Aside from the cooler temperatures, one of the most dreaded parts of fall and winter is the increase in wind that stings your face and musses your hair. While you might be annoyed at the wind ruffling your carefully done ‘do, what you might not realize is that too much wind can damage your hair. Being proactive about hair care and hair protection while outside can reduce the harm windy weather can cause.
Wind’s damaging hair effects
Excessively windy weather can do a number of things, depending on the type of hair you have.
For people with thin, straight hair, wind can blow your strands around easily, creating a wind-swept, frazzled mess all over your head. Snarls and tangles might occur if you’re exposed to wind for long enough.
People with thick and curly hair are more likely to get intense tangles and knots that are very difficult to get out. Individual strands of curly hair can even become knotted, often leading to breakage at the knot’s location when you try to untangle your hair later. These issues can cause uneven hair lengths, flyaways and the appearance of thinning hair.
Even more damaging dangers can affect all hair types. One of the most common issues is dryness. Whipping wind can suck the moisture from your strands, leaving them brittle and dry. This can also lead to damage to the cuticle—the outermost layer of your hair—which opens the door for deeper damage to the cortex, or inner protein-rich segment of your hair.
Beyond that, dryness can cause split ends—where the tips of your hair strands begin to split up the middle. Not only is this damaging to your hair, but it can make your hair look less shiny or put together.
Simple tips to protect against wind damage
Although wind can cause a number of nightmarish problems for your locks, it’s not difficult to protect it from damage when the wind picks up. Use a few of these tips to prevent wind-related damage or rehabilitate your hair afterward.
- Use a hair covering: If you’re heading out and notice that the wind is likely to make your hair unruly, be proactive and use a head covering to shield your locks from the intense weather. A silk scarf is a great choice to gently cover a proper hairstyle. The fabric won’t absorb moisture from your hair, and it’s unlikely to snag on your strands, preventing damage. If a scarf isn’t available, you might choose a beanie or similar winter hat. Just make sure you pick a loose, breathable one to avoid damage from the hat itself!
- Wear a protective style: Wearing a hair style that pulls your hair off your face can also protect it from being whipped around in the wind and reduce the risk of tangles and knots. A simple ponytail will do, but a braid can do more to keep your strands protected and in place.
- Trim split ends: Take a close look at your ends. Are they showing signs of splitting already? If so, it’s a good idea to get a trim so they don’t worsen in windy weather. Plus, well-maintained ends will make your hair more manageable overall and make it look healthier and stronger!
- Condition deeply: Conditioning your hair helps to reinvigorate your strands with moisture and lock it in for healthier, stronger hair over time. Conditioning is particularly important when the air gets drier and the wind picks up, so your hair is able to retain moisture, even if the weather is bad. Moisturized strands also have healthier cuticles, meaning your hair will look sleeker and less frizzy and will be more resistant to knotting and tangling, meaning you’ll experience less breakage.
- Apply hair oil: Hair oil is yet another way to help your hair maintain moisture in the face of windy or dry weather. People with thick and curly hair may be more inclined to use hair oils because their locks tend to be drier naturally, but all hair types can benefit from an oil to add shine, lock in moisture and seal the cuticle.
- Detangle safely: If you’ve just come in from the wind and your hair is looking a little worse for wear, be careful with how you manage it. Avoid yanking your brush through your tangled strands and use some detangling spray and a wide-toothed comb, instead. Start from the bottom and work your way up to the scalp. This will minimize the breakage your hair will endure and keep your strands healthy.
With just a little extra care (and a weather check before you leave the house!) you can successfully protect your hair from wind damage and keep your hair healthy, shiny and strong.