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I'm a Hair Stylist and These Are the Products I Would Never Use in Cold Weather

You may need to switch up your regular hair routine in the winter.

There are plenty of items to check off your to-do list as the cold season sets in. You'll want to winter-proof your home, and switch out your summer wardrobe, for starters. But have you considered that you might also need to change how you take care of your hair? Cold weather can affect your locks, and you should consider switching up your routine to keep things looking and feeling great year-round. With that in mind, we talked to three hair stylists to get their insight on the products they avoid in cold weather. Read on to find out what you should be ditching this winter.

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Clarifying shampoos

Male hands wash their hair with shampoo and foam on a blue background, front view.

Clarifying shampoos are a popular tool in the hair-care world because they help give your locks a real deep clean from time to time. But that reset may need to wait until after the colder months, according to Krysta Biancone, co-founder of Amari Salon & Spa and hair stylist at Hair by Krysta.

"Clarifying shampoos are too harsh for winter," she warns. "They strip natural oils, leaving your scalp dry and itchy."

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Salt sprays

Happy young brunette woman spraying her textured wavy hair with sea salt spray. Selective focus close up

Don't worry about trying to achieve the perfect waves during the winter either. Kira Byrd, hair stylist and co-founder of Curl Centric, tells Best Life that she recommends people avoid using salt sprays and other volumizing or texturizing products when it's cold out.

"While these can give great beachy texture in the summer, they will cause too much dryness when hair is already prone to that," Byrd explains.

Heavy oils

Close-up of girl hold dropper with castor extract oil near hair and apply one drop. Long hair care routine, oil for head. Wellness, beauty ritual concept

Thinking about pulling out heavy oils, butters, or waxes to prevent any frizziness? Both Byrd and Biancone say this is something they recommend against.

"With these products, a little goes a long way, and they can often weigh hair down too much," Byrd cautions.

Biancone says this added weight makes heavy oils, butters, or waxes "not great" products to use when it's cold. "They can make your hair look flat and feel stiff," she notes.


Mature woman applying hair spray to her lustrous mane in front of mirror.

Hairspray is something many of us use daily, but you may have to swap it out as winter sets in.

"The styling products I use less of in winter are hairsprays and gels," Lisa Abbey, hair stylist and founder of Flygirl Beauty Brands LLC, tells Best Life. That's because both hairspray and gels have high alcohol content, according to Abbey.

"Products with high alcohol content tend to dry out the hair and can make it more prone to damage and breakage," she explains. "When using these products in the warm weather seasons, the humidity in the air helps to add moisture to the hair, which combats the drying effect of your products. In the colder, drier seasons, the lack of moisture in the air causes these products to draw it from the hair shaft instead, leaving your hair looking and feeling dry and brittle."

RELATED: 10 Ways to Embrace Keeping Your Hair Long After 50.

You need to work on maintaining the moisture in your hair when it's cold out.

Portrait of handsome man using smartphone phone in snowy autumn city street, typing text message and looking at screen

Overall, hair stylists say it's crucial to change up the products you use during the winter, because "the cold air outside, along with dry indoor heat, can really do a number on hair, causing it to become brittle and dry," according to Byrd. Your hair needs more moisture in the dry air, and it will react to certain products differently than it does in the summer, Biancone shares.

"The key is to take extra care in keeping hair moisturized during the cold season," Byrd says. "Don't be afraid to switch up products as needed."

You can use other products to help do this.

young woman picking bottles with shampoo and conditioner from shelf in cosmetics store.

So what products should you be using? "I recommend deep conditioning treatments and masks to add moisture back," Byrd says.

Abbey seconds this recommendation, telling Best Life that she often advises clients to use a hydrating leave-in conditioner before applying any other styling products in the winter.

"This gives the hair much needed hydration, keeping the hair healthy and eliminating breakage, static, or fly-aways, and it evens out the porosity of the hair, so your styling products work even better," Abbey explains.

In terms of styling products, Byrd suggests using cream or serum-based products because they won't dry out the hair shaft.

Abbey's advice is similar. "We suggest a wax-based finishing spray to give hold and definition without drying or dulling the hair, and in place of gels, use a balm-type styler that hydrates as it smooths or a hydrating mousse with coconut or argan oil, to keep hair smooth and hydrated through the winter months," she adds.

Byrd also reminds clients not to turn up their heat too high indoors, as this can dehydrate their hair even more. Meanwhile, Biancone says it's also a good idea to cut down on heat styling and get regular trims in the winter to avoid split ends.

"And when you're out in the cold, cover your hair with a hat or scarf to protect it," Biancone continues. "Just a few changes can keep your hair happy all winter."

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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