking amazing when I let it air dry.”
4. Fight hat head with the right strategy
If you tend to reach for a hat when the weather takes a frigid turn, you’ll inevitably wind up with hat hair. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure your tresses aren’t a flattened mess when you arrive at your destination. First and foremost, wet (or even damp) hair puts you on the fast track for hat head. So, to avoid dents and flat hair, be sure that your hair is completely dry before donning your cap.
If flat hair is more of an issue for you, try this trick for volume: If you normally have a part in your hair, flip your hair to the opposite side before putting your hat on, or to one side if you normally part in the middle. When you reach your destination and remove your hat, flip your hair back, and voila!—instant volume.
Also, keep a texturizing spray on hand to touch up your post-hat hair. Try the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Volume Texture Spray, which claims to add volume and texture with zeolite (minerals that contain aluminum and silicone compounds) and silk powder.
“By far my favorite volume product!” one Sephora reviewer gushes. “My thin flat hair looks 100 times better using just a little of this! Plus, it lasts a couple days, worth every penny!
5. Relieve a dry, itchy scalp with the right shampoo
Just like the skin on your body, your scalp is also likely to become dry and itchy in the cold months. You'll want to get to the, er, root of the problem with a targeted shampoo that cleanses and soothes. Harsh shampoos can strip your scalp of its natural oils, which is not ideal during the cold winter months. For that reason, you may want to switch out your regular shampoo with a more gentle formula.
For this, try the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. Tea tree oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, and this combination works to soothe a dry, itchy scalp. Also, this formula contains the famous “tingle complex,” a blend of tea tree, peppermint oil, and lavender that leaves your scalp with a pleasant cooling and tingling sensation.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “During winter months my scalp gets itchy, dry, and flaky … not attractive. I saw and felt a difference after one wash!!”
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.