My morning hair routine has always been more or less the same: I hop out of the shower, blow-dry my roots for a few minutes, then tuck it all under a beanie for my commute. I break a minor sweat while smushed up next to a dozen other F train riders, then finally get to work, where I take off said beanie and attempt to fluff my now-flattened hair — only to shock myself with a jolt of winter static. I try to fix it with a cocktail of oils and balms at my desk, but it’s too late: My hair’s already committed to being one big flyaway. It took me well into my fourth decade to figure out that the best products for dry winter hair aren’t just the ones you apply once it’s already dry.
“Similar to your skin, your hair and scalp can get very dry in the winter,” says Erickson Arrunategui, a top hairstylist at Bumble and bumble salon in New York City (and also the only person who's cut my hair in years). "It also causes static electricity in hair, which is super annoying."
The severe lack of moisture in the air means it's important to start early — as in, before you even get in the shower, Arrunategui says. That sentiment it doubly true for anyone with thin hair like me. Ahead, the winter hair routine he helped me put together for hydrated, healthy, static-free hair.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Treatment
As far as hair treatments go, this stuff is the gold-standard. It's a bond-building treatment — not a leave-in — and I coat my mid-lengths to ends in it every Sunday for about 20 minutes. (For reference, it's the stuff colorists use when bleaching a client's hair to keep it from breaking.)
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Scalp Scrub
"My number one combo for winter hair is the Kristin Ess Scalp Scrub and Micellar Water Shampoo," Arrunategui says, who turned me onto cocktailing the two: "You can use either in their own, but Kristin taught me to mix the two and it helps to sooth a dry scalp and really cleanse the hair while adding moisture and shine."
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Shampoo
Arrunategui turned me onto Bumble and bumble's Full Potential Shampoo last year: "It coats the hair like a liquid bandage to prevent breakage and creates a barrier to protect against weak hair," he says.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Conditioner
I waver between this conditioner, which Arrunategui says helps keep shedding at bay, and Oribe's Repair and Restore Conditioner.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Primer
Arrunategui's favorite leave-in is the Tonic Primer from Bumble and bumble: "It has tea tree oil which helps to coat the hair and adds moisture to the scalp." I spritz it from root to tip very liberally as soon as I take my hair out of the towel.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Split-End Mender
Technically, you're supposed to use this moisturizing cream on dry hair, but I find that if I coat my ends in a dime-sized amount before I blow-dry, they fray less.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Volume Powder
After I blow-dry, I add a couple of puffs of Oribe's Volume Powder to my crown. It adds a bit of grit that keeps my hair from falling flat — even after it's been tucked in a beanie for hours.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Styler
I've yet to find a better multi-tasking styler than Oribe's Apres Beach Wave & Shine Spray. After I rough-dry my hair, I spritz a generous amount all over, letting it give my wavy, somewhat-damp hair some intention.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Shine Spray
Here's a trick that Arrunategui taught me accidentally: Not every spray formula needs to be sprayed directly on the hair. Nature Lab's Shine Spray is a thin, oil-like formula that I spritz on my hand and then run through my hair for a more concentrated approach.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Hail Mary
If my hair's still feeling dry, I break out Leonor Greyl's éclat Natural, which “instantly adds moisture and shine and lays down flyaways and static hair but leaves hair smelling and looking amazing," Arrunategui says.
Best Products For Dry Winter Hair: The Scrunchie
And while the hair-tuck is a perennial favorite of mine, it might be doing more harm than good: “For someone with thin hair, it’s not always the dryness from the winter that can cause breakage: It’s the coats and sweater at and scarves rubbing on the dry fragile hair that results in breakage,” says Arrunategui, who suggests using a silk scrunchie to avoid tangling.