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Get glossy locks all winter long

Winter conditions can leave your hair looking lacklustre. Rude Health magazine asks the experts how to keep your hair in tip-top condition

“Hair like skin is affected in many ways by its environment,” says Niamh Larkin, senior beauty advisor at Evergreen Healthfoods, Mainguard St, Galway. “Heating can really dry out hair, so extra care must be taken in the winter to look after it.”

“By February or March your hair could be looking and feeling pretty frazzled,” says Susie Perry Debice, a nutritional therapist working with supplement company Abundance and Health. “Constantly alternating between freezing cold, damp conditions outside with very dry, warm air from central heating inside can leave your hair rather unmanageable. Wearing a hat to keep warm adds another issue of triggering the roots of your hair to feel greasier than normal.”

“Our hair often feels the effects of the colder, harsher weather,” agrees Rowan Green who works with organic beauty and skincare company Pravera. “Much like skincare, it is important to adapt your hair care routine to protect your locks from the damage and dryness which winter may bring. This may mean putting down your regular shampoo and opting for a more specialised one. First of all avoid nasty chemicals and toxins – ingredients such as SLS and phthalates can really dry out your hair and cause more damage than good. A certified organic and natural shampoo and conditioner will ensure your hair is gaining nothing but goodness and avoiding any nasty ingredients.”

“Low humidity in winter can dry our hair out,” says Rebecca Goodyear of beauty blog Biteable Beauty. “Coming in from the cold and into overly warm centrally-heated offices can also cause hair to become frizzy.”

Top Tip

Stress reduces the health of hair follicles and encourages hair loss, so find ways to reduce your stress as soon as you can.
Susie Perry Debice

Natural boosters

“Hair care ranges targeted towards dry and damaged hair tend to be good in the winter as they are specially formulated to take care of your locks when they need it the most,” says Rowan Green. “Look for products that are packed with ingredients such as organic rose, which moisturises, smooths and repairs the hair texture, and pea protein which aids your hair in regaining any moisture lost through cold and dry air. It is always a great idea to consider using a certified organic hair oil during the winter months. They can make a massive difference to the condition of your hair thanks to how quickly they deliver much-needed moisture and nutrition to each strand. It is a myth that they’ll make your hair greasy – so don’t worry about that! Try an oil which contains vitamin E, omega-rich sesame oil, coconut oil and carrot seed oil. These key ingredients are wonderful for preventing breakage and delivering nourishment to dull and damaged hair.”

“When looking for a natural haircare product it’s great to look for hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera and nourishing ingredients such as calendula extract, jojoba oil, vitamin E and sea kelp,” says Rebecca Goodyear.

“When choosing your shampoo avoid any products containing sodium lauryl suphate because it can dry the hair and scalp and cause irritations,” says Niamh Larkin. “Shampoos containing jojoba or argan oils can help keep the hair looking shiny. Using a good hair mask weekly can help keep the hair looking healthy. Oil treatments or masks can be beneficial – they lock moisture into the hair follicles. Choose a high quality oil like argan or a natural hair mask or treatment containing plant-based oils.” “A hair mask with natural ingredients and mainly containing silk protein, keratin, vitamin E and coconut milk and coconut oils is super effective at replenishing that gorgeous glossy look,” says Susie Perry Debice.

Top Tip

Switching to a hair brush targeted to dry, damaged hair can avoid any further damage and hair loss.
Rowan Green

Inside out

“Our diet may not always be as complete and balanced in the winter months, and this can also leave our hair a little lacklustre,” says Rebecca Goodyear. “For great hair, ensure you are eating a protein-rich diet. Biotin has been identified as an important ingredient for hair growth, but in fact it plays several roles in the body – it’s necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids and the metabolism of amino acids. Biotin can be found in a variety of foods but only a few contain particularly rich sources of it, including raw egg yolk, liver and leafy green vegetables such as Swiss chard.”

“A high protein diet makes a noticeable difference to the hair condition,” says Niamh Larkin. “Biotin is amazing for hair condition and growth. For optimal results take with a vitamin B complex. Horsetail is a herb which is often widely associated with hair health and is referred to as vegetal silicea.”

“Just like skin, our hair requires oil to help counteract the drying effects of central heating and to lock out moisture in the damp winter air,” says Susie Perry Debice. “This is why fish oils are so important for hair health. Increasing oily fish in your diet or taking a supplement of fish oil is a really smart move. Other nutrients that could help you revitalise your winter hair include vitamin C, B-vitamins and omega-3 fats. If your hair is on the frizzy side then the shafts may have become thin and weak. Collagen is essential for strong healthy glossy hair – taking a sachet of liposomal vitamin C a day helps encourage collagen production. The strength of your hair is also influenced by B-vitamins, and biotin has been found to improve hair growth by supporting the health of the hair follicle. Look for a liposomal form of B-vitamins and one with biotin for superior absorption and bioavailability.”

Intensive Coconut Hair Mask

Makes enough to use twice on mid-length hair

Twice a week, use this fortifying blend to repair hair that has been damaged by straighteners, over-processed from bleach or is suffering the winter blues.

  • 1tbsp (Lucy Bee) coconut oil
  • 1tbsp coconut buter
  • 5-10 drops of essential oil, either chamomile for brightening fair hair or rosemary for deepening the colour of darker strands.

Melt the coconut oil and coconut butter together until they turn into a liquid. Remove from the heat and pour into a small mixing bowl. Stir in your chosen essential oil. Leave to cool a little and while the mixture is still warm, apply a liberal amount to towel-dried hair, concentrating on the mid-lengths to ends where strands tend to be driest and most damaged. Wear a shower cap or wrap your hair in a warm towel as the heat will encourage the nutrients to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft. Leave the mask on for 30 minutes then rinse - or better still, unwrap your hair, spread the towel over your pillow and sleep in the mask.

Recipe courtesy of Natural Beauty with Coconut Oil, by Lucy Bee. Quadrille

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