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by: Better Not Younger
December 08, 2021
Sandwiched between the hot humidity of summer and the coldness of winter are about three weeks of blissful, hair-friendly weather. Neither frizz nor hair static bothers us. Our hair holds curls a bit more easily. It even accepts wash-and-go styling. And every year we breathe a collective sigh of relief during this brief period of perfect hair weather.
But this break is short-lived.
Despite the reprieve from warm weather hair issues like frizz and flatness—especially common for fine hair—winter weather brings its own set of hair woes. The dry days of winter can wreak havoc on aging hair. When cold, dry air replaces the humidity of summer, the result is hair static, which can also lead to dullness, dry and unmanageable strands and even breakage.
Great question! Let’s take a quick look at the science of static electricity. All objects are made of atoms, which contain electrically charged protons, electrons and neutrons. Protons have positive charges, electrons have negative charges and neutrons are neutrally charged. When the levels of protons and electrons are balanced, we don’t see or feel static electricity. But when these levels become unbalanced, due to friction or a change in temperature or humidity, we definitely notice. All of us have heard static crackling as we pull dry laundry out of the dryer or have gotten a shock while touching a metal doorknob.
When too many electrons come into contact with each other, they repel. This repelling is what causes our hair to look like it’s trying to fly away. But don’t worry! Even though wintertime hair static can be frustrating, you don’t have to put up with it. We’ve got nine tips for preventing static that will help your hair look its best throughout the long winter season!
Ensuring your hair is moisturized is vital to bidding farewell to hair static. Your hair’s moisture barrier keeps the ions in check, which means sleeker, glossier strands. When there’s a lack of moisture in the air and your hair is also exposed to excess indoor heat, keeping your hair moisturized becomes even more important. The good news is that our hair cuticles crave moisture, so if you present them with moisture, they will typically soak it right up—and help reduce static. We designed all our shampoos and conditioners to give your tresses the nourishing and hydrating boost aging hair needs, from our Wake Up Call for fine, thinning hair to our Second Chance, which is especially formulated for damage repair, as well as our Bounce Back for curly tresses.
Keeping your hair moisturized is only part of the equation. When your hair cuticles don’t lie flat—a side effect of hot-styling-tool and environmental damage—moisture escapes from your strands more easily, despite your best efforts to keep hair moisturized. Add to the equation that aging hair (especially aging curly hair) is already prone to dryness, due to a decrease in natural hair oils related to menopause, and all these factors make keeping your hair static-free an uphill battle.
Butters and hair oils like coconut or avocado are effective at fighting dryness and preventing hair static. Many butter masques also contain oils and are especially hydrating because they not only deeply penetrate strands to add moisture back but also lock it in by smoothing and repairing the hair cuticles for instantly healthier, shinier and static-free tresses. This is why our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque, with its five-nut butter blend, including avocado and macadamia, is the product for hair cuticles in need of some damage control. Plus, it smells amazing and leaves aging hair soft and manageable.
We know that dryer sheets help keep static electricity away from our clothes in the dryer. But did you know that these same dryer sheets can also help with hair static? This is because these sheets are positively charged and balance out the negatively charged ions in our hair. Your best bet is to find a plant-based, fragrance-free dryer sheet. Organic is best here because we don’t want to introduce unnecessary chemicals to our delicate hair.
To fight static using a dryer sheet, there are two methods. Option one is to simply flatten the sheet on the palm of your hand and run it along the length of your hair. Alternatively, you can rub the dryer sheet onto your hairbrush before brushing and styling your hair. If you have longer hair, be sure to focus on the ends of your locks because these tend to be drier and more prone to static and flyaways.
We all know the frustration of getting a beautiful, sleek cut and style at the salon, only to get home and find that we can’t replicate it. The truth is that this isn’t usually because of our skills. Often we’re trying to get a professional result using entry-level tools.
An ionic hair dryer is an important tool to have in your arsenal to fight hair static. The ions help lock moisture into your hair, leaving your strands smooth, manageable and static-free. To maximize the benefits of your dryer, always use a leave-in heat protectant to prevent damage to your delicate hair. Our No Remorse Heat Protection and Taming Spray contains a nourishing blend of vitamin E and oils that shield and condition strands to hydrate tresses with the added bonus of taming any unruly flyaways!
This one might sound counterintuitive because we’ve all touched a metal doorknob in dry weather and gotten an electric shock. Then why on earth are we telling you to swap a plastic comb for a metal one?
Surprisingly enough, science supports this! Plastic does not conduct electricity while metals do. So when we brush our hair with a plastic brush or comb, the ions aren’t drawn out of our hair. Instead, they remain in our strands, trying their darndest to get away from each other. With metal combs, the ions in our hair get a reprieve! Metal conducts electricity and “calms” ions by giving them a jumping-off point.
Many of us wash our hair daily to get rid of grease and buildup. However, unless you have especially oily tresses, you only need to shampoo a couple of times per week—this is especially key for aging tresses. Washing our hair strips our scalp of sebum, an oil produced in our skin’s sebaceous glands, right next to our hair follicles. Sebum protects our hair from severe dryness and static, but only if it’s not constantly washed away! Signs of over-washed hair include tangling, dry scalp, faster fading of color treatments and even hair loss.
The good news is that even shifting from daily to every other day washes can help reduce dryness and static in your hair. Try using a noncomedogenic dry shampoo to get through non-wash days. (Dry shampoo absorbs oil near the scalp, so be sure to only apply the product at the root.) And remember, a little dry shampoo goes a long way!
Set it and forget it! Humidifying your home in the winter is the simplest way to prevent static because it addresses the lack of moisture in the air—and humidifiers have come a long way in a generation! The enormous, loud ones that put out hot moisture have been replaced by quiet, cool-mist options. We recommend placing one in your bedroom so it can work its magic while you sleep.
If you don’t have a humidifier, that’s no problem! Simply go back to the basics and boil a large pot of water on the stove. (Just be sure to keep an eye on the water level and refill as needed so it doesn’t scorch!)
As we already mentioned, objects rubbing together is one common way to create an electrical charge. And bundling beneath layers of fabrics to avoid winter’s harsh elements only increases the likelihood of friction. Even the simple act of removing your hat causes electrons to be transferred from your hat to your hair, resulting in an electrical charge and hair static. Since synthetic materials tend to be more static-prone, a natural fiber such as cotton, which more easily absorbs moisture from the air and even your body, is your best bet for avoiding static that’s created by objects rubbing together. Though in the dead of winter, we wouldn’t blame you if you were willing to accept a little hair static in order to keep your coziest wooly accessories close by!
Protective hairstyles like braids and low buns are one of the easiest ways to reduce static in your hair—plus they protect your hair from all the other harsh elements that are associated with this cold, windy season. If wearing your hair loose is your preferred hairstyle for the day, we suggest simply pulling your hair back into a low ponytail with a silk tie or scrunchie to protect your hair while outdoors—you can easily remove it once you’ve arrived at your destination, without worrying about having created any unwanted kinks.
Tell Us: What are your favorite tips for preventing hair static? Share in the comments below!
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