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How To Protect Your Hair In The Winter — No Matter Your Texture

Your hair is an extension of your personal style, so it’s only natural to get the urge to stock up on the new hair products alongside your other seasonal switch-ups. And since temperatures are finally about to dip, it’s officially time to retire summer’s sea salt spray and reach for more weather-appropriate products instead. But figuring out how to protect your hair in winter isn't always a cinch, as chillier months present a unique set of challenges when it comes to keeping hair healthy.

The colder air draws moisture from your scalp and strands, leaving them dry and more susceptible to environmental damage like breakage, frizz, and even hair loss. Additionally, most people tend to wash their hair less often when it’s chilly out — which might make for a cozier morning routine, but can ultimately lead to product buildup, scalp irritation, and dandruff. Needless to say, everyone’s strands could use a little TLC this season.

One fail-proof solution for all hair types? “Sleep on a silk pillowcase to avoid friction while sleeping,” Justine Marjan, a celebrity hairstylist who regularly works with Khloé Kardashian and Ashley Graham, tells The Zoe Report. “That can lead to additional frizz and breakage" — and, as it gets chillier and moisture slips from the air, static. She suggests one from Hollywood Silk Solution.

However, as much as you'd like, you can't carry your silk pillowcase everywhere — which is why the essentials, ahead, deserve immediate add-to-cart status.

Straight Hair

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Fun fact: Because the outer cuticle of straight hair lies flat, it's the most light-reflective hair type — which means it’s all the more noticeable when dry, winter air has dulled your hair’s shine. Joey George, a hairstylist who’s worked with Emily Ratajkowski, suggests using a shine spray like IGK’s Expensive Amla Oil Hi-Shine Topcoat to give your hair a mirror finish during the season that strips its shine the most. And for hair that falls flat underneath your hat? Volumizers always do the trick.

Maximista Thickening Spray

$38

Oribe

To use, spritz on damp hair and blow dry for va-va-volume.

Expensive Amla Oil Hi-Shine Topcoat

$29

IGK

Apply this gloss while you’re in the shower to seal in moisture and create out-of-control shine.

Shooting Star Texture Meringue

$52

Starring by Ted Gibson

This brand new “texture meringue” from celebrity stylist Ted Gibson can be used to create major volume on wet or dry hair.

The Sublime Gold Shampoo

$45

Miriam Quevedo

With an impressive list of ingredients — including 24 karat gold, caviar, and organic argan oil — this shine-inducing shampoo will make you feel ultra-fancy.

Wavy Hair

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Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean you need to ditch your go-to beach waves — but sea salt spray is definitely too drying for this time of year. Instead, opt for more hydrating wave products to give you the movement (and moisture) you crave. “Apply the OUAI Air Dry Foam to damp hair and finish by air drying,” George suggests. “It gives perfect texture without that crunchy feel.”

And for extra definition without air-drying (because who wants to catch a cold?), try the new Dyson Airwrap. “This new styling tool is used on damp hair and uses hot air to wrap hair around its ceramic plates and encourage curls and waves,” George reveals. “The best thing about this tool is that you’re not damaging your hair with excessive heat” — a key for styling at any time of the year.

Air Dry Foam

$28

OUAI

Airwrap

$549

Dyson

The new Dyson Air Wrap isn’t just for waves. It can curl, straighten, and dry, too — all while avoiding heat damage.

Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream

$26

Ouidad

Expect frizz-free waves after applying to damp hair and diffusing, thanks to the silk protein inside.

R+CO Neon Lights Dry Oil Spray

$29

Dermstore

Want the hydration of an oil without, well, the oiliness? Try R+Co’s latest Neon Lights Dry Oil Spray, which mists hair (wet, damp, or dry) with light coat of dry oil to quench thirsty waves — no greasy scalp in sight.

Curly Hair

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Natural hair requires constant moisture, and winter wind (and wool hats) can take that away. To prevent dryness, try setting curls or coils in a protective style, like a twist-out, overnight. Marjan suggests using Tresemme’s Botanique Naturals collection — or, if you prefer a wash and go, diffuse with the GHD Air Professional Performance Hairdryer. "Make sure to use the high heat, low pressure setting for the best results," she suggests.

For curly and coily girls looking to extend time between shampoos, George suggests Briogeo’s Be Gentle, Be Kind, Avocado + Quinoa Co-Wash. “My natural hair clients are obsessed with this non-lathering, conditioning cleanser,” he says. “It won’t strip hair of natural oils or color.”

TRESemme Botanique Curl Hydration Shampoo

$5

Target

Paraben- and silicone-free, Tresemme’s latest line features all natural ingredients to keep curls smooth, like aloe vera and coconut oil.

Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Quinoa Co–Wash

$32

Briogeo

Sudsing shampoos have the tendency to be drying, but this non-lathering formula is so hydrating you can skip the conditioner.

The Kent Showercap

$43

SHHHowercap

Preserve curls by extending your wash day the right way. “A shower cap is key to stretching your wash cycles as far as it can go,” Jacquelyn De Jesu, the founder of SHHHOWERCAP, tells The Zoe Report. “It can be uniquely used for deep conditioning treatments and overnight hair masks, as well.”

Green Coconut & Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Hair Mud

$11

SheaMoisture

This just-launched line from SheaMoisture features detoxing charcoal and hydrating green coconut to break through scalp buildup and keep hair healthy.

Style Defining Shine Pomade + Edge Control

$10

Kristin Ess

Color-Treated Hair

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Since color-treated hair tends to be pretty dry already, it has the most potential to rack up extra damage over fall and winter. “If ends are dry, use a leave-in serum like Oribe Power Drops Hydration and Anti-Pollution Booster,” Davide Marinelli, the owner of Davide Hair Studio in New York City, recommends. “You can apply the product in small sections to the ends, roots, or all over.”

As far as preserving your color, a range like Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics collection is the way to go, due to the gentle color-sealing amino-ions in the formula. "Hair feels soft and flexible, and your color will last longer after use," George notes.

Power Drops Hydration and Anti-Pollution Booster

$58

Oribe

An added benefit of Oribe Power Drops? Not only do they treat damage in the present, they prevent damage in the future.

Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo

$20

Redken

The soy protein in this stylist-approved shampoo helps rebuild damaged, color-treated hair.

Mask No.3: LA COULEUR

$75

David Mallett

Indulge in this luxe-feeling hair mask once a week. By sealing the hair cuticle, it keeps color fresh.

Reflection Mask for Color-Treated Hair

$53

KÉRASTASE

“For color treated hair, I love the Kérastase Reflection Mask,” Reavey says. It transforms dry, brittle hair in a single session and protects from further environmental damage.