Dry weather can make your hair brittle and impossible to tame. It doesn’t just stop with your hair. When there is a nip in the air, your scalp starts getting itchy and flaky. “Varying temperatures mean trouble for your hair as the moisture from your hair and scalp gets sucked out. This makes the scalp flake easily, leading to dandruff,” says trichologist Leena Nair from Chennai.
In the shower: Never wash your hair with piping hot water, no matter how tempting it is. Lukewarm water works better. Weather may have a drying effect on your hair. Opt for a mild shampoo. Make sure not to shampoo your hair too often, as it will strip the hair of its natural oils. You can choose oil-infused shampoos that are available in the market today.
Go for a hot massage: Massage with lukewarm coconut, olive or almond oil once a week. It increases blood circulation in the scalp, promotes healthy hair growth and curbs hair fall. Applying jojoba, jaborandi or rosemary oil is also a great way to give your hair and scalp a healthy dose of nutrients. Moroccon oil also provides good nourishment. However, go easy on the application if your hair feels too oily; you’ll end up shampooing it more than necessary. This will make your hair drier and the whole purpose of a hot oil massage will go to waste.
Well-conditioned: A rich conditioner is a must-have. Condition your hair every time you wash it to increase its elasticity, strength and shine. If you have unmanageable curls, use a leave-in conditioner to keep them in place and make them look healthy.
Beat the frizz
Hair static: Static happens when your hair picks up an electrical charge from the dry air. “It’s common in the chillier months because the air has less moisture during winter,” says Nair. Fight it by switching to a more hydrating shampoo and conditioner for your hair. If you have fine, straight hair, apply an anti-frizz cream on the tips to avoid product build-up. If you have wavy thick hair, use a rich conditioning spray to lock in moisture and beat static. Apply it on damp hair and instead of using a plastic comb, use a wide-toothed wooden comb. Avoid brushing your hair when wet. Another way to combat static is to apply a small amount of hair spray on your hairbrush and brush the hair from the top to the bottom.
Tame the itch: Wash your hair with a good anti-dandruff shampoo to keep infections at bay. It’s a good idea to cut down the use of styling products, as they may also attract dirt and grime. Brush and comb gently to avoid causing scalp damage. Don’t tie your hair up when wet, as this can make the ends brittle and trap the moisture in your scalp, which in turn can cause flakes.
Lock up: Give your curling tongs, straightening iron and blow-dryer a rest. Blow drying already brittle and dry hair will only make it worse.
Gloss it up: A hair serum is your hair’s best buddy for the winter. It cuts out the frizz, tames flyaways and adds shine to make it look healthy.
Superfoods for great hair and scalp
Omega-3s: “Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the scalp healthy, reduce inflammation and support strong hair follicles, which makes hair look fuller,” explains Nair. Fish like salmon, halibut and sardines are packed with nutrients that deliver beauty benefits. Vegetarian options like flax seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds also help.
Proteins: Proteins are the building block for new hair follicles. Without them hair will become fragile and break. Chicken and other lean meats are excellent sources of protein. Oysters, crab, beef and pork are also great sources of zinc, which helps in curbing hair loss. Veggie options are tofu and beans.
Nuts: Packed with proteins, vitamin B5 and other nutrients, nuts keep your hair in good condition. Nuts such as almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts add both selenium and zinc to the diet. Zinc and magnesium (almonds are a great source) are also crucial for hair growth. Peanuts contain vitamin B5, which help hair grow stronger. Choose unsalted nuts and eat them as snacks or in salads.
Green veggies: Eating dark, leafy, green vegetables like spinach and broccoli help in maintaining the scalp’s pH balance. They’re rich in vitamins A and C.
Coconut milk rinse, is a great natural and rich conditioner.
Try a lemon or vinegar rinse, for wonderfully shiny hair. Apply some diluted lemon juice or cider vinegar all over your hair and scalp before your final rinse. It’ll help prevent your hair from becoming greasy.
Neem paste: You can wash the hair with a paste made from neem leaves, as it’s best for keeping dandruff and other scalp infections at bay.