There’s every chance that you’ve diligently switched up your skincare routine by now. Perhaps you’ve retired your lightweight serums for richer creams, made nourishing face masks your mainstays and swapped fresh cleansing gels for nourishing oils – but have you paid your hair and scalp the same service? As an extension of your skin, your scalp is just as sensitive to temperature changes, indoor heating and the inevitable dryness synonymous with the colder months. Plus, it’s always as winter looms when our hair becomes brittle, it loses its natural shine and looks more lacklustre than it was in the height of summer.
These are just a few of the reasons why switching up your hair routine is so important come winter. ‘As the seasons change, your hair changes too,’ Hannah Gaobardi, a trichologist and Viviscal expert ambassador, explains. ‘In the autumn and winter months, many will find their hair becomes dry, often leading to split ends and damage as exposure to the harsh cold elements and heating can take away some of our hair’s natural moisture,’ she stresses. From tending to your scalp to simple lifestyle changes, consider these the seven holy grail winter haircare rules to live by for healthier-looking lengths peak-winter.
Take care of your scalp
‘Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp,’ says Gaobardi. ‘During summer, the sun dries out your scalp along with the hair shaft due to the increased sun exposure; UV rays penetrate the hair shaft at the roots causing damage to the scalp and structure of the hair, meaning it’s especially important to ensure your hair is nourished as we head into winter,’ she says. Treat your scalp as you do your skin with a targetted routine. An overnight treatment like Aveda’s Scalp Solutions Renewal Serum or Sisley’s Pre-Shampoo Purifying Mask will help eliminate impurities and add moisture back into the scalp. Meanwhile, look to ingredients like salicylic acid to exfoliate, squalane to nourish and hyaluronic acid to help lock in hydration.
Avoid heat styling
‘Using heat can damage the keratin proteins (important for the hair’s strength) taking away any moisture from the inside of the hair strand and damaging the cuticle of the hair,’ says Gaobardi. ‘This makes your hair super dry, damaged and brittle and you’ll find it snaps off more easily. I would always suggest limiting heat use where you can and always make sure to use heat protection,’ she adds. Retire your trusty tools and opt for heatless curls (like the Kitsch Satin Curling Set) or use a sea salt spray to add texture and volume without damaging your ends.
Load up on nutrients
Eating a well-balanced diet is key when it comes to hair health. ‘Oily fish is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids which help support growth; chia seeds work to stimulate new hair follicles and eggs are packed with proteins, minerals and B-complex vitamins helping to fight dryness,’ Gaobardi explains. Similarly, foods that contain iron and zinc (such as pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, flax seeds, red meat, Quinoa and green vegetables) also help keep your hair looking and feeling healthy.
Try an at-home treatment
‘You also need to look after your strands topically to ensure they’re getting enough nourishment,’ she continues. Giving your hair a much-needed boost of hydration, a weekly hair mask helps lock in moisture and feeds your hair with essential nutrients. For a leave-in treatment, use a keratin care complex to restore lost protein, says Gaobardi. For a densifying leave-in treatment, she recommends Viviscal Elixir, which leaves hair looking thicker and shinier.
Take a hair supplement
‘I always stress the importance of taking an inside-out approach,’ says Gaobardi. Though your diet, stress levels and sleep play a significant role too, taking a daily hair supplement could help ensure you’re getting all of the right nutrients. As for the ones to look out for? Zinc, Biotin, Iron, collagen and B12 are all important for hair health, according to Gaobardi. ‘If someone’s B12 levels are low, hair follicles may not be able to grow new hair efficiently,’ she shares.
Switch to a silk pillowcase
Did you know, that switching from a cotton pillowcase to a silk one can do wonders for your hair at this time of year? Think everything from minimising split ends to avoiding breakage and ensuring your hair stays nourished around the clock. During winter, silk actually helps lock in moisture. Unlike cotton, which is porous, a silk pillowcase keeps the hydration in our hair, making it look and feel less brittle.
Change your showerhead
Not too hot and not too cold – you want your shower temperature to be just right. But it’s not just the temperature of the water: if you’re living in a city, hard water can also take a toll on the health of your hair. That’s because the minerals penetrate the hair and then crystalise upon drying. Not only does this make your hair more prone to breakage but it can also stop your shampoo from lathering making your scalp more susceptible to product residue and dandruff. An easy solution is a purifying shower head, which helps minimise these impurities.