Why is Winter Such a Tricky Time for Your Hair?

Frizz bombs, increased split ends and flyaways: these are the realities of winter hair for many of us. Winter comes with many different ways our hair can misbehave, usually due to all that dryness caused by the colder temperatures. But don’t worry! Below, we’ll look at the ways that hair can go wrong in the winter and what you can do about it.


One of the main issues with winter and hair is that overall feeling of dryness that you just can’t escape. You’ll know dry hair by its straw-like appearance, brittle texture and increased signs of damage like split ends. Left long enough, those problems can lead to some major permanent hair damage. 

To combat winter hair dryness, think about switching up your conditioning routine. You might invest in a weekly deep moisture treatment for your hair, for example. You could also swap your regular conditioner for one that is formulated with extra moisturizing properties. What might have weighed down your hair at other times of the year might be perfect during the colder months, when it needs that extra nourishment.

In a recent All Things Hair poll, 29.33% of readers said that conditioner was their must-have winter hair product, while 15.67% turn to hair oil and 9.33% to hair gel/wax.

Split Ends

As we mentioned above, split ends can develop in the winter from the harsh dryness of the colder air outside and the artificially heated air indoors. This is especially the case if you’re spending time outdoors on bitterly cold days and the wind is attacking those strands. 

If you notice split ends forming, the only way to completely get rid of them is to trim your hair. Do a light trim of your ends when you first notice split ends so that they do not get worse and travel their way up the hair strand. 

You can also work to prevent split ends by keeping your hair moisturized. Some people even get keratin treatments, which put a layer of protein coating over the strands to protect and straighten them. Keratin can often mend damage. Along similar lines, henna treatments on the hair can nourish and strengthen the hair shaft.  

Hair Matting

The dryer your hair gets in the winter, the more it is also prone to matting and tangles. This is another issue that can be resolved by deeper conditioning treatments. Also, be mindful of the type of brush you’re using. Use a detangler brush with plastic bristles after you wash your hair, as these tend to work best for getting knots out of wet hair. The more knots you get out after you wash, the more manageable your hair will be all day.   

Dry Scalp

Perhaps the most irritating problem with winter is when your scalp gets dry. That can lead to a feeling of itchiness and tightness that can be incredibly uncomfortable. If you start scratching your scalp, you risk damaging it. And a dry scalp can lead to shedding skin, the flaky white addition that makes no hairstyle look good.

Luckily, you can find many different treatments for dry scalps and dandruff. If the problem is severe, you can find medicated shampoos. Natural products can also help, particularly tea tree-based products. Moisturizing conditioners can work wonders too if the problem is caused by dryness. 

However, if you notice redness or swelling, or over-the-counter products haven’t helped, you might need to make an appointment with the doctor. It’s possible you could have another skin condition that needs treatment.         

Hat Hair

A problem that tends to strike when we’re covering our heads with tight-fitting knitted hats or hoods is ‘hat hair.’ Simply trying to stay warm in the cold temperatures is an instant way to wave goodbye to those good hair days. The dry conditions of winter also make hair prone to misbehaving around hats, as static and frizz can become a major problem.    

Hat hair requires both preparation and fixes in order to tackle it:

  • Never put a hat on wet hair, as that will make it worse as the hair dries under that hat into very ‘creative’ positions.
  • Frizz and static sprays can help prevent hair from misbehaving after you remove the hat. You might also apply a leave-in conditioner beforehand. That will reduce static and frizz. If you’re worried about how your hair’s volume is affected, add a volumizing product like mousse, as well. 
  • Take stock of how you are covering your head. A loose hood or different hat style and material might be a better option than a tight, knitted hat.
  • Watch how you part your hair. For instance, if you part your hair far off to one side, you can part your hair back in the middle when you take the hat off to recover your look and add some bounce.  

Flyaway Strands

Another common issue with dry winter hair is flyaways – those pesky individual strands that just don’t want to stay where they should. Many issues can cause flyaways, but dry hair is a major culprit.

Like hat hair, there are a few ways to fight off flyaways. Start with a deep conditioner, hair serum or frizz-fighter shampoo to keep hair moisturized and then call in the hairspray for extremely stubborn flyaways. It’s important to avoid hot tools, as these can lead to dryness and damage, and thus even more flyaway strands. Finally, do most of your brushing on wet hair, since flyaways tend to pop up while brushing dry hair in the winter. You might even wet a hairbrush and use that if you have to straighten out dry hair. 


Your hair can also be prone to static in the winter, which is where your hair takes on an electric charge and starts to stand up, mad scientist-style. 

One way to fight static, in addition to frizz-fighting shampoos, is to use frizz sheets. These are sheets you run over your hair, often infused with moisturizers, and that help it calm. 

One issue these winter hair problems all have in common is dryness. Make sure to moisturize your hair more during the winter, and you can hope to avoid the worst of these issues.  

Similar Posts