Winter Hair Care
Wintertime is a Catch-22 for hair: in many climates, you get to say goodbye to frizziness, but that’s just because dry winter air is rolling in to dry out your hair. Dry cold air outside, together with dry forced hot air inside, can cause healthy hair to crisp up and—in a worst-case scenario—cause already dry or damaged hair to literally break apart or fray.
Wintertime also brings with it the most annoying hair scenario: static—an ionic charge that doesn’t care where you are or who you’re about to meet; it’s exploding your hair.
Aiming for glossy, fundamentally healthy hair no matter what the season is, we called Rachel Bodt, one of Mynd Spa & Salon’s top colorists, who has a deep expertise in how hair works—not just in how to make it look good. (She’s tapped frequently for her haircare advice by magazines such as Allure and Real Simple.)
Below, Rachel’s candid recommendations for people with dry hair, including the best dry-hair shampoos, masks, salon treatments, and at-home tricks—plus some very satisfying-sounding tips to quickly get rid of static. (Pet peeve, resolved.)
Note: While we were focused on winter dryness when speaking with Rachel, as a colorist, she circled back often to strategies for helping hair that may also be dried out from color treatments, heat styling, or styling products, not just seasonal dryness. If your hair falls in any of these categories, this piece is especially for you!
For dry hair, protein treatments and moisturizing hair treatments can be lifesavers—but know when to stop.
“You need both protein and moisture”—protein to improve the strength of dry hair and moisture to increase its elasticity and shine—“but some people tend to overdo one or the other,” Rachel told us. “If you add too much protein to the hair, it will get really hard and snap. If you add too much moisture, such as with a moisturizing masque, hair will get limp and almost soggy.” (And that’s not due to buildup of product, she says. Hair becomes moisture-logged on the inside.)
The solution? “Offsetting,” she says. For moderately to lightly dry hair, she suggests alternating deep-conditioning treatments each week: one week, try Kérastase Fusio Dose protein treatment at the salon. The next week, give yourself a hydrating masque at home—running shea butter or coconut oil through your hair (going light on the roots) and wrapping it in a turban towel overnight—or ask for a Kérastase Fusio Dose moisture treatment at the salon.
In the winter, Rachel adds, some clients’ hair gets so dry, they use a humidifier at home just for hair. (It’s one of the many things you can do to help dry skin during the winter, too.)
If you have very dry or damaged hair, protein and moisture hair treatments might actually not do much. A rebonding treatment, such as Olaplex, could be the game-changer.
If too many bonds in your hair are already broken and the top layer of the hair shaft (those little fish scales or rooftiles) is roughed up instead of lying flat, deep conditioners for dry hair might be a waste of time. Says Rachel: “If the hair tends to be really open, no matter how much protein or moisture you put into it, if the hair is not holding on to it, it kind of defeats the point.”
The solution? “I really love Olaplex,” she says. “It’s not a deep conditioner. It’s actually a re-bonding treatment: It re-bonds the bonds that are broken in your hair, and what that will do is hold on to protein and moisture better because it’s reconnecting those lost bonds. It’s in a category all on its own.”
Who can use Olaplex? “Olaplex works for everyone,” she says, “but people with highly colored hair will see the results better because it works off the hair that’s broken.”
If you’re seeing hair breakage, don’t ignore it. It’s probably just the beginning.
“The thing is with hair: Once it starts to break, you really have to get ahead of it to stop the breaking from happening again,” says Rachel. We asked her: If a guest comes in with really dry, damaged hair, what’s the first thing you do to help treat it? “Again, Olaplex, 1,000%,” she says. “Because it’s the only product that will stop breakage.”
How often should you use Olaplex? “Sometimes I’ve had clients come in with hair that’s really broken, and they want to start coloring again,” she says. “So what we’ll do is for four weeks, every week they’ll come in for an intense Olaplex—one that’s only in the salon that they can’t buy. We’ll do that once a week to start repairing the hair and getting it ready to take color.”
To restore hair with lighter damage, just one or two salon-strength treatments, or sleeping in the at-home product Olaplex Hair Perfector (again in a towel turban to avoid a mess), can do the trick.
If you can’t get a handle on your dry hair, the problem could be your styling routine.
“Some curling irons and flat irons can go up to 450 degrees—it’s just way too much heat for delicate hair. And metal round brushes—they conduct heat a lot faster,” Rachel tells us.
In particular, the hair around the face—exactly where you’d probably want your hair to look the best—often is in the worst shape for a perfect storm of reasons: hair around the face tends to be naturally finer to begin with, it usually gets the most intense salon highlights (highlighting your face . . .), and it’s often the area that people spend the most time perfecting.
“Going in with a super-hot tool and direct heat can create a lot of damage,” Rachel says. Instead, use cooler settings on the hair around your face or develop a new face-framing strategy that doesn’t require as much manipulation.
Switch to a rich, winter-friendly shampoo and conditioner for dry hair.
The best shampoo and conditioner for dry hair? Rachel suggests R+Co’s Television Perfect Shampoo and Conditioner (a softening formula rich in deep-conditioning babassu-seed oil) or the dry-hair shampoos and conditioners in Kérastase’s Nutritive line (the orange cap), which have different formulas based on level of hair dryness.
Vitamins could be your secret weapon for dry hair, but be patient. It may take months.
As dry air and too-harsh tools and products meddle with hair from the outside, consider strengthening it internally. “For people whose hair is out of balance, I really love hair vitamins, to start caring for the hair from the inside out,” Rachel tells us. “Olaplex works inside out, but most treatments and masques are very topical.”
She recommends collagen powder and hair vitamins from brands such as Olly, but get ready: “It can take a while. What’s really important with these is taking them consistently. It might take six to eight weeks before you see results, but it really is doing something,” Rachel says. Expect to see stronger hair, which in turn means longer hair (if you want it), she adds.
What’s the best way to get rid of static in the hair?
If you’ve ever been to a job interview on a cold, dry day in February and made the mistake of taking off your hat, this question is for you.
We asked Rachel what hair professionals do in other settings where static is simply not acceptable—say, a photo shoot. She told us: “To get rid of static in the hair, you can use your blow-dryer on cold—somehow that changes the ionic charge. But typically, we’ll take a dry texturizing spray, like Kérastase V.I.P. Volume in Powder Texturizing Spray, and spray it on our hands. If you run it through the hair, that helps calm it down.”
We always knew we were somehow a V.I.P.
If you have dry hair, either all year round or seasonally, ask your stylist about trying an Olaplex professional-strength treatment ($40) and/or a Kérastase Fusio Dose ($40). If you’d like to try either service alone (rather than during your regular hair service), call Mynd directly or book in person.
For at-home use, Olaplex Hair Perfector ($30) is available for sale in Mynd’s retail area, where you’ll also find R+Co Television Shampoo and Conditioner ($32), Kérastase V.I.P. Volume in Powder Texturizing Spray ($28), and Kérastase’s Nutritive shampoos and conditioners ($30 and $34).