I have to admit…I rejoiced the day temperatures dropped and my lions mane hair decided to tone it down (buh-bye frizz). Good hair days, here I come! What I quickly realized, however, is that good hair days come with a price: heat styling.
The sad thing about the summer months being behind us is that it’s simply getting too cold to air dry, and my bouncy waves are now hanging flat and lifeless (to miss the humidity or to not miss the humidity…). I love a quick curling iron job as much as the next girl, but my hair can’t handle the heat (literally).
What to do?
There are only so many times I can convince myself that my messy side braid and low bun are cute, intentional looks. So I talked to Rodney Cutler, Redken Brand Ambassador, to get his secrets for salvaging hair during the brutal winter months. Frizz may be in hibernation, but split ends and dried locks are equally as unappealing. Here’s how to make sure your mane isn’t suffering from either.
It all starts with maintenance...
You can’t get in shape if you don’t have a workout routine—it’s simply not possible. The same goes for your hair. You can’t expect luscious locks if you don’t commit to treating them well, and that begins in the shower.
Tip 1: Use a deep conditioner. “Be sure to use a deep moisturizing treatment once a week,” says Cutler. He suggests Redken All Soft Heavy Cream. This will help your hair lock in moisture, and also help it recover from heat damage.
Tip 2: Ease up on the shampoo. “People have smoother and straighter hair in the winter because of the drop in humidity, so concentrate the shampoo at the roots which is where the oil is,” advises Cutler. Or, skip a wash day altogether. For those who truly can’t manage more than a day without washing: try dry shampoo. “A dry shampoo is a good alternative in between showers during the winter months so that you’re soaking up excess oil but not drying out the strands,” says Cutler.
Tip 3: Get regular trims. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this, but it’s the cold, hard truth. Frequent trims keep your hair healthy. Period. Cutler also suggests asking your stylist for “a blunter finish with less choppiness, which will also help with split ends.”
Tip 4: Give your locks some TLC. No matter how kind you are to your hair, exposure to heaters means loss of moisture. To get back some oomph, regularly use leave-in conditioner or conditioning oil. “I like to spray a little leave-in conditioner like Redken All Soft Supple Touch softening cream-spray in my hands and then apply, or spray a large spritz over the top of the head from a distance,” says Culter. Just make sure you don’t get overzealous, or the result will be greasy stands (yuck). Thicker manes benefit more from oil (my fave: Morroccan Oil), which Culter says is “the perfect remedy for spilt ends.”
If you’re like me, a polished do means whipping out those tools and blasting the heat. But luckily, if you play your cards right you can get away with NOT frying your strands. For starters, skip the blowdry if you’re straightening or curling (which means an extra 20 minutes of snoozing—yes please!). Here are Cutler’s other recommendations.
Tip 1: Use the right tools and products. “Be sure to use products that protect against heat damage,” says Cutler. “What I like to do is mix a moisturizing lotion product like Redken satinwear 02 ultimate blow-dry lotion with a gel, like blown away 09 protective blow-dry gel, which allows hair to retain more moisture during the dry months.” You should also aim to use multi-tasking styling tools, like ionic hair driers, which dry faster, and therefore minimize damage.
Tip 2: Cheat. Yup, that’s right, I said cheat. Believe it or not, you can get the same blow-out results if you start with your hair mostly dry (as opposed to sopping wet). “Let hair air dry or rough-dry with your hands to 70 percent dry and finish just the remaining 30 percent with the blow-dryer,” suggest Cutler. “This way you’re spending less time under the heat so you can retain moisture and your blow-out will look just as good.” You can also cheat with your bangs. “If your bangs are dry, comb them down while damp and let them air dry on their own before straightening or blow drying them—too much heat too quickly in dry winter weather will make them stick out,” says Cutler.
Tip 3: Bust out the braid. It’s ok to not style every day! It’s exhausting—I get it. And there are ways to look chic sans iron and round brush. Cutler says his favorite looks are messy buns, chignons, and—you guessed it—side braids. To make it look classy, not sloppy, “Braid from the nape on the left or right side, leaving about two inches out at the end. Pull one side out a bit for a looser affect, pinning where necessary and finishing with fashion work 12 versatile working spray,” he says.