By Ashley Peters
Winter can be harsh and sometimes it feels downright cruel. Assuming you don’t live somewhere that’s perfect all year round you know the struggle. To those that do live in paradise; good for you. I’m not jealous…at all… ok maybe a little or a lot. If your weather does chill off though you know what that means when it comes to hair and skin. Get ready for the dry, dull skin and dry, limp hair! Don’t worry there are ways to battle the frost and still look fabulous.
First lets look internally. You are what you eat, (and drink) and hair is made up of protein, fat and water. To have healthy hair in general it’s always advisable to have a balance of those 3 components. Since winter weather tends to dry us out and absorb all moisture it’s advisable to add a little extra. Eat healthy fats like avocados that will help your hair and skin retain those healthy fats, look alive and not be brittle or limp. Then there’s hydration. H20 is critical to glowing skin and vibrant hair. You could do everything else in this entire article but if you’re not properly hydrating you’ll be fighting an uphill battle with abysmal results.
On a daily basis at home there are regiments you can take part in that will promote overall good skin and hair health. When it comes to your skin we all know it’s basically a mortal sin to go to sleep with a full face of makeup. Wash it off and give your skin a chance to breathe, hydrate and regenerate. Your ZZZZZ’s are like a reset button and you’re prepping your skin for that process. Cleansers, toners and treatments high in vitamin C help to regenerate and refresh your epidermis bringing out the natural brightness of healthy skin. It can even be beneficial to do an at home exfoliation scrub 1-2 times a week that will help schlep away dead skin cells. (Ocean Salt from Lush works really well). Finally before bed moisturize and let that absorb all night long. In the morning there’s nothing wrong with a rinse, light cleaning and light moisturizer if you feel like it’s needed. As for your hair the winter weather can be harsh, drying and damaging because of the extreme temperatures and weather patterns. After washing your hair it’s so important to apply a leave in conditioner. This will help deliver hydration and heat protection to hair while it’s in its most fragile state. For added moisture and rejuvenation add a few drops of concentrate argon oil, (or an argon oil mix such as U Oil from Unite) to your palms and run it through your hair. This is not only hydrating, and heat shielding but it also contains concentrated Vitamin E to deliver a punch of rejuvenating moisture literally repairing dry, damaged hair. Once a week you should do an at home deep conditioning treatment. There are deep conditioning treatments on the market that work fantastically because this is what they are designed to do and have been filled to the brim with nutrients to protect and repair your hair. You can substitute your regular conditioner; it however may not be as effective. Either way leave on your hair for at least 5 minutes but preferably 10 minutes and then rinse.
Sometimes winter is so harsh and leaves you feeling so trapped in its frigid nature that you need an escape… to the spa. Everyone deserves a treat once in a while and this doesn’t exclude your skin or hair. I personally recommend going once a season at least to help jumpstart you into the next season. What type of treatment are you looking for? Essentially a more intensive, exaggerated version of your daily and weekly practices. Vitamin C helps refresh skin and exfoliation scrubs alway dry skin. Vitamin E and seaweed are packed full of moisture and regenerating properties. Masques will deliver intense moisture to much needed skin and hair.
There are some practices you should avoid doing to prevent damage during these chilly months. Do not overdo the exfoliation or charcoal masques. They work fantastically but they are intense and can be a bit too much on fragile skin during this time. Just take notice of how your skin reacts and remember more is not always more. Try and avoid blow drying your hair. Let it air dry as much as possible to avoid more extreme polarizing conditions and strain. Also try more heat free hair stylings to again minimize stress on those follicles. Winter conditions such as the temperatures and wind put extra strain on your hair so try not to add to it with extreme heat causing breakage. If you must dry or style your hair please use a heat protectant to create a barrier and protect your hair. The biggest NO-NO or all time; do not go outside into the cold air with wet hair. Why? The temperatures are cold enough to cause frost, freeze and snow so what do you think they will do to the water molecules in your hair strand? This back and forth of freeze and thaw can cause the levels of the hair shaft to break, shearing off into split ends and damage. This damage is not only visually unappealing but your hair will feel crunchy and frizzy. To make matters worse the only way to truly fix split ends and this type of damage is to cut it off above the break point. So let me emphasize one more time: do NOT go out into the cold with wet, (or damp) hair.
The winters aren’t so scary especially when properly equipped. I can’t make them more enjoyable if you’re not a fan of the cold (like me) but I can help your hair be more enjoyable during the process. Everyone needs a bit of TLC and this doesn’t exclude your hair. If you have questions or need advice as to what would be best for your situation or your hair specifically, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can conquer this season in one piece together!
Ashley Peters is an American based hairstylist, author and business owner. While many of her brides are stateside she is available for destination weddings worldwide. She is passionate about animal advocacy, connecting through travel, art and always learning something new. When her hands aren’t in hair you’ll find her on a hiking trail, with a good book or off on a crazy adventure with her husband, pups and soy vanilla latte in hand.