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How to take care of your hair in the winter months

During my teenage years and even early 20s, I would consistently decide to chop off a large chunk of my hair in the winter.

I always knew I was going against the norm when I made this decision as all of my friends would do the same things to their hair in the summer - until one day I mentioned it to my hairdresser, who actually said it was better to go shorter in the winter instead of the summer.

Her reasoning was that people tend to use more heat in the winter to avoid going outside with wet hair in the colder temperatures, which means more blow drying and using other forms of heat, while in the summer wet hair is more of a method to cool down and people are more likely to avoid heat if they’re swimming at the beach or simply throwing their hair in a ponytail.

I stuck with that mindset for years thinking this was the key to having healthy hair. But, according to experts, there’s no best - or worst - time to chop your hair. The Independent spoke with Tukia Allen, educator coach at Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, who teaches cosmetology students.

She explained that it doesn’t matter whether you decide to cut your hair short in the winter or summer. “There really isn’t a better time to cut your hair off,” Allen said.

The only real thing people need to pay attention to is how to treat your hair per season because it does vary. In the winter, the number one hair tip to pay attention to is hydration, as the air gets colder and can dry out your scalp.

An added obstacle in the winter is some of the accessories we tend to wear like hats and scarves, which can pull and tug on our hair, making it more prone to breakage and split ends.

“We wear scarves around our neck so that adds traction on the lengths of your hair,” Allen explained. “So when you are pulling a scarf around your neck, it will allow some of the strands or latch on to some of the hair strands. You want to be careful about that.”

In order to avoid losing those extra hair strands, she suggested using some kind of hair oil in order to reduce the traction that is being created from hats and scarves. She used the analogy of treating hair as we would treat skin.

“We rub our skin and we have had no hydration on it, we’re going to feel it’s going to reveal itself. So same thing with our hair, if we’re adding the hydration that it means it’s a coating. It gives more slip to the things around it as opposed to traction as it pertains to hats, scarves, headbands, elastics things of that nature,” she said.

Allen added that it can be normal to lose anywhere from 100 to 150 strands per day as just part of the hair cycle, so another thing to keep in mind would be that you might only be losing a normal amount of hair, with the hat or scarf merely providing a “canvas” for it.

Although it may not matter whether or not people make the big chop on their hair during the winter or summer, this doesn’t mean they should take fewer trips to the salon for regular hair trims during the winter months.

“The winter you might back off from shampooing as often as opposed to the summer but your hair cuts should remain the same,” Allen said.