Timeless secrets to gorgeous hair. Rediscovered.

Timeless secrets to gorgeous hair. Rediscovered.

Weathering the Seasons!

Dr. Aparna Santhanam

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By the Hairsutras Team

Right now, I’ m sitting in my living room, gazing out of the window at the cloudy day. Rain is in the air. I can smell it, and feel the occasional cool breeze blow. Yes, monsoon is on its way, and while I’m ready for the cool showers, I know my hair is not.

Hair reacts, and quite severely, to change of weather. Temperature, humidity, and sunlight can all affect the hair and its appearance, the way it behaves, and they way it reacts to products and styling services. Let’s take a look at the top things that happen to the hair in each season, along with some basic, easy fixes to keep your hair healthy and beautiful all year around.

Summer

Two of the more common factors of summertime weather are heat and humidity. Any woman who’s ever spent an hour styling her hair and stepped outdoors on a hot, humid day can tell you firsthand that heat and humidity can ruin a hairstyle.

Generally, the physical side bonds in our hair are broken by the application of heat and water. This is why we are able to style hair using wet set rollers, and by using blow-dryers, curling irons and flat irons. Exposing styled hair to a hot, humid environment causes these side bonds to break again, allowing the hair to return to its natural state. Naturally straight hair will have its curls begin to collapse. Naturally curly hair that has been ironed will begin to frizz and slide back into its curly state.
  
Another “weather effect” that is common in the summer is sun damage. In the same way that UV rays from the sun affect the melanin in the skin, it also causes changes in the melanin in the hair. Prolonged sun exposure can lighten the hair, and sometimes, when dealing with artificial hair colour, can alter the colour to an undesired shade. The UV rays penetrate the hair shaft and disperse the melanin that gives the hair its colour.

Easy fixes

  • Oil your hair at least once a week to provide hydration from within.
  • This is the season to use lightweight products to avoid the sweaty feel.

Tying back long hair and keeping short hair as short as you like to wear it are good ideas too.

Winter
The most common weather-related effects on the hair during winter come from the cold (or specifically, the constant changes from cold to warm environments). Cold, dry air can cause the cuticle layer of the hair to lift, and going into a warm, dry interior environment then leeches the moisture out of the hair, leaving it dry and frizzy. This also provides the perfect conditions for static, which can make the hair very unruly.

Easy fixes

  • Protect your hair from vagaries of winter by ensuring you protect the cuticle. Using vegetable oils like coconut oil that penetrate the shaft protects the cuticle from within even after you wash it off.
  • After washing with a sulphate free shampoo, a serum or repairing mousse with a water loving silicone or 18 MEA protectors can seal the cuticle and prevent water from damaging the shaft.

Wind
Wind can also damage the hair. Exposure to strong persistent winds can create tangles and snags in wavy and curly long hair. The wind buffets the hairs against one another, which roughens the cuticle layer and causes the hair to catch on one another. In addition, hair that is repeatedly buffeted in strong or gusting winds can develop split ends as the hairs brush against one another.

Easy fixes

  • Use detangling sprays, whenever required. They can be oil or non oil based.
  • Detangle your hair first, then brush or groom to avoid breakage.

Rains

Repeated soaking of the hair in rain water damages the cuticle and increases porosity of the shaft. This leads to ingress of water into the hair, causing the shaft to weaken and fray. The end result is a frizzy appearance and frayed, split ends.

Easy fixes

  • This is the season to use double conditioning on your hair. Oil with a coconut based oil before shampooing, and use a good wash-off conditioner to reduce frizz or a leave in conditioner for longer protection.

Once you understand what your hair goes through each season, and the simple tips that will help them weather through the changes, you can truly enjoy the various seasons without any fear of hair damage. Chai, anyone?

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