How to build an effective, easy and seasonal hair regimen
Nourishing, cleansing and scalp-soothing ingredients and techniques to ensure hair stays healthy and happy all year long.
A successful hair care regimen should be two things: flexible and uncomplicated.
A healthy hair routine doesn’t need to be time consuming or feel like a chore. But it is necessary to alter your hair regimen as the seasons come and go to ensure frizz, fried ends and damage are kept at bay.
Here we tackle why it is important to maintain a hair care routine as the seasons change and answer those big, tricky hair questions like what are the different hair types, how often should you wash your hair and which products, ingredients and self-care rituals are the best for you and your lengths.
How to determine your hair type
Just as you must determine your skin type before settling into a face regimen that works month-to-month, so too must you figure out your hair type. Hair type matters when cultivating a hair regimen for the simple fact that what you wash, moisturise and treat hair with can have an impact on how hair moves, acts and is styled.
The simplest way to work out your hair texture is to set aside time to wash your hair and let it air dry naturally. Avoid brushing it (detangling with your fingers is fine), heading straight to bed or doing anything that may cause hair to shift shape, like tucking it behind your ears. Once your hair is dry, take a look at the texture and how it moves: if it dries curled, coiled or in a zig-zag formation, you’re classified as curly (though within this family there are specific curl types to investigate). If you find your hair has dried with a wave or loose ‘S’ shape, you’re dealing with soft to deep waves. Lastly, those whose hair is wave or curl-free are managing straight hair.
Keep in mind that hair, like skin, can change over your lifetime, altering in texture or fullness so it’s wise to remain flexible to your needs as you age.
What should your hair regimen be?
Once you’ve got a handle on your hair type be mindful of other factors that can affect and shape your regimen too. For example, if you’re working with colour-treated hair or regularly heat style, the products you reach for should cater to those choices. Likewise, if you manage any pre-existing scalp conditions like dermatitis, you should be careful with how you stock your product rotation seasonally and which techniques or ingredients you’re reaching for. And, of course, the length and fullness of your tresses will have a huge influence on your hair routine, especially as longer lengths generally require more TLC.
Below is an easy-to-follow seasonal guide that tackles the how, why, and when to tailor and tune a healthy hair regimen to ensure bad hair days are kept at bay.
How to cultivate an essential hair regimen in summer
Hair will invariably be treated to a lot of stress-causing activity during the warmer months as you dip in and out of the water and spend more time under the sun. To start, salt water and chlorine can strip hair of moisture and its natural oils so consider reaching for a multi-purpose hair oil that will protect and nourish while you swim. A reliable, multitasking hair oil will also work wonders on humidity-induced frizz and environmental damage day-to-day. Switch to a hydrating shampoo and conditioner brimming with ingredients like nourishing argan oil, cleansing tea tree, banksia extract for UV protection or quandong, desert lime and wattle seed extracts to help quench parched locks. Treating hair to a weekly deep conditioning mask is a must to help repair and nourish ends.
Those working with colour treated hair will want to switch to a treatment and shampoo that protects from colour-sapping UV too.
How to cultivate an essential hair regimen in autumn
Trans-seasonal months can be tough on hair as inconsistent weather, indoor heating and even headwear can damage locks, not to mention the lack of moisture that can leave the scalp and hair stripped and prone to breakage or irritation.
Ahead of winter it’s wise to get a trim and cut away summer-induced damage while switching to heavy duty moisturising shampoo and conditioner—look for products with shea butter, macadamia or hemp seed oil. Those with straight hair may want to reach for products that are lightweight in texture (think: oils and milks over heavy creams) so as not to weigh down your tresses. If you’re working with curls or coils, autumn is the perfect time to test drive co-washing (conditioner only, no shampoo) as a way to amp up moisture without needing to increase your need for masking.
How to cultivate an essential hair regimen in winter
As temperatures drop, amp up protection and nourishment by subtly adding and subtracting from your regimen. To start, try to shampoo less to ensure your scalp isn’t being stripped of the natural oils it desperately needs during this period and turn down the heat of your shower. Dry air can leave hair brittle (read: prone to breakage) and combined with hot water, which also draws oils from the hair and scalp, can wreak havoc. Hair masks or leave-in treatments should be on heavier rotation during the winter months to nurture hair and fend-off damage. Look for oil or butter-based products that can be left in overnight, protect from heat damage and fight static. Now is also a good time to give heat styling a rest and work more protective hairstyles into your repertoire—think braids, twists or buns.
Research indicates that hair growth and loss fluctuate with the seasons, often worsening in winter. A volumising spray, thickening tonic or powder can lend hair height and body while doubling down on nourishing ingredients.
How to cultivate an essential hair regimen in spring
Regular appointments with your hairdresser are a must all year long but especially post-winter when damage and dry ends need to be chopped to ensure hair looks and feels healthy. As humidity levels rise switch out heavy treatments for lighter, cleansing shampoos, conditioners and treatment oils. Tone down on masking but ensure your routine is packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients or omega fatty acids from nuts, avocado, aloe vera or tea tree to cleanse hair while nourishing it.