“What a tangled mess.” Admit it, those words have passed your lips more than a few times this winter as you’ve tried to deal with the matted nest on top of your head. This excessively dry, cold weather is murder on our locks, and we’re not out of the weeds just yet, according to the groundhogs. So, we went to stylist Kim Gueldner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City to help us figure out the best way to survive the rest of the season without always being in knots. Here are her top five tips.
1: Up your products. “Think of your hair like your skin—it needs more moisture during the winter,” says Gueldner. “If you don’t use enough product to counteract the effects, you get tangles.” She tells clients to use double the amount of styling product they normally would, and to make sure they’re rehydrating. One of Gueldner’s favorites is Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil.
2: Wash and dry sparingly. “You want to wash less frequently during winter, because natural oils are the best moisturizers, and washing can strip your hair of them,” explains Gueldner. When it comes to drying, “air drying is always best. The less heat applied to the hair the better. But if you like a blowout look, try to skip a day between washes so you aren’t using so much heat.”
3: Use detangler. There are two ways to do it. First, in the shower, Gueldner suggests applying a deep conditioner (like Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment); then pull the product through using a wide-tooth comb. This will help really saturate strands and detangle in the process. After towel drying, you can also follow up with a detangling spray while hair is still wet. “Detanglers help soften hair and make it more manageable,” Gueldner says, noting that most have the same basic ingredients and will do the trick. Her pick is Inphenom Mist; you can also try this DIY recipe.
4: Choose your brushes wisely. Just like your wide-tooth comb, look for a brush where the bristles are further apart, and therefore less damaging. Although there are several “tangle teaser” brushes now on the market, Gueldner’s favorite is Sheila Stotts Removal Brush. (Editor’s note: the original Tangle Teezer works awesome, too!)
5: Use a few hat tricks. Hats are unavoidable in the winter, but how can you assure your ’do doesn’t get all flat and matted under the brim? “If you have longer hair, you could do a side braid or messy bun when wearing a hat [to keep hair in place],” says Gueldner. And if you have shorter hair? “Leave out a side swept bang or strand, and also go a little lighter on product because hats tend to make shorter hair oily.”
Photo: Ilaria Luciani