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Hair Tips for Bad Weather

By Jennifer Goldstein, Prevention
12/6/2013 12:45:52 PM

Let's be honest: No hairstyle can stand up to a hurricane or blizzard. But while hairspray can't withstand gale-force winds, there's still plenty you can do to make sure your hair looks good in bad weather.

Cause: Rain, Ice, and Snow

Effect: Frizz

Add a deep conditioner to your storm-prep shopping list. The reason? Osmosis. If you remember from science class, liquids will move through semi-permeable membranes until there are equal concentrations on both sides. Hair strands are semi-permeable, so when there's moisture in the air (i.e. humidity) it wants to move into the strand to balance things out. As the moisture wiggles its way in, it causes the hair cuticle to expand, and you get frizz. To prevent that from happening, hydrate your hair from the inside, out-in the shower. (If you wait until after you style to coat strands with an anti-frizz spray or serum, it's already too late.)

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Credit: Prevention

Cause: Dry Air

Effect: Static

Cold air is denser than warm air, which means there's less room for water vapor, which means it's dryer, which means objects are more likely to build up slight electrical charges on their surface when they rub together.

Translation: Winter makes hair staticky. The classic stylist tip is to wipe a dryer sheet over your hair (those quirky hair stylists and their quirky tips!). But do you know what's actually in dryer sheets? In addition to synthetic fragrance and chemicals, there's often tallow, which you don't want rubbing up against your skin all day (it can clog pores). If static is a problem for you, just rub a few drops of hair oil between your palms and pat them over the top layer of your hair after styling or before putting on a hat; the moisture prevents the electrical charge from building up. A light, viscous oil that absorbs quickly is great for this purpose (think jojoba or grapeseed rather than argan or avocado).

PLUS: 7 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health

Wind

A ponytail or braid becomes a painful whip in a strong wind, so stick to a low bun if you have long hair. Apply a leave-in conditioner to prevent the damaging, drying effects of the wind, then smooth hair into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic. Wrap the tail around the base several times to form your bun, then "screw" in one or two Goody spin pins ($5; drugstores) to secure it. (One of these spiral-shaped accessories locks hair in place better than a dozen bobby pins.)

If you have short hair, hairspray would seem the obvious fix, but it has alcohol that can dry hair even more. Plus, its inflexibility is a problem (picture the man with the comb-over that flops around like a flag made of hair in just the slightest breeze). Instead, put a mini brush or comb and a travel-size hair-refreshing spray like Bumble and Bumble Prep ($6; sephora.com) in your bag. When you get wherever going, untangle your hair if necessary, working from the ends towards the roots, mist it with the spray, then finger-style it back into place.

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