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The Best Way To Repair Your Hair During Winter Months 

These pro tips will help you naturally restore your hair.

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Ana Galvan
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Your hair may be a hot mess after mercilessly yanking it into a tight ponytail for the umpteenth time to stay clear of your face mask. What’s more, last season’s sultry temps and high humidity coupled with sweaty workouts, pool and beach time required washing hair more frequently, a steady routine that made it dry out. Things have gone off the rails, morphing into a full-blown wild and frizzy rebellion. I get it. Now is a great time to make amends and give hair the “summer break” it never had and fully deserves. We leaned on the experts to divulge their secrets about ways to give hair a strong dose of TLC at home to reverse past abuses.

Brush with caution

Always brush hair out dry before shampooing and conditioning, says Los Angeles stylist Sascha Breuer, whose impressive clientele roster includes Hollywood stars such as Keira Knightley, Hilary Swank and Naomi Campbell.

Don’t brush hair from root to tip. Instead, brush out hair in small sections — from ends working your way up — to avoid unwanted knitting that leads to breakage, Breuer says. Maria Licari, a freelance stylist in New York City whose work includes TV (NBC Universal), fashion, celebrities and weddings, says that once all knots are detangled, gently brushing a few strokes directly onto your scalp can offer more benefits than you probably would have imagined. “ ‘Scalp brushing’ brings blood circulation to the area, allowing your hair follicles to become stronger and healthier,” says Licari. She explains it’s the same concept as using a face roller. 

Choose your tools wisely

Invest in a microfiber hair towel, says Las Vegas-based clean beauty advocate Anoushka Dannin of For Your Reputation. The beauty influencer says that since heat is the main culprit of damaged hair, it’s best to begin blow-drying when hair is free of as much water as possible. Enter, the microfiber towel. “Wrapped around your head once you are out of the shower, this simple product will absorb up to 50 percent of the water on your hair and reduce your drying time,” Dannin says. A traditional towel on the other hand, causes hair breakage — since wet hair is vulnerable hair — and tugs on your scalp as you rough-dry hair.

Brushing knots out of wet hair can lead to major breakage, Breuer cautions. Consider using a Tangle Teezer, wet brush or a wide-tooth comb — all of which are more gentle on frail hair strands. Tight ponytails on a daily basis can lead to receding hairlines, Licari says. But with the return of the scrunchy, it’s possible to have a damage-free ponytail/topknot. Previously, Licari used black hair ties, but once scrunchies reentered the market she watched her hairline return to its original placement.

The best hair treatment may be sitting on your shelf

“Coconut oil has been my go-to hair treatment for over 10 years,” Licari says. It promotes scalp health, hair growth and nourishes dry ends. How to use it? Three steps: Melt it down to a liquid consistency; apply from roots to ends; leave in hair for 20 minutes before shampooing. Psst! Licari also loves this as an all-over-body moisturizer.

The correct way to shampoo and condition

Dannin advocates shampooing twice. The first shampoo breaks down the buildup of product, the second is where the magic happens. “So, go ahead: Rinse and repeat!”

“Conditioner is meant to be used from the ears down,” Dannin says. For extremely dry or damaged hair, apply conditioner first, then shampoo twice before ending with a hair mask. If you like combing conditioner through your hair during application, she says to make sure you’re using a wide-tooth comb or wet brush.

To prolong time in between washes, reach for dry shampoo. Dannin says that most people, however, don’t use it correctly. For best results, use dry shampoo on freshly styled hair so that oils will be absorbed immediately. Apply in sections starting from the ear line up. Dannin’s pro tip: “I like to spray dry shampoo on my hair every night before bed. I don’t touch it at all. When I wake up, I brush it through. Voila!”

Beware of heat

Instead of blow-drying, Licari suggests putting your wet, freshly washed tresses in a loose braid before bed. When you wake up it should be 90 percent dry and wavy. “If your waves are frizzy, then feel free to add a drop of coconut oil to tame those flyaways,” she says.

Dannin says that when you do use heat, always apply a heat protectant to your hair first and opt for lower heat settings on your tools. Dannin sets her own hair appliances at 200 degrees.

Beware of sun

“Your hair, like your skin, needs protection from the sun,” Dannin says. If lounging by the pool, she recommends wearing a sun hat and applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair. The conditioner will simultaneously hydrate and protect hair, and when you jump in the pool it will provide a barrier against chemicals that can dry out your locks, she says.

For those who use a pool frequently, rid your hair of chlorine buildup by pulling out your bottle of apple cider vinegar, Licari says. Combine 2  tablespoons of vinegar and a cup of shampoo to be ready for use. The vinegar acts as a clarifier, removing residual chemicals. Licari adds that it’ll make your hair shine, too.