You may have noticed that your hair turns into a static-y mess every year when winter begins. Though you might assume that your hair’s static is the result of wearing wooly hats and scarves (which certainly contributes to the problem), there’s actually a much more complicated force at work.
Static hair is most commonly the result of dryness, which is why the winter timing makes sense. During colder months, humidity levels drop, making the air increasingly dry. As your hair dries out with harsh weather conditions, low temperatures, and rock-bottom levels of humidity, your strands will become full of positively charged electrons. Positively charged strands will soon start to repel each other, creating the flyaway hairs we call static.
Static can also result from two unlike materials rubbing against each other, causing electrons to be transferred from one surface to another. So your wool winter wardrobe can easily transfer positive electrons onto your hair, which can’t conduct electricity well and ends up with charge build-up. The result, again, is strands that repel one another and produce static flyaways.
Static hair in winter is endlessly annoying, but there are some easy ways to combat it. First, do everything in your power to moisturize your hair during winter. Before styling, use a weightless, repairing leave-in formula like the Living Proof Restore Instant Repair Lotion. Next, hairstylist Olga Gilbert of J. Russell Salon in Palm Springs, California, recommends applying Moroccan Oil from the mid-shaft to the ends of your wet hair. When it comes time to styling, she advises using an Ionic Hair Dryer, which emits negative ions and helps to balance out your dry hair’s positive charge. The final step is to use a hairspray like the Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray to keep your hair in place.
If your hair is still parched post-styling and the static is stubbornly persisting, try a very light, leave-in product such as éprouvage Replenishing Leave-In Conditioner. “Spritz a little bit on your fingertips and run down the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, and pat your part ever so lightly,” says éprouvage Global Artist Anna Lyles. “It won’t weigh hair down, but instead will add the hint of moisture you need to calm out of control static,” she says.
If static happens when you’re out and about, consider stashing a secret weapon in your bag: Nunzio Saviano Anti-Frizz Sheets. The individually packaged sheets have non-sticky polymers and coconut oil to provide lightweight moisture and tame friction, frizz, and static on the go. A dryer sheet can work in a pinch, according to Gilbert.
Don’t miss these other static-stoppers for smooth and shiny hair all winter long.