Fighting Split Ends: Keeping Your Hair Healthy in Winter

When the cold weather hits, our entire bodies dry out. Just as you double up on the lotion for your skin in the winter, you have to pay attention to your hair to ensure that it stays healthy.

Split ends occur when your hair is too dry and the hair shaft splits either at the end or partway up the shaft. Winter dries out the hair further with cold, rain and snow. If you can keep your hair from drying out and protect it from the elements, you can prevent split ends.

Protect your hair while avoiding “hat head”

Nothing ruins a perfect do more than a cozy winter hat. But your hair actually does much better when it is protected from rain, wind and snow – and of course you’ll be warmer. Wrap your hair in a silk scarf before donning your hat – it will prevent the static that causes “hat head” and keep you warm.

Avoid washing your hair often

Nothing dries out your hair more quickly than washing it daily, even if you are using deep conditioning treatments. Try to aim for once every 2-3 days for a hair wash, and use a shower cap in the shower to keep your hair from getting wet on non-wash days. It’s the action of wetting the hair that, paradoxically, dries it out further.

When you do wash, opt for a conditioning shampoo, a deep conditioner and make sure to use a deep conditioning treatment once a week. When you shampoo, just shampoo your scalp – the rest of your hair will get clean through the trickle-down effect, you’ll use less product, and you won’t dry out your hair as much with the cleansing chemicals in most shampoos. For conditioner, make sure you are covering your ends and your scalp – this may take a few more pumps of conditioner than you are used to.

Regularly trim split ends

There is no way to repair split ends. Once they occur, they need to be cut off to prevent further damage to the hair shaft. Those with treasured long hair could find themselves having to opt for a medium or even short length hairstyle if they let split ends get too out of hand with no trimming for a few months.

A monthly trip to the salon doesn’t have to be time-consuming; if you just ask for a trim it should take less than half an hour. For those who want to skip the hairdresser to save time or money, here is a handy guide on how to trim your own split ends.

Keep direct heat to a minimum

If you straighten your hair regularly with a flat iron, you must apply argan or another type of moisturising oil to the ends after each straightening session to keep them from splitting. Avoid blow drying where possible, and if you must blow dry purchase an add-on such as a diffuser to keep from applying direct heat to your hair. Try to save the blow dryer and iron for special occasions, and find another style to work with for the winter months.

Change up your diet to keep your hair healthy

It isn’t just our hair, but our entire bodies that dry out in the winter. Anything that moisturises you from the inside will help your hair. Make sure you are drinking lots of water, and remember that coffee dehydrates. Drink an equal amount of water for each cup of coffee you drink to stay in balance, plus lots of water throughout the day and evening. Apply the same principle if you are out for drinks – alcohol will also dry out your skin and hair. Any foods which contain lots of water are perfect for a winter diet – fill up on cucumbers, peppers, watermelon and any other water-rich fruits and vegetables.

Consider supplements which contain biotin, silicon and selenium to keep your mane shiny in winter and throughout the year; these three compounds act differently to help maintain healthy hair. The same compounds which help your hair will also keep your nails from being less brittle in winter.

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