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How to fix any bad hair day in winter

February 18th 2014 / Anna Hunter


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The weather is throwing everything its got at our poor hair this winter, but Anna Hunter has the experts' fast fixes for any hair catastrophe up her sleeve...

There’s no denying that, even by Blighty standards, the weather of late has been unrelentingly bleak. We’re not for one moment suggesting that your hair takes prerogative over flood damage, power cuts or transport difficulties, but arriving late and sodden to a key business meeting doesn’t go far to make us feel any more calm or in control. A good hair day won’t solve things, but it’s a teeny tiny silver lining when the clouds roll in. Whatever your hair gripe, we’ve got it covered; it’s highly likely that you’ve encountered one, if not all of the below over the last month, possibly at the same time.

Terrible Tangles

If you’re sporting knots that Scouts would be proud of and/or birds have begun to roost in your barnet, gale-force winds are probably to blame. ‘Through a hedge backwards’ hair can happen to us all, but dry, brittle strands are the most likely to suffer. It’s time to get prepared, Boy Scout style.

Adhere to the hairdresser mantra and ensure that you trim natty, naughty ends every 6-8 weeks to avoid split end jungles. Switch to a moisturising shampoo and conditioner and approach winter haircare as you would skincare - your hair needs extra nourishment to cope with cold snaps, moisture-sapping central heating and bitter, blustery winds.

Hair masks can turn straw to silk (see our pick of the crop here) and the ingenious Tangle Teezer, £10.99, is most definitely your friend during the wild winter months. Hair stylist and co-founder of Jones & Payne Ricky Lee Jones also recommends investing in a good quality bristle brush to keep birds’ nests at bay.

Don’t struggle alone however - a detangling spray can smooth the situation over. Eschew harsh chemicals and stop potential dreadlocks in their tracks by misting hair with Know Knott, £19, by Australian haircare brand Original & Mineral. It’s packed with delicious and nutritious cold-pressed argan and macadamia oils to rehydrate parched, wind-worn lengths. The pocket-money conscious child in me is also not averse to a good dousing of L’Oréal Kids Tangle Tamer, £2.19. You will smell like a pear, but your hair will be supremely shiny with not a knot in sight.

For wind-resistant styling, the aptly named John Frieda stylist Andreas Wild has a few tricks up his sleeve:

“If you have longer hair, loosely pin it into a bun and cover with a head scarf or hat so that you can release and style when you get to the office. Alternatively, tuck lengths inside your coat or jumper to keep it safe from the elements. You’ll arrive at your destination tangle-free.”

Limp and Lank

You set the alarm and wrestled with a blow dryer and barrel brush only to get caught in a downpour. Now you’re soggy rather than salon-fresh, and your dripping locks are beginning to soak through your shirt. Get thee to the ladies and tip hair upside down under the hand dryer to save both shirt and hairstyle. If you have styling products to hand, all the better. Andreas advises rubbing a little dry shampoo through roots for a quick limp fix. Failing that, an emergency contingent of grips and bands can rescue your do. Tuck hair into a gamine low bun or sporty ponytail;no one need ever know you were more wet rat than well-groomed post-commute.

If you’re feeling bold, however, embrace the wet-look. Gels and oils create a barrier on the hair, keeping hair sleek and shiny without a hint of frizz in sight. A slicked-back updo might just be your saviour.

The Frizzies

Humidity’s rising… barometer’s getting low… no, it’s not raining men. Ryan Gosling et al are safely tucked up inside while your slightly moist mane is rising into a halo of frizz around you. No hallelujahs here, but with a little prep and some smart styling you can contain the situation.

Start the fight against the fuzz in the shower - from Aussie’s Fringe Miracle range to Umberto Giannini’s Frizzi offering to the classic John Frieda Frizz-Ease line-up, most high-street chemists stock shampoo and conditioner ranges dedicated to taming fluffy follicles. To really hit frizz where it hurts, settle down for the night with Sachajuan Overnight Hair Repair, £50. This intensive leave-in treatment boasts "Ocean Silk Technology"- it's packed with proteins and mineral extracts to restore hair to its former glossy glory. Consider it your personal bodyguard against bad hair.

Pre-styling, smooth a restorative, shine-boosting oil or serum onto ends (L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil, £13.95, is considered a miracle-worker by many). Always arm yourself with a heat-protective product; to give your hair a fighting chance against fuzz Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner, £20, combines the benefits of heat and environmental protection with restorative, weightless conditioning and a revolutionary, micro-thin shield against frizz. It’s the future of frizz defence.

If a cure is required rather than prevention, Andreas prescribes John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Agent Perfecting Crème, £5.09 to placate flyways. Both Ricky and Andreas suggest smoothing roots and frizz down with hairspray (Unite GO 365, £21 is Ricky’s product of choice), applied with the palms of hands or onto a paddle brush. If hair feels both fragile and frizzy, administer some SOS hydration and humidity protection with Moroccanoil Frizz Control, £19.45. Just don’t be tempted to overdo the brushing; you might very well just end up with the next winter hair woe…

Seasonal Static

Getting a little too gung-ho with the hairbrush is a surefire way to aggravate sticky-uppy static; especially since thirsty winter hair is more prone to this particular problem. Put the brush down and get cosy with the conditioner (more often than not, dry hair is disobedient hair). Blow drying also closes and flattens the cuticle - to reduce, if not eliminate, static and flyaways, Ricky suggests blasting lengths with a hairdryer on a cool setting, before misting with hairspray to seal in shine. If you’re out and about when static strikes, turn to John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer, £10.99. It’s the nearest thing to a magic wand we’ve come across.

Fiendish Fringe

Whether yours is blunt, sideswept or feathered, there’s no denying that a cute and face-framing fringe can cause all manners of strife when left to its own devices. Mine likes to part itself down the middle in the face of oncoming winds, 90s boyband style. On other days it adopts a vertical position, or morphs into a curtain of frizz. Andreas has a few tips when it comes to getting those bangs back into line:

“Always blow-dry the fringe, preferably with a flat brush from side to side. To give it some guts and prevent flyaways, apply a mousse or hairspray.”

If fringe is still testing your patience despite coercion, mini-straighteners kept in your desk drawer will straighten things out. Alternatively a tasteful silk scarf, hat or clutch of cute clips will distract from any mane mishaps.

Hat hair

That slightly matted, glued to your forehead post-beanie hair is a bit of a bother. A messy braid worn underneath should save the day - plaits took prime position on the spring/summer ’14 catwalks so you’ll be both en vogue and unruffled. If you decide to take your braids out when you arrive at your destination, you’ll unfurl lovely beachy waves. Failing that, sweep it into a topknot. It’s the hair equivalent of the naughty step.

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