By now, you know your face and body require extra TLC in the winter, but what about your hair? Avoid seasonal affective disorder for your scalp by paying extra attention to your strands for the next few months.
Below, 5 easy tips to keep your locks looking good until spring:
1. Hydrate your hair
Your hair desperately wants moisture. Whether outside (in cold, dry air) or inside (in warm, dry air), hair is—no surprise—drier than it usually is during the winter months. So begin at the beginning, and swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for those made to add moisture.
It might seem just like so much marketing blather, but different formulations really do make a difference in how your hair performs after it’s washed. The difference is especially noticeable in shampoo with cleansing agents like sulfates, which tend to strip hair of moisture. A shampoo free of sulfates and specifically formulated to boost moisture will tamp down the cleansing bit (though not too much) and add moisturizers like jojoba or other oils to your desperately dry locks.
SG’s Pick: Aveda’s Dry Remedy shampoo, $28
2. Try a mask
You might not need a moisturizing hair mask in the summer—but hey, you don’t need snow tires then, either. Do this once a week and it’ll go a long way to preventing dry hair.
I actually use this mask religiously—if you have frizzy or coarse hair, I guarantee you’ll finish the five-minute treatment feeling better than when you started it. Speaking of, this is definitely a Goldilocks situation—wash it out too quickly and you won’t get all the benefits; leave it on too long, and it can leave hair oily.
SG’s Pick: Phyto’s Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Brilliance Mask, $39
3. Consider getting out the big guns
We recently discussed scalp health at length, but dandruff often gets worse during the winter. If you’re still seeing flakes even with a moisturizing shampoo, you might want to move to something more powerful. Ingredients to look for in dandruff-fighting shampoos include ketoconazole and zinc.
And no need to break the bank, you can find great deals at the drugstore, and they work – just look for “zinc pyrithione” in the list of ingredients. And don’t skip a separate conditioner.
SG’s Pick: Neutrogena T Gel Daily Conditioner, $8
4. Change your space
You might want to consider a humidifier. It’s good for all parts of your body—not just your hair—during the dry winter months. Your dry throat and lips will be psyched about this, too.
Just be sure to keep it clean and stock it with distilled water—rather than tap, which can harbor bacteria.
SG’s Pick: Honeywell Mistmate Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, $30
5. Fight the static
Wearing a hat in the winter is smart, obviously—it’s the right decision for staying warm, and it will protect your hair from the worst of the elements. But for guys with longer hair, one tricky bit can be dealing with resulting static, especially if you have fine or dry hair. Ionic hair dryers can help for those with really long hair, but for immediate, high-impact help, try a dry-oil spray.
How to use it: It can be hard to judge how much you’ve sprayed—I swear, there’s some sort of delayed effect with these—and it can be easy to go overboard. So first, spray it into your hands, and then apply it only to the driest bits—generally the ends of your hair.
SG’s Pick: Dove Pure Care Dry Oil, $12