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Static hair: How to handle it

December 16th 2016 / Anna Hunter

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It’s one of the biggest hair issues to strike during the winter months- here’s the who, what, where and why of static hair, because no one needs that kind of negative electricity in their life

There’s bad hair days, and then there’s days when your hair quite literally stands on end, porcupine style. Once hair has decided to conduct itself upwards, it can be nigh on impossible to coax it back down to ground level, and even if you do there’s no telling when your follicles will next pull a less than flattering floating halo impression. Welcome to the unpredictable, unruly world of static.

Static hair can be triggered by many factors, from bedding to beanies, so getting a grip on it can be quite the challenge. We cornered some of the best hair experts in the business to suss out exactly why static plagues some hair types during the winter especially, and how best to keep it at bay.

What causes static hair?

Flashback to physics lessons- overexcited electrons are to blame here. Stylist Limoz Logli gives us the lowdown on why hair goes sky high in quite such a dramatic way:

“Static occurs when negatively-charged electrons fly off your hair, leaving your strands filled with positive charges that resist each other.”

So your hair is resisting itself. Excellent. Why exactly it does this is a matter of both hair type and weather conditions, as hair authority Paul Edmonds explains:

“The air is normally drier during the winter months, and when you add in the drying effects of central heating, it’s not surprising that the hair in turn becomes drier. Dry hair attracts more positive electric charge, so static hair is far more prevalent in winter than during warmer, more humid summer months.”

As for hair type, if you’re fine of follicle, you’ll likely be familiar with the ‘electrified’ look, as Paul acknowledges:

“Fine hair types tend to be a lot more prone to static, meaning that the hair either clings to the head or ‘flies’ away from it. The drier your fine hair, the more likely you’ll be to suffer static.”

Short of changing your hair type and the weather, Style Director and Kérastase UK ambassador James Galvin identifies a few other static culprits:

“Hair can go airborne for additional reasons, for instance due to certain types of clothing materials, over drying the hair, using the wrong types of hairbrush or moving from a heated or airconditioned area into the cold winter air.”

With so many elements working against us, it’s high time (sorry) to establish an anti-static plan…

Can I ‘style’ away static? What can I do in terms of prevention?

Given that fine hair is the number one global hair concern, chances are static goes hand in hand with other hair concerns associated with fine hair, from a lack of volume to thinning and grease. Here’s your cheat sheet for showing static the door.

Wash it away

You can help to stop static in its tracks at the shampoo and conditioner stage, as Paul highlights:

“Washing the hair less frequently and using a good quality shampoo with the right balance of proteins and moisturiser is beneficial for every hair type, but can be key to reducing static. If your hair is really fine , consider a moisturising shampoo teamed with a leave-in strengthening and texturizing product such as iconic Kérastase Ciment Thermique, £20.90.”

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If static strikes on thicker hair types, adjust your treatment plan accordingly by follow James’ advice:

“As above, if you can get away with washing your hair every second or third day this will certainly help, as the cleaner the hair the more susceptible to flyaways it will be. While thicker hair doesn’t tend to suffer from static, if yours goes haywire, step up the heavier, intensively moisturising conditioners."

Style it out

You may get the feeling that by adding oils, creams and other styling products to finer lengths, you’re weighing it down, but the heavy serums and pommades of the past are thankfully not your only option.

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Oil Mist, £37, launched last year with a first of its kind formula targeted specifically at fine hair.

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Light oils provide lustre, shine and all important nourishment for dry ends, while volumising, follicle supporting Intra-CylaneTM provides lift and bounce, not qualities that are often associated with a hair oil product. A bi-phase formula allows a perfectly balanced delivery of both elements, while mist delivery ensures that hair is evenly coated but not drowned in product. The fact that it’s already a hero product in the Kérastase line up says it all really, as does the praise it garners from almost every hair expert I spoke to. Limoz particularly loves the mist as it an ‘all-rounder’ that can be applied to hair both wet and dry, which is especially important if dry ends begin to ‘charge’, so to speak.

Once condition is taken care of, adding texture and lift can help to prevent the onset of Einstein hair, not to mention look awesome. James swears by Spray à Porter by Kérastase:

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“It’s a sea salt spray like no other. It adds serious texture and grip without weighing the hair down.”

