The Zoe Report January 12, 2024

The Zoe Report


How To Effortlessly Avoid Hat Hair & Frizz This Winter


It is possible.

Winter hair ailments run the gamut. When temperatures start to dip, you may notice that your slicked-back bun isn’t cooperating like it normally does. Or perhaps you’ve seen more flakes fall after scratching your scalp. Turns out, cold weather is not only hard on your skin, but it’s also tough on your hair. Translation: your regular hair care routine may not be cutting it.

According to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based double board-certified adult and pediatric dermatologist, Dr. Karan Lal, M.D., keeping the scalp and hair moisturized is extra important during the cold and dry months. “Winter weather can exacerbate hair and scalp issues like static and breakage,” he explains, “so hydration is paramount.”

The aforementioned noticeable changes are largely due to shifts in the air. As the weather cools, the moisture levels in the air plummet as well. Imagine your hair on vacation in a warm, humid climate. Your natural volume and frizz usually increase, but in cold, dry weather, the opposite happens, leaving flat, brittle strands in its wake.

Additionally, the frigid forecasts calls for more layers like knitted hats and scarves. The constant putting on and taking off of these layers creates undue friction on already dry strands, increasing the chances of static and breakage.

Ahead, TZR spoke to top experts for their best tips on how to keep your good hair days going all winter long. Read on for a step-by-step guide to optimizing your hair care routine for the colder months.

How To Transition Your Hair Care Routine For Winter

Focus On Hydration On Wash Days

Shampoo and conditioner are the foundation of any routine. In order to replenish hair’s moisture levels, Olya Iudina, a professional stylist at IGK salon in New York City, recommends looking for a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. These formulas typically include ingredients like argan oil or glycerin. A few solid options? The Davines Momo Shampoo and Momo Conditioner. The lightweight products are rich in vitamins A, C, and yellow melon, which intensely hydrate without weighing the hair down.

That said, Iudina doesn’t believe the change in weather should affect the amount you wash your hair. “[How much you shampoo] doesn’t really depend on the season,” she shares, “Instead, you should wash your hair whenever it gets oily, dirty and you feel like it’s time to clean it.” As a general rule of thumb, Raven Hurtado, a professional stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, IL, recommends washing every three to four days if your scalp feels normal and every one to three days if your scalp is on the oily side.

For an added boost of hydration, try incorporating a hydrating hair mask like the Ranavat Glossing Hair Masque into your routine. Hyaluronic acid and moringa seed oil will not only nourish your strands, but it will also enhance shine. Apply once or twice a week for best results.

Prioritize Scalp Care

Oftentimes, the skin on our scalp is left behind and doesn’t receive the same TLC our face or décolleté gets on a nightly basis. Professional hairstylist and bridal stylist based in San Francisco, Calif., Hannah Aubrey believes it is important to understand what is going on with your scalp before buying new products or changing up your routine.

“People often assume a flaky scalp means they are dealing with dandruff, but that isn't necessarily true,” she explains. Both conditions can cause flakes and can leave your scalp feeling itchy and flaky. However, dryness is caused by a lack of moisture, while dandruff is caused by excess oil production, she notes.

“One noticeable difference is usually the size and color of your flakes as dandruff usually causes large and sometimes yellow tinted flakes, while dry scalp flakes tend to be small and white,” she explains. Her test: If you experience dry skin in other places, like your legs or face, then odds are you are dealing with a dry scalp and not dandruff.

For those with dry scalp, Aubrey believes moisture is key. She recommends applying scalp oil before shampooing. “Act + Acre's Vitamin E Scalp Detox Oil aids in restoring your moisture barrier and provides instant itch relief. Think of it as a Hydrafacial for your scalp,” she says.

Fight Flakes The Right Way

First, it’s important to understand why we get dandruff. Dr. Lal says it’s caused by a yeast called pityrosporum ovale. “This yeast lives in our oil glands and it leads to inflammation and scalp scaling. Dandruff may also be caused by psoriasis,” he adds.

As previously mentioned, dandruff flakes require a different approach than dry scalp. Look for an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner like the Head and Shoulders Smooth and Silky Shampoo and Conditioner. The hero ingredient, zinc pyrithione, stops the production of yeast which stunts dandruff growth.

Additionally, both Aubrey and Dr. Lal emphasizes the importance of properly cleansing your scalp. “Don’t be afraid to wash your scalp,” advises Dr. Lal, “Scaling does not mean your skin is too dry.” Aubrey suggests focusing your lather around the crown and hairline where flakes tend to gather.

Hurtado also recommends turning the temperature down on your showers. Even though it feels excellent on a cold winter day, hot water can cause the scalp to dry out even more, resulting in itchiness. She recommends using warm or cooler water instead.

Fight Frizz With Styling Products

Winter hair concerns like static and breakage are largely caused by one thing: lack of moisture. Thankfully, there are multiple opportunities to boost hydration without having to wash your hair. To tame static strands, Iudina relies on the IGK Antisocial Dry Hair Mask. “It brings softness and shine to hair and it fights static immediately, keeping your hair hydrated and smooth,” she says. Plus, unlike other masks, this can be used on dry strands and left in, so no need to rinse out.

If the mask feels too intimidating, Aubrey suggests using a dime-sized amount of a light cream like Oaui's Finishing Creme to help lay down flyaways and minimize static. To zap static in a pinch, spray a boar bristle hair brush with hairspray and brush it through your mane or keep a pack of the Nexxus Frizz Defy Anti-Frizz Sheets in your purse. Simply rub a sheet on errant strands to keep them in place.