Missing Your Summer Shine? Here’s How to Get Your Hair Back on Track This Winter

Hydration, hydration, hydration.

By Langa Chinyoka

No matter your hair type or texture, there are a few universal truths in hair care: rinse and repeat, don’t wet your hair for at least 24 hours post-perm, and, for some reason, your hair never looks as good in the winter. But it’s not just you. Winter is hard on hair (and often leads to dry, damaged locks). Your hair lays flatter, your styles don’t last as long, and your strands are prone to breakage. But there’s hope to revitalize your tired tresses. By learning a few tried and true winter hair care tips, you can expect plenty of good hair days come 2023.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

woman sitting on bed drinking tea winter hair care tips
Image of Ariel Kaye by Teal Thomsen

The Skinny on Dry Winter Hair

There’s a reason your hair is harder to style in the winter. It’s in the air, says Boris Oak, clean beauty expert and founder of EVOLVh. “Cooler weather is typically drier weather, compounded with indoor heat, which is also typically dry.”

Dry air equals dry hair. And dry hair is impossible to manage—but not impossible to fix. Hydration is the key to everything: glowing skin, a healthy body, and shiny, healthy hair. While upping your winter water intake and taking hair vitamins can go a long way, some of the best winter hair care tips recommend just a few topical switches. Investing in a good shampoo and conditioner, a hair oil, and a hydrating hair mask might be all it takes to counteract winter dryness.

I spoke with Oak to get his hair secrets and to discover the best winter hair care tips for healthy strands all year long.

Boris Oak

Founder of EVOLVh and clean beauty expert

Cyndi Ramirez winter hair care tips
Image of Cyndi Ramirez by Belathée Photography

How Winter Weather Affects Hair Health

Dry air and colder temperatures aren’t just red flags for your hair health—dry hair is a styling nightmare. “Drier hair is dull, it doesn’t hold its shape well, and it overall looks lackluster,” says Oak. “Dry hair is also more prone to damage as the hair becomes more brittle. That can lead to additional split ends or additional damage to hair when you combine the use of heated styling products with dry hair.”

Should we swap out our hair care products in the winter?

To prevent damaged and “lackluster” locks, Oak recommends taking your hair hydration seriously. Hydration is essential for your entire body, inside and out. Hydrating products are must-haves in your routine. Especially for winter hair care.

“If you are not using products designed to hydrate your hair, the winter marks a good time to swap out your shampoo, conditioner, and styling products to ones that will provide an additional boost of moisture to account for harsher environmental conditions.”

Marie Kouadio Amouzame wearing leather jacket winter hair care tips
Image of Marie Kouadio Amouzame by Belathée Photography

The Best and Worst Winter Hair Care Ingredients

Your shampoos might be sabotaging you. If you’re not using the right ingredients, you’ll fall victim to a bad case of dry winter woes. Oak recommends:

  • Natural oils like sunflower, rosehip, sweet almond, and kiwi seed oil to add moisture.
  • Humectants, ingredients that draw moisture in from the air to boost hydration.

And no matter the season, Oak also suggests avoiding:

  • Any products with alcohol, which further dry out hair.
  • Ingredients like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, panthenol, and synthetic fragrances.

Does hair oiling work?

If you’ve never tried hair oiling, then you’ve likely come across it on the internet. It even became a TikTok trend for a while, but as we know, these can be hit or miss. Turns out though, hair oiling could be the cure to dry winter strands.

According to Oak, “there is research from the last decade that shows the benefits of hair oiling. Its history dates back thousands of years.” But the question remains: should everyone try it?

“Hair oiling is the process of applying an oil to the scalp and roots and massaging them down the hair shaft or simply applying oils to the tips of the hair to prevent split ends,” explains Oak. “Hair oiling is safe for most people, but if you have eczema, excess dandruff, or any other skin condition, you want to speak with your dermatologist to determine if hair oiling is appropriate.”

Try scalp serums if you’re nervous to try a full oiling routine. Combine this practice with scalp massages for the complete Ayurvedic treatment.

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Image of Roxana Saidi by Suruchi Avasthi

Winter Hair Care Tips: It All Starts With the Scalp

Scalp care is key when you’re trying to maintain healthy, hydrated hair. To keep it from drying out, Oak shares the following winter hair care tips:

  • Keep your hair protected anytime you go outside, with a hat, hood, or scarf.
  • At home, when you shower or bathe, do so in warm (not hot) water. Hot water can strip your scalp of natural oils essential for scalp health.
  • Try to scale back the number of times you wash your hair each week. Even just one less time per week can help keep some of the natural oil in your hair to help with moisture.
  • Incorporate a scalp oil into your routine that is formulated with antioxidants, ceramides, and natural extracts to stimulate hair follicles for the appearance of thicker, fuller hair, soothes the scalp, and protects hair from breakage.

And because hat hair is often a concern in the winter, Oak has a few words of wisdom to share. “Dry your hair entirely before wearing a hat, so that your hair doesn’t take on the shape of your hat while it dries,” says Oak. “Remove your hat as soon as possible. Use products that will help boost the health of your hair so it withstands the friction from your hat each day.”

Tips for Fighting Frizz and Static

“Static is notorious in the winter due to the lack of humidity in the air, which increases the static electricity in the air. You can combat static and frizz by using a moisturizing shampoo when you wash your hair and a moisturizing conditioner every time you wet your hair.”

Try silk accessories like silk scrunchies, pillows, and head wraps to reduce friction while you sleep.

For extra protection, Oak recommends using “a hair mask once a week, or every other week, to help boost hydration and hair health. Leave-in conditioners are also great options if you don’t have time for a hair mask but want an extra boost.”

