I’ve always been jealous of girls with wash and wear hair. When they toss their mane and it glistens from across the room, boys turn their heads, the clouds part, angels sing, blah blah blah. I am so not that girl. When left to its own devices, my hair resembles a dry, frizzy, unfortunate bale of hay.
Not that kind of Bale!
I have wavy, colored hair that dries out easily, so my hair takes a turn into hay-esque territory if I don’t keep it moisturized. One big thing I do to keep my hair from drying out is to let it air dry, but when the temperature drops I can’t stand wet hair. That means I have no choice but to use a blow dryer when I’m in a hurry.
Using a blow dryer frequently in winter also means I have to use several products to keep my hair from drying out. Here’s a step-by-step guide to 10 products I rely on to keep my hair moisturized and protected when the temperature drops.
Everything I put on my hair in winter must help retain and replenish as much moisture as possible. To kick start the moisturization process, once a week I use Phytonectar, a pre-shampoo oil treatment ($30.00 for a 1.7 fl oz bottle with pump) that hydrates ultra dry hair.
Phytonectar is a rich treatment made from egg yolk oil. If you’ve got a sensitive nose, then you might be turned off by the herbal, slightly eggy scent. I kinda like it, though. My hair is really thick, so I work in two pumps thoroughly from mid-shaft to the ends. I then put my hair up in a bun, secure it with a claw clip and just hang out for a while to let the oil penetrate. While I’m waiting I’ll putter around the house or watch TV to give the product time to soak in and do its thing.
After half an hour, I’ll jump in the shower, wet my hair and work the Phytonectar into a light lather. Then, I’ll finish by washing with a moisturizing shampoo, my favorite being Bumble & Bumble’s Gentle Shampoo ($21.00 for a 8 oz bottle). It smells like honeysuckle, lathers up nicely and always rinses clean. The extra pre-shampoo step with Phytonectar makes a huge difference in keeping my hair soft and moisturized.
Even though I lurves my Bumble & Bumble Gentle Shampoo, I can only use it once a week because if I shampoo too often my hair dries out. To avoid this, I do a conditioner “wash” with a silicone-free drugstore conditioner. My favorite is VO5 Vanilla Mint Tea Clarifying Conditioner (about $2.00 for a 15 fl oz bottle) because it’s super cheap and smells like mint tea! I put a generous amount into my palms, vigorously massaging it into my scalp and hair from roots to ends. I’ve been doing conditioner washes for about a year now and they really help to moisturize my hair.
After rinsing out the VO5, I squeeze out the excess water from my hair and coat it with a moisturizing conditioner like Philip B. Deep-Conditioning Creme Rinse ($26.00 for a 6 oz tube). This silicon-free, shea butter conditioner moisturizes well without weighing down my hair. Its spicy scent reminds me of fresh baked pumpkin bread, and it rinses clean, leaving my hair feeling soft and smelling yummy.
When the weather gets cold my scalp goes nuts. One thing I do to keep the flakes at bay is mix granulated brown sugar into my shampoo or conditioner. When you massage the grains of sugar into your scalp, the friction removes the flakes. It’s a cheap and natural exfoliant. Put a few tablespoons into a plastic bowl you set on a counter outside your shower, but don’t forget: mix it into your shampoo or conditioner immediately before washing. Wait too long and the sugar grains will dissolve.
Not only a scalp exfoliant and baking ingredient, but also one of my favorite movies ever
When the flakes are really persistent and I need something stronger, I’ll wash with Head & Shoulders Sensitive Care Shampoo ($7.00 for a 23 fl oz bottle). It’s cheap, and I find it the least drying of all the dandruff shampoos.
Speaking of drying, try not to overdo the hair dryer. Might I suggest the miraculous T3. I know I go on and on about this thing, but seriously, it changed my life. Yes, it’s very expensive ($300), but it’s also the best dryer on the market today. It’ll dry your hair faster than Britney downs a bag of Cheetoes!
Before I blow dry, I apply a protective layer of leave-in conditioner and gel. Right now I’m loving on Phyto 7 ($26.00 for 1.7 fl oz tube), a moisturizing leave-in conditioner made from plant extracts. It’s creamy, has a non-greasy texture and doesn’t leave my hair feeling sticky or heavy. I work a small amount throughout my hair, concentrating on the ends.
Next up: a few dollops of Philip B. Drop Dead Hair Straightening Baume ($22.00 6.5 oz tube). Although this gel is first a hair straightener, I like it for both curly and straight hair looks in winter because of its amazing staying power in humidity. My hair stays stick straight no matter what – rain, mist or fog. It’s also silicone-free, woo hoo!
The last product I rely on during the winter months is Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo ($23.00 for a 3.2 oz aerosol spray can).
I was really turned off by dry (waterless) shampoos after the disastrous Salon Grafix incident a few months ago, but Naturia has completely changed my tune. It freshens my scalp and gives my greasy roots a lift, extending the life of my blowout by at least two days. It also has a nice floral scent and doesn’t turn my roots white, either.
I’ve always wished for low maintenance hair, but, unfortunately, nature didn’t deal me those cards. The extra work to keep my hair happy is worth it to me because hair is that one accessory you wear every day. And, hey, when all else fails, there’s always hats!
I’m a little under the weather today (*achoo!*), so I’m going to spend the day chilling out. I hope your Saturday has been fun so far!
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,