If you’re like most of us, you enjoy getting out in the warmer weather.
Unfortunately, sun exposure, humidity, and pollution can all damage your hair over time, say nothing if the beating it may have taken over the cold winter months. That cold dry air can suck all the moisture right out of your hair, leaving it looking dry, damaged, and dull.
If your hair isn’t looking as healthy as you’d like, try the following tips. They can all help restore that lively, lustrous appearance.
1. Deeply Moisturize
Dry, dull hair is screaming for moisture. Cold winter air, harsh weather, and sun exposure all rob the hair strands and the scalp of the natural oils that usually provide silky nourishment. To restore that moisture, take a few extra minutes to deeply moisturize a couple of times per week until you notice improvement.
As to how to moisturize, there are several options. Here are some good ones:
- Use oil: it helps moisturize the hair and scalp, while natural fatty acids help it to hang onto that moisture. Apply throughout the hair and rub into the scalp, then leave for 20-30 minutes before shampooing and conditioning as usual. Options include coconut, olive, sandalwood, and jojoba oil.
- Use an avocado: Like coconut oil, avocado has natural fatty acids that nourish the hair and scalp while restoring luster to the hair strands. Mash a ripe avocado with one egg, then apply to wet hair and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual.
2. Rinse with Cool Water
It’s not very pleasant, but it can help reduce damage. Heat and humidity make the hair cuticle rise, which weakens the hair strand and makes it more vulnerable to damage and color loss. Cool water, on the other hand, closes the cuticle, making the hair stronger, reducing the risk of future damage.
The problem with cool rinsing is that it can leave residue behind, which can counteract the effects you’re trying to create. Try rinsing with lukewarm water first and rinse thoroughly, then rinse with cool to cold water to finish.
3. Rinse with Tea
We all want shiny hair, but particularly if you’re using color or otherwise treating your hair, it can be difficult to get it. Rinsing with tea, surprisingly enough, can help restore shine. Tea can also enhance your hair color, though, so be careful what kind you use.
Simply brew the tea, cool it down, then use it to rinse your hair after conditioning. Dark teas work for dark hair colors, and lighter teas (white or herbal) work best for lighter shades.
4. Skip a Day
The more you shampoo your hair, the more you strip it of its natural moisturizing oils. If you are struggling with dry, dull hair, try skipping a shampoo whenever you can. You can use dry shampoo, or simply style your hair differently or even wear a hat to give your locks a welcome break.
5. Wrap to Dry or Blow-Dry at a Low Setting
Did you know that leaving your hair wet for long periods can damage it? Here we’ve always thought that air drying was better than blow-drying, but not always.
According to a 2011 study, although using a hair dryer causes more surface damage than natural drying, using a hairdryer at a distance of 15 centimeters with continuous motion was found to cause less damage than drying hair naturally.
If you don’t have time to blow dry your hair this way, try wrapping it in a towel to protect it while it dries. The lesson here is to avoid simply washing and then letting it air dry for long periods.
6. Wear a Hat
Just like your skin, your hair is vulnerable to damage from sun exposure. UV rays damage the hair shaft itself, drying it out and contributing to that dull look. Whenever you plan to spend a significant amount of time outside, consider wearing a hat to protect your hair and keep it healthy.
7. Use a Humidifier
If you live in a dry climate, using a humidifier overnight can help keep your hair (and skin!) from drying out. Moisture of any kind helps!
Lee, Yoonhee, Youn-Duk Kim, Hye-Jin Hyun, Long-quan Pi, Xinghai Jin, and Won-Soo Lee. “Hair Shaft Damage from Heat and Drying Time of Hair Dryer.” Annals of Dermatology 23, no. 4 (2011), 455. doi:10.5021/ad.2011.23.4.455.