The Best Products to Keep Winter Hair Healthy

Every product is curated with care by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

woman with long brown hair holding tea
Image of Rachel Musquiz by Michelle Nash

Best Winter Shampoos and Conditioners

Ranavat Regenerative Veda Bond Complex Conditioner

u003cpu003eNew on the haircare scene, the Ranavat conditioner is an instant hit. It contains pink lotus, hibiscus, amla, and jasmine and is sourced directly from India to strengthen broken bonds and feed thirsty strands.u003c/pu003e

Flawless Hydrating Co-Wash Cleansing Hair Conditioner

u003cpu003eRestore vibrancy and elasticity with this hydrating co-wash. Remove build-up while deeply nourishing and conditioning your strands. u003c/pu003e

Naturally Drenched Rebalance Pre-Conditioner Treatment

u003cpu003eThis step between your shampoo and conditioner makes all the difference. Detox and nourish your scalp to give your hair a clean slate with this reblanacing treatment.u003c/pu003e

Olaplex Hair Repair Treatment Set

u003cpu003eEverybody loves Olaplex for a reason. Follow this four-step treatment to hydrate dry hair, heal damaged strands, and repair broken bonds.u003c/pu003e

Sienna Naturals Maintenance u0026 Growth Ritual

u003cpu003eThis full hair care set is not just a routine, it’s a ritual. With carefully curated natural oils, it balances your scalp’s pH, stimulates hair growth, and repairs breakage in four nourishing steps. u003c/pu003e
Megan Roup best hair masks and balms
Image of Megan Roup by Michelle Nash

Best Hair Masks and Balms

EVOLVH UltraRepair Reconstructing Masque

u003cpu003eDrench your strands in this healing hair mask. Amino acids and essential fatty acids coat your hair to reverse damage.u003c/pu003e

Sachajuan Hair Repair Masque

u003cpu003eRegenerate and repair hair cells with this algae-based hair mask. This intense treatment delivers hydration in just 10 minutes.u003c/pu003e

Herve x Jones Road Universal Hair Balm

u003cpu003eSmooth and soften your mane with this hair balm for all hair types and textures. Leave it in all day for a strong hold that nourishes your strands at the same time.u003c/pu003e

Everist The Deep Conditioning Concentrate

u003cpu003ePumpkin seed and aloe vera make this rich, stand-out mask the ultimate repair tool for dry, damaged hair.u003c/pu003e
Inge Theron drinking green smoothie winter hair care tips
Image of Inge Theron by Teal Thomsen

Best Hair Oils and Serums

EVOLVh Better Roots Scalp + Hair Oil

u003cpu003eOak recommends this antioxidant-rich oil for all your hair oiling uses. Whether you’re massaging in a few drops or coating your strands, this versatile oil will strengthen your hair from root to tip.u003c/pu003e

Act+Acre Stem Cell Scalp Serum

u003cpu003eDetox your scalp with this stem cell serum. Aloe vera and bamboo extract hydrate and clear your scalp for healthier hair.u003c/pu003e

Maya Chia Advanced Multi-Correctional Scalp u0026 Hair Treatment

u003cpu003eThis luxe hair treatment is worth the hype. It combines peptides, amino acids, vegetable collagen, and fermented minerals to nourish hair follicles for impressive hair growth and repair.u003c/pu003e

Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Hair Oil

u003cpu003eu003ca href=u0022 oilu003c/au003e is a viral hair growth hack for a reason. This invigorating oil deeply conditions and strengthens your hair for more manageable strands.u003c/pu003e

Nuele Hair Serum

u003cpu003eYour hair will eat up this rich, nourishing serum. The residue-free formula of five concentrated oils detangles, strengthens, and protects your strands in one step.u003c/pu003e

Reverie Milk + Cake Duo

u003cpu003eThis two-step hair system starts in the scalp to nourish and repair your locks. It has it all: an irresistible name, sleek packaging, and real results. u003c/pu003e
woman reading in bed winter hair care tips
Image of Sanetra Nere Longno by Michelle Nash

Best Winter Hair Sprays

Rahua Hydration Detangler UV Barrier

u003cpu003eProtect your hair from the elements with this UV-protecting detangler. The leave-in formula softens and protects your hair with a winter-proof barrier.u003c/pu003e

SHAZ u0026 KIKS Rice + Chai Refresh Spray

u003cpu003eRice water is a popular DIY remedy to help damaged hair heal and grow. Replace your DIY formula with this lightweight spray to heal your hair barrier and deeply nourish your strands.u003c/pu003e

Innersense Organic Beauty Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner

u003cpu003eThis cult-beauty favorite uses u003ca href=u0022 oilu003c/au003e for intense hydration and damage repair without the product build-up.u003c/pu003e

Ceremonia Guava Rescue Spray

u003cpu003eThis cult-favorite spray smells as good as it works. Instantly refresh your style without weighing down your strands.u003c/pu003e

SUNDAY II SUNDAY REVIVE ME Daily Moisturizing Spray

u003cpu003eThis refreshing daily spray revives damaged strands with lightweight moisture. Argan oil, green tea, and their signature Himalayan Mushroom Complex supply weightless hydration.u003c/pu003e
Camille Styles wearing plaid blazer
Image by Michelle Nash

Best Winter Hair Accessories

The Q-Redew Hair Steamer

u003cpu003eHair steaming is another way to infuse your dry winter strands with moisture. This unmatched portable steamer easily refreshes your hair without heat damage.u003c/pu003e

Crown Affair The Silk Scrunchie Set

u003cpu003eSilk scrunchies are more than just a fashion statement. Reduce friction to your hair with this essential accessory.u003c/pu003e


u003cpu003eWhether sleeping in satin caps is old hat or a brand-new habit, it’s an easy step to add to your haircare routine to retain moisture and reduce friction.u003c/pu003e