Winter comes with a unique set of hairy challenges – here’s how to tackle them…

Ok, ok, we know we’ve said it 1000 times, but we’re going to say it again: winter is really hard on your skin and hair!

Here’s how to change up your winter haircare routine to help you survive the harsher weather with your crowning glory intact.

Related: 5 Ways to repair damaged hair

Washing away

Fluctuations in temperature, changes in humidity levels, and other external agressors related to winter and artificial heating are triggers for people who are prone to scalp sensitivity and intermittent flaking. Since you’ll be perspiring less in winter, try to reduce the frequency of your hair washes to minimise irritation.

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To minimise scalp irritation on wash days, skip the steaming hot water and opt for warm water instead. Opt for a sulphate-free shampoo that is low on fragrance.

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Work with your climate, not against it

The weather – and humidity levels specifically – has a significant effect on the appearance of your hair.

If you live at the coast

Wet winters have their pros and cons. There is sufficient moisture in the air, so you won’t suffer as much damage from being in artificially heated indoor areas.

But the moisture overload unfortunately means frizz for many. If you’re prone to frizz, ensure that you’re using a keratin-enriched nourishing shampoo and conditioner. Use a hair oil on the lengths and ends daily, whether you’re washing your hair or not.

Related: The ultimate guide to avoiding frizzy hair

If you live inland

If you live inland, especially in the northern parts of the country, winters can be brutally dry. Low temperatures combined with low humidity levels leave your hair vulnerable to moisture loss and crazy static.

To combat moisture loss, see if you can get away with washing your hair a little less frequently, and switch to more moisturising products. Ensure that you don’t slack off on heat protection as your hair will be a little more fragile. You also need to supplement your regular routine with hair masks and additional oils more regularly.

avemario – @123rf.com

Protective hairstyles

The purpose of protective hairstyles is to expose less of your hair to the elements. Let’s break it down, as it means different things for different hair types.

If you have thick, curly hair (think type 3 or 4 curls)

If you fall into one of these categories, you have loads of options for protective hairstyles as these hair types tend to stay in place for longest and are easier to manipulate than straight, fine hair types as you have a bit of grip to work with.

Braiding your hair relatively flat against your scalp wins first prize for protective styles, as this results in minimum friction and exposure to the elements, and eliminates the need for daily styling.

If you have thin, fine or straight hair

Treating your hair to a protective hairstyle is very different if you tick one or more of the above boxes.

Your version of a protective style may be as simple as pulling your hair back into a bun or a single braid. This still minimises damage from exposure, and will contain static flyaway hairs.

Now read: Do you know what happens to your hair as you get older?