When it comes to hair, every season has its challenges. In summer, you’re dealing with the sun and sea or swimming pool water, in winter it’s freezing temperatures and dry air that you have to contend with. Autumn, being so changeable, is particularly tricky, because you’ve some got humidity and frequent downpours, but also drier, colder days, which can leave our strands, well, stranded. 

How to protect your hair from cold weather


We asked experts how you can protect your hair from the cold weather, and here’s what they had to say…

1. Keep hair hydrated

“Just like your body, your hair needs to be kept hydrated,” says Dr Bessam Farjo of the Farjo Hair Institute. “The cold temperatures can cause hair to dry out and become brittle.

“The lack of moisture can also result in a dry scalp, as it produces less sebum, which may lead to dandruff and itching.”

You need to tackle these issues on two fronts, he advises.

“Make sure you’re using a moisturising shampoo and conditioner and try to drink plenty of water throughout the autumn months. Not only will this have a positive impact on your skin, but it will also help your hair stay healthy.”

2. Avoid hot water

How to protect hair in winter by avoiding water that's too hot

A long, hot shower or bath might be your idea of heaven when it’s cold outside, but it’s hell for your hair.

“Just like heated styling tools, hot water can cause more frizz and dry out your hair even more,” Farjo warns. “Try adjusting your water temperature to lukewarm to avoid frizzy hair.”

3. Wash your hair only when needed

Turning down the temperature will help, but if you shampoo your hair too often you could be stripping it of oils, making it feel dry, but then causing your sebum glands to go into overdrive, making it more oily.

“During autumn, it’s important to try and only wash hair when needed, allowing it to build its natural oils and keep hydrated,” says Farjo.

That doesn’t mean you have to suffer with greasy hair, however. Swap your wet wash for a good quality dry shampoo like Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Amazon.


4. Try a treatment

“The underneath section of hair is the part that gets the most abuse during autumn and winter,” says hairstylist and GHD UK ambassador Zoe Irwin.

“It gets rubbed by your top, coat, scarf and also when you sleep. It’s this part of your hair that will make your overall hair look and feel healthier if it’s looked after.

She recommends using a nourishing treatment such as GHD Advanced Split End Therapy (Amazon) which helps bind broken fibres together to strengthen fragile and damaged hair.

“Use it every five washes before blow-drying and use a hair straightening to activate the ingredients.”

5. Massage your scalp

“Massaging your scalp daily for 10 minutes has an incredible effect on the hair. It will relieve tension and also increase the blood flow for thicker, healthier, longer hair,” Irwin says.

Haven’t got time for a head massage? Brushing can help, too.

“Sweeping a paddle brush (Amazon) along the scalp lightly can help stimulate hair growth by improving blood circulation to the scalp.

“Paddle brushes are also the gentlest form of brush,” she adds. “The rounded end ensures you cannot scratch the scalp and the evenly spread out plastic bristles cause less tension with fibre interaction when detangling to ensure the scalp isn’t damaged.”

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6. Combat seasonal hair shedding

A woman's hand pulls out of a comb a lot of hair on a grey background

Do you find that you lose more hair during the colder months than in spring or summer? You’re not alone.

“Hair shedding can occur at any time of the year, however there is a recognised condition called ‘seasonal moult’,” explains consultant dermatologist Dr Martin Wade.

“This tends to be a phenomenon really only occurring for women, and may happen every year, or just now and again. The most usual time for this to occur is in the autumn months. Theories for its cause have been related to the shortening of the days.”

As a quick fix, Dr Wade recommends using a product such as Toppik Hair Building Fibres, Amazon. Available in a range of shades and different sizes, these microfibres cling to your existing strands and fill in gaps to give the appearance of fuller, thicker hair.

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7. Pop on a hat

“Who doesn’t love an excuse to go shopping? Treating yourself to a new hat to protect your hair from icy temperatures and wind is perfect justification,” says hairstylist Michael Van Clarke.

“Make sure it has a soft lining that won’t cause breakages in your hair. Whether a fun fedora or a comfy beanie, hats are practical as well as a must-have fashion accessory.”

In addition, he adds, you definitely shouldn’t leave the house with wet hair when it’s very cold, as your strands could freeze. “If your hair won’t dry naturally in time, use the warm setting on your hairdryer with a diffuser and let the last 5% dry naturally.”

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