By Andi Douglas
In the spring, I pull my hair up into a bun because of the wind. In the summer, I pull my hair up because it’s too hot.
I have a brief period in the fall when I straighten and curl my hair so the new teachers don’t know what a mess I am, but then I get too busy to make a hair appointment, and it goes back up in a bun.
And my excuse in the winter is the dreaded static electricity (dun-dun-dunnnn). But I have decided to take back winter! As part of my New Year’s Resolution to look less hermit-y when I leave the house, I vow to properly fix my hair at least once a week and keep it down.
My reality check came when a fairly new friend, whom I see on a regular basis, was shocked to see that I have long, naturally wavy hair when I wore my hair down last weekend. So, I am off to battle! No more unruly, static-y hair!
The phenomenon, which made for a really cool day in third grade science, occurs when the temperature drops and the air dries up. Negatively charged ions abandon your hair and leave the positive charges behind, where they resist each other, thus causing the “flyaways”. That’s about as much science as I’ve got, but your third grader can probably tell you more.
So, now that we know why we look like a dandelion for most of winter, let’s look at ways to fight back:
Run a dryer sheet over your hair, top to bottom. Since I tend to be allergic to most scents, I have not tried this myself, but apparently the rest of the internet has with great success. If you tend to wake up with crazy static head, try rubbing a dryer sheet over your pillow before bed.
Choose an ionic blow dryer. I bought an ionic blow dryer years ago, because that was what you are supposed to do, but I had no idea of it’s purpose. Apparently, it emits negatively-charged ions that neutralize all of the positively- charged ions wreaking havoc on your hair. It also is meant to leave more moisture behind as it dries your hair to help combat static and frizz. I noticed a lot of “supposedly-s” when researching this, so I am a little skeptical, but I still leave my ion switch turned on just in case.
Spritz your hair with a leave in-conditioner or hair spray. Both work, but for different reasons. Hair spray will tame the flyaways while conditioner will add moisture to eliminate the static. Hair spray makes my dry hair brittle and gross, so I can’t wait to try the leave in conditioner as an alternative.
Use a frizz taming product on the ends of your hair. Frizz may not be an issue for you if you have fine, straight hair, but it is two sides of the same coin. An oil like Moroccanoil Frizz Control or a hair serum like John Frieda’s Frizz Ease will do the trick. If you suffer from an oily scalp and cringe at the thought of adding oil to your hair, you should be protected by sticking just to the ends, but avoid brushing your hair, because you will pick up that oil from the end of your tresses and transfer it to your roots and you will wonder why you look like you took a dip in a pool in the middle of your work day.
Speaking of brushing:
Do not use a plastic comb or brush. A metal tool is conductive and does science-y stuff to neutralize the static. By the way, I know I sound like a dingbat, but apparently all of the science I learned in school has been replaced with the knowledge of which cream is best for which diaper rash.
Choose a hat made from wool, cashmere or cotton. Hats made from synthetic fabrics will aggravate the static. Also, loose hats like berets and newsboy caps will help minimize flat hat hair once you lose your topper.
Now wish me luck! I’m having my hair done on Thursday and pledge to wear my hair down for one month. And when you see me next week with my hair in a bun, please be kind. I have good intentions and three kids.
Andi Douglas loves hair and makeup products. She likes to share her finds — and tips — with us here. If you’ve got a question for her on the topic of beauty, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a beautiful day!