April 29, 2009

Winter can wreak havoc on your hair. Harsh conditions like cold and wind strip the cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair strand), making it rough and susceptible to dryness and static. Hydrated cuticles lie flat, sealing in moisture and giving hair shine. Conquer dry, flyaway hair with these tips and techniques.

1. Be gentle with wet locks.

To protect hair from breakage after showering, lightly spray ends with a leave-in conditioner to help make strands more pliable. Then comb tresses gently with a wide-tooth comb and blot with a soft towel (vigorous rubbing can cause further breakage).

2. Shampoo every other day.

Spacing out shampoos can prevent natural scalp oils from being stripped. On days when you don't shampoo, give your scalp a thorough rinsing and massage with your fingers; it's enough to keep even oily hair clean and your scalp invigorated.

3. Smooth your hair's cuticle.

Dry, jagged cuticles reflect light poorly, making strands susceptible to winter dullness. End your shower with a cold-water rinse or your blow-dry session with a blast of cool air to smooth and seal the cuticle. Also look for styling products with labels that contain words like "illuminate" or "shine." Rub a drop evenly on your hands and work through the hair moving from back to front and avoiding the roots.

4. Pamper strands once a week.

All hair types benefit from a moisture boost. Natural, intensive moisturizers like aloe, shea butter, jojoba or avocado oils found in shampoos and conditioners can hydrate and revitalize the driest strands. These ingredients can help avoid that squeaky-clean texture-a sure sign that your hair is overly dry.

5. Tame flyaways.

Dry air can cause static, making even well-moisturized hair unruly. Carry a few unscented anti-static dryer sheets with you. Pass one over the top of your head to immediately calm flyaways. You can also try adding a spritz of hairspray to hand or facial moisturizers. Distribute a tiny amount evenly over your palms, and then run your hands over the flyaways.

6. Learn how to fight hat head.

Buy cotton hats: They generate less static electricity than wool or acrylic. If you're worried about warmth, wear a loosely tied cotton bandana or scarf under a wool hat. Always wait until hair is completely dry and has cooled off from a hot blow-dry before putting on a hat to keep your hair from loosing its shape.