Winter Hair Problems, Solved

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Come January, it seems like the internet has more “Guides To Winter Skincare' than you can shake an RSS feed at. That's great and all, but we'd like to direct your attention to an equally important, just-as-vulnerable part of your cold weather beauty routine: your hair. In the spirit of taking better care of ourselves, we polled two floors of our office on what products, processes and best practices they employ to protect their hair from a flurry (!) of winter concerns: dryness, split ends, general damage, and the like. These are their stories:

Emily Ferber, Editor: "My particular concern isn't so much of a winter hair problem as it is an all the time problem: split ends. My hair is naturally coarse and dry, plus I've been going incrementally blonder, which doesn't help. I don't believe in prescribed split end fixes (very sticky, too expensive), but I do add some sort of product to my ends almost every day. Currently, I'm working my way through Garrett Markenson Reverie's Rake. It's a pomade made for longer hair—buttery smooth texture that melts on contact and leaves ends sealed but piecey. It's light enough to use multiple times between washes, but helps my hair feel less abused.”

Helen Steed, Creative Director: “I can actually get away with using fewer styling products by using an oil (like Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil) mixed in with my conditioner, running my hand through my hair when blow-drying, and then wearing a hat for my commute. The result is smooth, non-frizzy, non-frothy, glossy hair. Hat hair, when you have it under control, can be the best for thick-haired (not headed!) girls.”

Jessica Sheft-Ason, Digital Product Manager: "My hair is extremely fine, and naturally very silky. That means that every time I put on a turtleneck, the static causes my hair to nearly levitate off of my head. Since I prefer to not look like I was just electrocuted, I use Moroccan Oil Light to smooth down the fly-aways (re: entire head). I only use a teeny, tiny amount. The oil is great for combating static—and it's also moisturizing for my ends.”

Brennan Kilbane, Editorial Assistant: "One of my biggest vices is a daily blow dry. I know it's not good for you—please don't yell at me. This is hazardous behavior year-round, but in the winter especially. I try to blow dry smarter and less frequently by towel-drying my hair first, and then applying a tiny bit of Shu Uemura Straightforward Time-Saving Blow Dry Oil. It shortens blow dry time, which equals less time heat-styling. I'll give it a rest on the weekend, too.”

Eva Alt, Social Media Editor: "My hair is pretty long and it gets extremely tangled and knotted from being tucked inside coats all winter long, so I twist it into a low bun or braid it before venturing into the cold to avoid. Sometimes I forget—so I've been brushing my hair before I get in the shower, followed by generous post-shower spritzes of Bumble and bumble Tonic Lotion. It makes it easier to work through any matted sections with a wide tooth comb. Plus, my hair's been looking generally smoother and healthier.”

Sandra Sou, Senior Copywriter: "Instead of blow drying it or taking a heating rod to my hair, I'll run a couple drops of Verb Ghost Oil in my hair right out of the shower. It's moisturizing, and if I let it air dry, it feels silky but not weighed-down. And most importantly, the name is very cool.”

Tom Newton, Photographer and New Media Editor: "I rotate through shampoos and conditioners constantly, but I'm very tied to my styling products. During the winter though, because using my typical summer surf spray just doesn't feel quite right, I start using curl cream or balm type things—like Hairstory Hair Balm or Jao Coiffette Bomade. I like having a bit more heft to kind of re-style after wearing a hat or whatnot.”

Claire Knebl, Managing Editor: "I like to get my hair trimmed more often in the winter—the weather seems to make my ends fuzzy faster, and a cut is the only real way to fix that. The right products can help though—Living Proof makes a nice leave-in jelly-type conditioner that I'll run midway down through the ends of my hair. It's called Night Cap (which is also the name of a fun bar in the LES!). Sometimes I'll also use a little of the Ghost Oil from Verb, which Sandra just mentioned—like the Living Proof, it has a slightly thicker consistency to it.”

Pauline Maynard, Market Editor: "If you have frizzy hair, it tends to get frizzier in the winter because the air is drier—in NYC, at least. I have curly hair, so dry air makes my hair tangle really easily.That means I need to put on even more leave-in conditioner—my new find is Kerastase Nectar Thermique for Very Dry Hair. I also sleep in a braid with my hair semi-dry right after I wash it. It makes my hair really smooth, but that might be personal.”

Linda Bui, Product and Operations Manager: "During winter months, I tend to wash my hair less. Maybe every two or three—or if I'm extra lazy, four—days, depending how oily it gets after spinning classes. For day one or two, I like to throw some Bumble and bumble Pret-a-Powder all over to keep the roots from getting too oily. On that third or fourth day, when I know that I'll probably wash it the next morning, I'll slick it back with just Bumble and bumble Semisumo and put it up in a top-knot, making myself appear a little chicer than I actually am. But if only everyone knew how dirty and greasy my hair actually is...”

Solid suggestions all around. The only thing missing is yours.

Malgosia Bela photographed by Ezra Petronio for Self Service in February 2013. Makeup by Emily Weiss. More from that shoot here.

And because your face is important, too: try a heavy moisturizer.