With the cold air, low humidity and indoor heating, it's no wonder winter curls need extra help.

You've finally figured out your hair routine when the temperature and the humidity plummet. Almost overnight, those holy grail products stop working, and your curls may turn dull and droopy, not to mention the static.

Hair tends to becomes at equilibrium with the environment. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air because it closes the cuticle layer faster. And because moisture conducts electricity, winter hair is prone to static, which increases five fold for every 10-degree drop in the mercury, says Victor Sabino of the Sabino Salon in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Add to that central heating and an increase in the use of hair dryers -- and the tendency to over-dry the hair -- and it's no wonder that winter curls need extra help.

"Your hair feels dryer, and you'll notice more static," says Lesley Bride, a senior scientist at Pantene. "So when it comes to products, it's about moisture and hold. "Keep shampooing to a minimum, and when you do cleanse your hair, use a product that is gentle.

"Be less aggressive with shampooing and don't work hair into a thick lather," cautions curl queen Ouidad of the Ouidad Salon. "This will irritate the hair and cause unwanted frizz."In terms of styling products, creams tend to be more moisturizing than gels. Avoid products with a high alcohol content, which can be drying to the hair.

Winter also is a time to add a leave-in conditioner to your regimen to keep the hair hydrated and to fight static. To cut down on drying time, gently blot with a micro-fiber towel or a t-shirt. If you use heat appliances, make sure you use a product to protect your strands from damage. Make sure you turn off the dryer the moment the hair is dry.

Although moisture is a must, don't use too much conditioner because it can weigh down the hair. Nick Chavez, owner of the Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Salon, suggests using conditioners with essential fatty acids and humectants, which hold moisture in the hair.

Once or twice a week, apply a deep conditioner to keep dry, parched, moisture-starved curls in check."Heat helps the conditioners penetrate and allows it to go a little deeper," Sabino says.

Wear a scarf, hat or cap to protect your hair from the cold and wind. Another weapon in fighting static is to carry a dryer sheet like Bounce in a zip-lock baggie, Sabino says."You can occasionally pat the hair when you're moving from a warm room to cold weather, or vice versa," he says.Winter provides can provide new styling options for people with curly and wavy hair."The cuts this winter are shorter, with more dramatic and diagonal angles," says Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue.But when opting for a shorter style, Christo urges people to choose a cut that works with their hair texture, density and face shape. Also choose one that gives you the option to wear it curly and straight."It is crucial to feel comfortable in your hairstyle," Christo says.

Product Recommendations


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As co-founder of, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.