For additional oomph, go 80s and add a mousse. They’re not made like they used to be, thank goodness, as James confirms:

“I use Mousse Bouffante in salon to put flyaways in their place. It provides brilliant hold and is not at all heavy.”

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For further static management, instil some discipline. Limoz uses Kérastase Fluidissime thermo-protective spray on the daily, not only to shield hair against the ravages of heat styling, but to add a conditioning ‘barrier’ on the surface of the hair that not only ramps up shine but keeps static in check. A quick spritz should mean that your hair dries faster too, and the anti-static effects are said to last up to 72 hours. Apply to towel dried hair, section by section. Speaking of drying…

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Dry, not high

The manner by which you dry your hair can make all the difference to its static potential. Avoid rough towel drying and instead blot dry hair gently, using a soft microfibre towel if possible. Limoz advocates drying hair naturally if you’re ‘lucky enough to have hair that does so beautifully’, but if the no-blow is a no-go, your tools are everything, as James emphasises:

“When drying your hair with a round brush make sure that the brush is 100% boar bristle (such as Mason Pearson brushes) and does not contain any nylon, as synthetics such as nylon generate and hold on to static charge. A positive and easy lifestyle change to make, especially if you’re drying hair naturally, would also be to avoid using pillow cases that are made from cheaper materials such as nylon and polyester as they can cause friction with the hair.”

Washing and drying hair at night has proved to be a game-changer for many static sufferers, and Paul notes that any brushes you use when hair is dry are also key to conquering the dreaded electric lift:

“I recommend using a high quality wooden comb- never use plastic.”

If you’re blow-drying your hair, it’s said that ionic dryers are best for reducing positive ionic charge in hair, thus smoothing and reducing static. You’ll shell out a bit more for an ionic dryer, but the reduced damage and added shine justifies the investment for many- the Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer, £299, is a blowout in every sense of the word, while the ghd Air, £99, is considerably cheaper while still drying hair in double quick time and infusing it with static-repelling gloss. Just don’t go overboard on the styling front, as James cautions:

“Be really careful not to go mad with ironing, tonging or drying, as too much heat-styling will strip the hair of goodness, and essentially make it more prone to static."

I’m out and about and my hair has gone full on lion’s mane. Any SOS static tips?!

Having a hair-raising moment mid-meeting is not the workplace dream. For emergencies, keep an anti-static stash on hand. James has an idea up his sleeve:

“Spray a good quality hairspray, such as Kérastase Laque Couture, £16, into a vent brush or natural bristle brush and lightly brush through hair to help to calm static.”

Strategic product layering is the aim of the game, as with clothes at this time of year, and a hairspray ‘anorak’ never hurt.

If that’s not cutting it, there’s truth in the old dryer sheet trick, as Paul admits:

“I normally carry a tumble dryer sheet in my session styling bag just in case static rears its head. You can smooth it over the hair itself, or wipe it over your brush or comb to stop any charge building up as you brush through your hair.”

Short of sheets and spray, go for a full restyle- this is the time for braids, topknots and anything that keeps your strands under control.

What can I do long-term to stop static coming back?

There’s no long-term solution, but a few lifestyle switches can help. Soft materials such as silk are preferable if you’re feeling flashy (think tops, pillowcases and hairbands), as wool and the like rough up hair cuticles, create friction and basically conduct the wrong kind of energy to your hair. Check out Silke for slinky hair wraps and accessories.

A cool rinse at the end of your shower, plus a cool blast of the hairdryer once you’re finished styling, really can reduce the odds of a static-attack. Every month or so, and especially as the weather gets cooler, consider investing in an in-salon treatment to help moisture and conditioning agents to deeply penetrate the hair shaft, making hair healthier and better equipped to deal with naughty electrons.

The hair experts at Kérastase cater for more than just static-prone hair- from damaged and colour treated hair to sensitive scalps, dandruff, hair loss and hair that’s simply lost it’s shine, there’s a targeted range to suit your every desire and concern, with world-leading research behind it. Happily, brand official eBOUTIQUE at Kérastase.co.uk is offering exclusively & for a limited time only 20% off on all ranges from 12th December 2016 until 23.59 pm on 31st December 2016.

To redeem the online offer on all products at Kerastase.co.uk, with shipment to the UK only, use code TREAT20 at checkout, and a 20% discount will be applied to your order. One code per customer, offer subject to availability or while stocks last.

This feature was created in partnership with Kérastase


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