Q: My hair is very dry, but I use a two-in-one shampoo plus conditioner. Do I need to use a separate conditioner, too?

A: Yes, you probably do. Here’s why: Although two-in-ones contain some conditioning ingredients and might provide a hint of shine, you’ll need a separate conditioner to get the proper moisture levels for your hair, according to Tung.

Q: I have very fine, thin hair. Are conditioning masks too heavy for me?

A: They can be! If you use a conditioning mask, especially if you don’t rinse it well enough, it can weigh down your hair. A better bet for fine hair is to skip heavy conditioners and follow with a regular conditioner every time you shampoo. Another option is a spray-in leave-in conditioner, which is lighter than a conditioning mask but still offers protection, Harris notes.

Q: How can I care for color-treated hair in the winter?

A: Choose moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, or those designed specifically to help preserve color pigments in your hair. You can also put a tint or glaze over your color to add luster and shine, according to Edward Tricomi of Warren-Tricomi Salons. Consider trying a darker, warmer shade to warm up your pale complexion. And wear a hat or scarf over your head to protect the color from harsh temperatures and UV rays, which can cause your color to fade.

by team
From dry, dull locks to static-plagued strands, winter can be your hair’s worst nightmare. Find out what causes these tress troubles and get a slew of solutions to fix them.

  1. Problem: Dandruff

    What causes it

    We typically associate dandruff with itchy, dry scalps. When the mercury drops and there’s little moisture in the air, skin — including our scalps — becomes dry, tight and uncomfortably itchy.

    Surprisingly, however, dandruff can have other causes, like not washing your hair as often as needed — people tend to suds up less frequently in the winter to prevent over-drying hair. A sweaty scalp (usually caused by wearing tight, hot, itchy wool hats) also can contribute to dandruff, notes eMedicineHealth.

    Another culprit is the Pityrosporum ovale fungus. A mixture of oil and fungus speeds up the rate at which dead skin cells are shed from your scalp, leading to dandruff’s characteristic flakes.

    What you can do

    • Alternate shampoos and conditioners containing different ingredients, such as salicylic acid, selenium sulfide and pyrithione zinc. Each ingredient has a different effect, like exfoliating dead cells, soothing your scalp and reducing inflammation. Specifically, according to Fitness magazine, the ingredient pyrithione zinc can make dandruff shampoo up to 70 percent more effective.

    • But don’t pick just one anti-dandruff shampoo or conditioner and use that exclusively. “If you use only one active ingredient, the fungus can adapt and become immune to it,” cautions Jennifer Tung, author of InStyle Getting Gorgeous.

  2. Problem: Dryness

    What causes it

    No surprise here — when winds are howling and the air is frigid, very little moisture is left in the air. Cranking up the furnace and heaters also has a drying effect on indoor air and your hair. If you frequently participate in outdoor winter sports, hair is vulnerable to UV rays, which can cause dry, brittle strands.

    Your regular day-to-day hairstyling routine can make dryness even worse, especially if you often reach for heat styling tools like blow-dryers, curling irons or straightening irons. Any chemical processing, such as coloring or perming, also adds to dryness. This affects hair’s structure and makes hair less able to retain moisture, celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Antin tells ABC News.

    What you can do

    • Try to add moisture back to your hair. Use a humidifier to replenish moisture in the air and combat the drying effects of indoor heat.

    • Don’t shampoo your hair too frequently or you’ll wind up stripping away its natural oils and moisture. Instead, try shampooing every other day.

    • Opt for rich, creamy shampoos and conditioners containing moisturizing ingredients, like lanolin, protein, silicone, panthenol or shea butter. They’ll smooth your hair and add hydration.

    • Steer clear of ingredients such as ammonium lauryl sulfate and tea tree oil, because these can strip hair’s natural oils and exacerbate dryness.

    • Use warm water to rinse out shampoo, because hot water will make hair dryer.

