When it’s cold and dry outside, and as static electricity builds up inside, hair quickly becomes dry, brittle and frizzy, says Robert Dorin, DO, of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. Though it may be tempting to use heat to tame tresses, that will do more harm than good. Instead, use lower temps to dry hair, and prioritize natural products—
starting with your shampoo. “Choose a shampoo without ammonium or sodium lauryl sulfate because those chemicals overstrip the natural oils from your scalp and hair,” says Dorin. If you’re prone to greasy locks, use a clarifying shampoo with ingredients such as lemon, aloe or apple cider vinegar.
Also pay attention to how you’re washing. “Use warm (not hot) water, and rinse with cool water,” he says. “The cool water will cause the keratin-filled cells of the cuticle to lie flat, rendering your hair more shiny and protecting the cortex of the hair shaft.” Refrain from vigorous towel drying, which can lift up the cuticle layer of the hair, making it rough and dull, he says. And whenever possible, he adds, let hair air-dry or keep heat at a minimum; hot hair stimulates oil production, making hair look greasy.
Moisturize and condition
Buttress locks against harsh winter elements by using a quality conditioner with natural ingredients, such as plant-derived oils and shea or cocoa butters. Dorin’s go-to: products that contain 18-methyleicosanoic acid (18-MEA). “This is a naturally occurring fat that hair extrudes; it acts as a natural sealer that balances the hair shaft’s moisture and renders natural shine.”
Every four washes, complement your conditioning routine with a mask or deep-conditioner treatment. “After shampooing, apply the mask to hair; without rinsing it out, wrap a warm, moist towel around your hair and let it sit for 20 minutes,” Dorin says. “This helps the conditioner intensify its repairing properties.” Then rinse hair with cool water, which further helps the cuticle cells lie flat, helping seal and protect hair from chemical and environmental hazards.
For styling or as a quick fix to add instant shine, rub a drop or two of a natural oil, such as jojoba, rosemary or argan oil, on your palms and fingers; starting with the ends and working toward the roots, lightly massage into hair (not scalp, to avoid greasiness), smoothing the hair shafts. For spontaneous holiday happy hours, stash a dry shampoo in your bag; apply to hair roots to soak up excess oil and keep tresses bouncy.
Watch what you eat
Though holiday parties typically mean decadent food and cocktails, be sure to maintain a balanced, nutrient-rich diet—essential for strong, beautiful hair. “Because hair is made up of 97 percent protein, essential amino acids are vital to healthy hair growth,” Dorin says. “Eat lean cuts of meat and poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt, broccoli, kale and lentils.” He also recommends foods rich in omega-3s, which support shine from the inside out; good choices are salmon, sardines, walnuts and avocado.
Our picks for natural hair care
Healthy hair is beautiful hair.
Start revitalizing your hair care routine with these natural products that prioritize safe, natural, and nutrient-rich ingredients.
Giovanni Powder Power Dry Shampoo soaks up oil with oat flour and cornstarch, and gives hair a shiny boost with kaolin and silica.
Natu Silkening Mist uses oat peptide and quinoa seed for on-the-go shine.
Surya Brasil Sapien Women Leave-in Conditioner features moisturizing ucuuba and murmuru butters and macadamia and buriti oils, plus amaranth protein, to strengthen locks.