On a winter morning's drive to work, I glanced at myself in the rearview mirror and saw an unusual sight. Many strands of my carefully coiffed hair were sticking to the ceiling of the car. Later that day, while trying to stay awake during a meeting, I glanced around the room and noticed that many hairs on the heads of my coworkers were sticking up too. Clearly, we were all suffering from a harsh case of winter hair, an epic battle fought on a daily basis between tresses and dry air.
Teach those wayward hairs the laws of gravity by feeding your body the right types of food and by using the right types of hair products.
A balanced diet for luscious locks
In winter, "comfort food" becomes its own food group, but as we cosy up to additional servings of macaroni casserole or apple strudel, we increase calorie intake and ignore the need for a balanced diet. Andrea Miller, a community- and family-practice dietitian at Sunnybrook and Women's College Hospital, warns that the quality of your diet shouldn't change just because it's the cold season.
Miller notices that many patients decrease their intake of fruits and vegetables during the winter months -- and that jeopardizes their overall health, as well as affecting the lustre of their hair. According to Miller, heart-healthy fats in nuts such as almonds and walnuts can support the maintenance of nails and hair, but you shouldn't count on one specific food to contribute to hair health. Miller stresses that it's imperative to eat a balanced diet, which, in turn, gives hair all the nutrients it needs to look and feel fabulous.
Miller suggests filling your comfort food with lots of veggies (frozen varieties provide the same nutritional kick as fresh ones) and curbing your sweet tooth with some frozen fruits like mangoes or strawberries.
Last but definitely not least: stay hydrated. "We often don't think of fluid so much (during the winter) as we are not sweating as much," Miller says. "Water keeps you hydrated as chronic dehydration causes dry hair." Strive to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
Page 1 of 2 -- Learn expert winter hair care tips on page 2
Hair in a harsh climate
Sure, it was kind of neat to see my hair stick to the ceiling of my car, but it's not something I want to regularly see. Winter and flyaway hair seem to go hand in hand, but according to Alfredo Gaspini, owner of Glo salon in Toronto, there are simple solutions for achieving hair nirvana.
"Everybody should use a gentle moisturizing shampoo. Period," says Gaspini. Try Aveda's ultramoisturizing Sapmoss Shampoo. He advises clients to stay away from volumizing shampoos during the winter months because they tend to dry hair.
What is Gaspini's number-one winter hair-care tip? Cleanse hair less often. "We shampoo our hair way too much...it takes out the natural oils in our hair," Gaspini says. "Shampoo hair no more than every other day." If you have fine hair and feel you need to shampoo it every day, Gaspini recommends using a mild shampoo that is specifically made to cleanse colour-treated hair, like Aveda's Color Conserve Shampoo. Be sure to apply conditioner to your hair after every shampoo for an added dose of moisture.
A quick way to tame the frizzies, says Gaspini, is to rub a drop of conditioner into hands and apply it to the ends of your hair. For a quick fix at work, keep a small bottle of conditioner in your desk for quick touch-ups.
If hat-head horrors leave your head unprotected from wind chills, simply choose a looser-fitting hat to prevent excess sweat that can sabotage any hairstyle. To restore volume to hair once you have stepped inside, flip your head upside down and gently shake.
Gaspini's last piece of advice to get your hair through the winter -- and to prevent a buildup of dry skin -- is to treat your scalp to regular oil treatments. "I massage my clients' heads with essential oils. You don't need to do it more than once a week." Gaspini recommends Aveda's Scalp Remedy for instant itch relief.
If you find your tresses doing somersaults, follow the simple suggestions above to defy the trickery of dry winter air. Forget expensive lotions and potions that promise instant results; simply practise good nutrition and condition both your scalp and hair regularly and you'll turn heads wherever you go.
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