    • Finish with a blast of cool water to close up and smooth the hair cuticle. When the cuticle is smooth, light reflects off and makes your hair shiny.

    • At least once a week, try a deep conditioning intensive treatment with moisturizing aloe, jojoba butter or avocado oil.

    • Be careful drying and styling your hair. Gently squeeze and pat it with a towel to soak up moisture, but don’t rub hair with the towel, as this can damage the cuticle.

    • Whenever possible, avoid heat-styling your hair with blow-dryers, curling irons or straightening irons. But, if you must use one of these tools, let your hair air dry for about 30 minutes first to get some of the moisture out. This way, you won’t need to blow dry your hair for too long.

    • Also, spritz in a thermal protection product with silicone prior to blow-drying, curling or straightening. This will “create a barrier between the heat and your hair, making the hair shaft less vulnerable to damage,” writes Tung.

    • Use a low or warm setting on heated appliances rather than a high or hot setting to prevent additional dryness.

    • Finally, when using hair spray or styling products to put the finishing touches on your ‘do, skip ones that are loaded with alcohol or strong fragrances. Both are drying to your hair, salon owner and runway hairstylist Marc Harris tells WebMD.

  3. Problem: Hat head

    What causes it

    Your tresses get crushed and flattened by caps and hats. In particular, headwear that’s tight-fitting or made from certain materials — like wool or acrylic — can cause you to perspire. Oil and sweat can make hair look limp and greasy.

    What you can do

    • Because hats crush your hair, you want to avoid anything that’ll weigh down your locks even further, like piling on loads of styling products.

    • Don’t go too long between shampooing, because oil, grease and residue will accumulate and weigh hair down, too.

    • Before putting on your hat, pull hair into a ponytail, or push short hair back away from your face. If possible, choose a hat made from cotton, which is less likely than other materials to cause static.

    • “Wait until hair is completely dry and has cooled off from a hot blow-dry before putting on a hat to keep your hair from losing its shape,” says Shape magazine.

    • For another trick, turn your head upside down, mist the underside of your hair lightly with hair spray; then straighten up again to put some oomph back into your hair.

    • Already applied styling cream or other styling products before your hat? You can easily refresh and renew their effects by wetting your hands with water and then touching your hair, says Harris. Glopping on more styling products will just weigh down hair even more.

  4. Problem: Split ends and damage

    What causes them

    As with other winter hair woes, dryness and lack of moisture in the air, coupled with damage from heat-styling tools or chemical processes, are to blame. “The drier your hair is, the more split ends you’ll have,” writes Jennifer Tzeses in Woman’s Day.

    What you can do

    • Unfortunately, if you already have split ends, they can’t be repaired or reversed. You’ll need to get a trim.

    • Your best bet is to take preventive measures against styling damage, keep hair hydrated and visit your stylist for regular trims every couple months.

  5. Problem: Static and frizz

    What causes them

    Remember those static generators from science class that would make your hair stand on end if you touched them? Our tresses often take on the same look in the winter, thanks to dry air and cold temperatures, which zap moisture from hair. Pulling wooly sweaters on and off over your head also contributes to the problem.

    What you can do

    • The key to keeping static and frizz at bay? Hydrate! Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. Skip those labeled “volumizing” or “clarifying,” because they can be drying and make hair more prone to static.

    • Opt for leave-in conditioners whenever possible, which feature special polymers that adhere to hair, preventing flyaway strands.

    • Serums are another good choice to coat and moisturize hair, staving off static and frizz.

    • Brush hair gently using a boar bristle brush, which is ideal for static-prone hair. It will help redistribute “oils from your scalp to the ends of your hair,” suggests Tung.

    • Another surprising trick for static — simply rub a plain old dryer sheet over your hair.

Whatever your winter hair woes, these simple tips can help give you beautiful locks even during the harsh, blustering weather!


"The information provided on is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical question or concern regarding any news item or article on this news magazine, please consult your physician..."