Now that we’re well and truly in the thick of winter, it’s likely that you’ve noticed a few changes in your hair – namely that it’s suffering from the consequences associated with the plummeting temperature, and is suddenly much more dull and dry than you remember it.
Fortunately, there are a few tried and true ways to protect your hair from dryness (which, by the way, doesn’t only rear its ugly head during the winter months). But before we get to that, it’s important for you to understand how your dry hair came to be. To find out exactly why it happens, how to prevent and protect your hair, and the best ingredients and products to look out for, we spoke to Wella Guest Artist, Richi Grisillo and here’s what he had to say.
#1 / The main causes of dry hair
According to Grisillo, dry hair occurs “as a result of lost or damaged lipids within the hair strand. Once these are lost, the hair has trouble retaining the moisture that’s vital to ensuring hair is both soft and hydrated”.
There are often a number of factors working together to leave hair feeling dry and looking lacklustre. If you want to understand why your dry hair is in its current state, Grisillo’s advice is to step back and consider your hair’s history. Think back to what it underwent in summer, including sun, salt water and chlorine exposure. Then couple that with regular heat styling and how often your hair is put up, as well as there being less air humidity in winter and the increased use of heaters, and you’ll find you have the perfect combination for limp, dry hair.
#2 / How to protect hair from dryness
While you’d never be able to completely avoid all of those causes of dry hair (especially during winter with its blustering winds and drying indoor heating), there are several steps you can take to protect your strands. The main one: laying off your heat styling tools as much as you can. Given tools like your hairdryer, straightener and curler can zap moisture from your strands, giving your hair a complete break from them (or at least using your tools on a lower heat setting) can go a long way to maintaining healthy hair.
And because most of us are guilty of frequent hair straightener use, Grisillo recommends a slow and steady approach. “Work your way up from the bottom [sections] of your hair to the top. Section the hair with clips and aim to only go over any area of hair once. This will dramatically reduce the amount of heat [that’s] in contact with the hair, ultimately reducing dehydration,” explains Grisillo.
It’s also always a good idea to invest in a quality heat protectant for your ends. We love Kérastase Sérum Thérapiste. In addition to protecting hair from heats of up to 230 degrees, it works to bind, reinforce and resurface the hair fibre to effectively hydrate, soften and smooth strands.
Grisillo also suggests making sure to “be careful of unnecessary wear and tear, like tying your hair too tight, aggressive brushing (you’d be surprised at the number of people who rip out their hair while brushing when it’s wet) and over bleaching.” He adds, “always use a detangling brush or wide tooth comb when your hair is wet and always section your hair to comb out section by section. This reduces damage by decreasing the amount of tension at the cuticle.” Our go-to brush for detangling wet hair is the original Tangle Teezer.
On top of the external factors that can dry out hair, dehydrated strands can also be contributed to a dry scalp. That’s why it’s important to use hair care products formulated to restore hair’s moisture balance from root to tip like Wella’s System Professional Hydrate Mask. The mask will not only replenish moisture levels, but will also leave hair looking and feeling nourished and soft.
#3 / The best ingredients for dry hair
While the ingredients list on the back of any hair care product is likely to overwhelm even the most knowledgeable beauty lover, Grisillo notes some of the most important ingredients to look out for in the war against dry hair include DL-Panthenol (also known as vitamin B-5) and glycerine. “These two ingredients work together to hydrate and detangle hair, while adding a protective layer to prevent drying.”
He adds, “It’s also worth looking for products with keratin as a main ingredient, as it works to restore the internal structure of the hair preventing breakage,” says Grisillo. One of our favourite keratin-infused products is L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Liss Unlimited Smoothing Shampoo.
In addition to becoming savvy when it comes to the ingredients in your products, Grisillo recommends seeking professional advice. “Hair can change condition once you have used a certain product. For example, if your hair is damaged and you use products to repair and restore its strength, that product will cease working once it has done what was needed. For this reason, it is important to listen to your hair and hairdresser to know when it’s time to switch to something else (hydration, colour-saving, smoothing etc.).”
Looking for more tips to get amazing hair? Then find out why the health of your scalp is so important and discover the hair products top hairstylists swear by.
What products do you swear by to protect your hair from winter dryness? Share them with us in the comments below.
Main image credit: @evalongoria
Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.