Although even book readers have not seen a Westerosi winter yet, we all know that shit is coming. At least to us here in the Midwest as temperatures have slid into the sustained freezing range. It is gross.
Through all of the hazards that cold, wind, snow, hats and everything nature’s death throes hurl our way, don’t we all know that one guy who manages to have great hair in the winter? It’s not magic. He just has some pro tricks up his sleeve.
If the Arctic season destroys your hair with dryness, frizz, poof and hat hair so bad you end up looking like a mental patient that hacked off their hair with safety scissors, we can help. We’re here to pass those tricks on to you.
*Beardy fellows, most of these tips apply to your natural face mask too.
Wash, Not Too Much
The majority of winter hair woes are caused by the cold and dry air sucking moisture out of your hair. Your scalp produces oils to protect your hair, not to annoy you. It’s trying to help, so stop killing it every day with shampoo. Under normal circumstances, you should be washing your hair two or three times a week (those with thicker/longer hair don’t need to shampoo as often).
Over the winter, add an extra day between shampoos, just giving your scalp a good scrub with your fingers on off days and combing your hair well after the shower to pull the natural oils through to the ends of your hair.
On mornings when you’re on the go and your hair is looking greasy or smelling particularly manly, washing your hair is not your only option. Meet dry shampoo, the hot mess sorority girl’s best kept secret. Hit your roots with it and it soaks up oil, lets you brush out the grossness, makes you smell good and gives your hair some body again.
While dudes living with ladies might discover they have had a dry shampoo in the bathroom the whole time, we’re addicted to our trusty Davines Hair Refresher (which you can pick up in the shop, we can’t sell professional products online). If you can’t make it to us or another authorized Davines stockist, Klorane was our first dry shampoo love, is excellent, and you can buy it online.
When you do have to shampoo, you don’t want to leave your hair unprotected. The idea is to wash away the dirt, product and assorted grime o’the day, as well as any excess oil, but not all your natural oils. In this task, not all shampoo is created equal. Most of us have wondered why anyone would buy a professional brand in a salon or barbershop when you can get a whole bottle of Suave for a few bucks.
While we will get into all of the very good reasons for that in another post (short answer, professional is better), the better pro shampoos like the stellar Davines we carry here use gentle, sulfate-free cleansers that clean your hair without stripping natural oils, which as we mentioned before, are kind of important.
While those natural oils your scalp produces do part of the job of protecting your hair, living in a Hoth-adjacent quadrant is more than nature’s defenses can handle. Time to bring out the big guns: conditioner.
Whatever you’re using the rest of the year, upgrade to a more hydrating formula (like the Nounou or Momo lines here we carry here) for the winter. If you don’t use a conditioner the rest of the year, use a lightweight one (Dede or Well-Being) in the winter to prevent static halo.
If your hair tends toward the dry, thick or curly side, or any combination thereof, an oiling we will go. Add a hair oil, tonic or leave-in conditioner (we have a number of them to choose from for multiple hair types) to your routine to moisturize, protect, fight frizz, and make your hair super soft. Just rub a few drops in your hands and distribute through hair (wet or dry, but it distributes better while wet).
We cannot stress enough that unless you have only a fine wisp of puff on your head, you can hardly overdo the moisture during the winter. This last one is just as much for your poor abused scalp as your hair.
Every week or two, or whenever you need it, slather your damp hair with a deep conditioner (like the Nourishing Vegetarian Miracle) or go superpowered with the Royal Jelly Superactive, which is also phenomenal for beards) or a good, natural, unrefined coconut oil and leave it on for at least 10 minutes, or however long you want. Rinse out conditioner, shampoo out the coconut oil (remember to use a regular conditioner after shampooing).
Bring the Heat
Do you leave the house with wet hair during the winter? Well not to be your mom, but stop that already. Freezing does bad things to hair, even more so if your haircicles snap off. So when you’re pressed for time, how do you get it dry and get out of the house quickly?
Hot air. Not only is it the best thing in the world on a freezing morning, your average head of men’s hair takes less than a minute to blow dry. You don’t even need a brush. Just use the direction of the air from the nozzle to push your hair in the direction you want it to go, using your fingers to tousle and allow the air between your hair strands (we even made a video to show you how).
The best part is, that hot air seals your hair in the shape you dry it into. It’s like built-in product. It helps you resist hat hair. It makes everything better. It really is the secret of men with great hair. And if you live with a lady, chances are you already have one in the house.
This is a hard truth for low-maintenance guys: really great hair is rarely achieved without product. The good news is, we’re not necessarily talking gels and goops and crusty stuff. In fact, some products can feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.
Styling creams (like Davines Invisible Serum and a bunch of others we have in stock) and even leave-in conditioners can give you smoothing and control while feeling completely product-free. It’s your hair, just a lot better. If you do go for styling product, look for something reworkable like a paste, pomade or wax.
With more textured styles, you can re-style your hair with your fingers after coming in from the cold and taking off a hat, but carrying a comb like the gentlemen and greasers of old will do you up right for the classic styles.
All of this is for naught if you put on a hat like a spaz or if you’re wearing something that is doing your head and hair more harm than good. Because please, there really is no need to go without just so you don’t mess up your hair. How your head hasn’t fallen off frozen is beyond us.
The right fit and material is important. Too tight and you get that ring around the head that is the bane of a barber’s existence, so leave a little room. The right material makes a big difference too. Something soft that doesn’t damage the cuticle, like cotton, or a high-quality, soft animal fiber like merino wool, alpaca or cashmere makes winter something you will almost look forward to.
Finally, and here’s a novel concept, put on your hat in a way that aids your style. If you wear it combed back, put it on forehead first. If you wear it forward or to the side, put it on at the crown of your head. Once your hat is on, if it is a proper fit, you should be able to fit a hand in and set your hair where it goes. Take off your hat again, a quick finger fix, and you’re good to go.
Even though nature seems dedicated to making you look like a grizzled Wildling, you don’t have to give in to the ravages of the Long Night. Employ our tips, and you can overwinter like a barber, looking like a functioning member of society the whole time.
*All those Davines products mentioned in this post? Yes, you can totally pick those up in the shop.