Ah, winter. That magical time of year when breath turns to misty clouds that float away into the slate-grey sky. The season in which frost winks like the last, sparkling teardrop in summertime’s eye. The one time of year that all I have to do to my hair in the morning is slap a humongous slouchy hat on my head and walk out the door. Hats forever! Hats for President 2014!
Everything is great until I’m inside and I pull the hat off. Then suddenly I’m a miniature electrical conductor, crackling with static. My hair stands on end and gently dances towards the ceiling, snapping, and popping merrily in the middle of my silent office. Cute. Love static.
Static in cold weather happens because the air outside has less moisture in it during the winter than it does in warmer months, and moisture is what keeps electrical charges from building up enough to cause static. In other words, cold air means a higher likelihood that you’ll experience a charge, or static, on or near your body. If you, like me, are driven nuts by static in the winter, there are things you can do to prevent it from happening, which we’ve talked about before.
However, what if you don’t have time for a long-term solution like extra conditioning? What if you don’t own an ionic blow dryer? What if your hair is crazy staticky all the time, and you’re sick of it, and you need it to stop right away?
There’s hope, my crackling friends! Try these five magic tips.
Carry a folded-up dryer sheet in your bag. Pull it out, smooth it over your hair, and boom! No more static. You’re fixed and ready to go in seconds, plus you can use it on your staticky clothes and tights. Plus plus it makes your bag smell nice.
Spray a non-aerosol, non-alcohol hairspray or gel onto a comb or brush. Lightly run the sprayed comb over your hair to tame flyaways. You can also spray a little in your palms and smooth over locks. This is a very temporary solution, though, because some hairsprays can actually dry out hair a bit, causing even more static.
Rub a dime-sized dollop of any hand lotion into your palms. Smooth your newly moisturized hands over your hair and kiss static goodbye. This can make hair look oily faster, but when static attacks, it attacks, you know? If you have greasier locks, work more of the lotion into your hands before running through hair.
Assuming you’re not wearing a hat that was lovingly knit by hand, just for you (and isn’t it heart-wrenching that I’m assuming that?), find the tag inside of it. Is your hat made of acrylic or polyester fibers? Or fleece (a true static sin!)? If so, you need to march to the store that sells proper winter hats, and pick up one made of 100% wool or cotton. Natural fibers tend to cause less static buildup than synthetic ones.
When washing and conditioning, rinse your hair with lukewarm water and try to let it air-dry. Hot, hot water dries out hair, which leads to more static, and hairdryers only make the situation worse. Remember, think of heat as static’s best friend. A lukewarm rinse, especially if you forgo heat styling, helps keep your delicate strands electricity-free.