Static Hair

One of the drawbacks to living in the upper Midwest is my thin, fine hair is at the mercy of winter’s cold, dry air for a majority of the year. Between low humidity outside and forced air heat inside, some days my hair will attract to anything but itself. I can’t tell you how many mousses, gels, and hair sprays I’ve tried, hoping that they’d tame my hair, or how many times I’ve tried to use a straightener to get everything to stay in place, only to have my hair return to its mad scientist look in a few hours or less. There were several winters in which I decided to just not take my hat off outside my home to avoid showing my embarrassing static hair. A few years ago, I decided to change the way I deal with my hair during the winter, and I’ve noticed a tremendous change in the way it cooperates. Wearing a hat is a temporary solution, find out how a few simple changes in your routine can help you get rid of static hair.

What Causes Static Hair?

There are quite a few scenarios that could be the root of your static hair problem. The most common are:

  • Exposure to intense heat or cold
  • Lack of moisture in the air
  • Poor washing/ conditioning habits
  • Excessive contact with synthetic or blended materials
  • Combing or brushing hair too often
  • Using too many hair products
  • Having thin, fine hair

Quick Fix for Static Hair

If you find yourself with static hair and you’re in a pinch, rub a small amount of hand lotion into your palms and then run them over the flyaway hairs to tame them. It’ll last until the lotion dries out a bit.

Best Short-Term Solutions to Get Rid of Static Hair

Products made for static cling, like static guard and dryer sheets, are often recommended as a solution for static hair in emergency situations. You can spray static guard on a comb before running it through your hair or graze a dryer sheet over flyaways. If you have allergies or sensitive skin, you may want to skip these.

Simple Fixes for Static Hair

Change your hair washing routine to get rid of static hair.

If you deal with static hair every day, chances are your hair isn’t just reacting to weather and air conditions, but it’s damaged also. If you wash your hair daily, switching to every other day or even waiting two days between washes may allow your hair to restore its natural oils. When you do wash your hair, use lukewarm water and rinse thoroughly in cool water to avoid heat damage and product buildup. If you must wash your hair daily, try a moisturizing shampoo made for your hair type.

Condition your hair to repair damage and prevent static.

If changing the way you wash doesn’t help your hair to become more manageable, you may want to try changing your conditioning routine also. If you aren’t doing so already, be sure to use conditioner each time you wash your hair. Like your shampoo, using conditioner that’s made for your hair type will also make a difference. If you already use conditioner, switching to a leave-in conditioner will help your hair retain its natural oils. If you still don’t notice a change, a deep conditioning or hot oil treatment may be what you need to repair your hair. Paul Mitchell has a solid Tea Tree hair moisturizer, you can find it at Amazon.

Avoid heat to fix static hair.

Heat damages hair by removing natural oils, leaving it dry and susceptible to static. If you’re in the habit of using a blow dryer to dry your hair, try allowing it to dry naturally instead. If you don’t have the time to let your hair air dry, use your blow dryer on its cool or lowest heat setting to minimize damage. Also be sure to apply some sort of heat protectant on your hair before you dry it. These products come in a wide variety of sprays, mousses, and serums, and can be found for any type of hair.

Ditch styling tools to get rid of static hair.

If you have problems with static hair and regularly use a curling iron or flat iron to style your hair, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Taming static hair by styling it may seem like a solution, but these products are probably doing more harm than good. Like your blow dryer, the heat from these tools damages hair by removing its natural oils and drying it out further. Consider taking a break from them to let your hair recover from the damage. As with blow dryers, if you do use them, be sure to apply a heat protectant beforehand.

Wear natural fibers to minimize static electricity.

You can spend an hour in front of the mirror before you go out, getting your hair to lie just right, only to have all that work ruined when you reach your destination and take your hat off, and your hair goes with it. Synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon often cause static buildup, which can create flyaway hair. Look for clothing made of 100% natural materials, especially cotton, or wear your old Homer Hanky under your wool hat like a bandana to prevent flyaways. Let’s face it, Twins fans: you won’t be waving it for a while, anyway…and not just because it’s winter.

Anti-Static Hair Care Products

Products labeled “ionic,” such as hair brushes and blow dryers, are supposed to help keep the amount of static in your hair to a minimum. They work by replenishing your hair with negatively charged ions. Ionic blow dryers are also supposed to dry hair faster than others, reducing heat damage to your hair.

Natural Solutions for Static Hair

Using humidifiers will help combat dryness indoors.

The actual impact that a humidifier will have is dependent on how often you use it and your hair type. This is more effective as a method of preventing static hair than curing it. Be sure you’re using the humidifier correctly by keeping an eye on the humidity level of your home, using distilled water, and cleaning it regularly in order to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. Amazon sells a few single-room units like this humidifier from Pure Enrichment that has a lot of cool features. However, just remember the larger your home the larger a humidifier you’ll need.

Olive oil helps lock in your hair’s natural moisture.

To use it as a regular conditioner, just rub a few drops into your hair after you’ve shampooed, then rinse out. As a deep conditioner, wash your hair, let it dry until damp, then rub warm olive oil through your hair, wrap it to let it soak for 30-60 minutes, and rinse. You may have to experiment with how much oil to use for your hair and how long to let it sit.

Use natural shampoos and conditioners.

Shampoos and conditioners made with natural ingredients such as aloe or avocado oil help your hair to maintain and replenish the natural oils that can be stripped by the cool, dry winter air. Because they rely on oils found in nature, these shampoos will also keep your hair from becoming damaged by harsh chemicals found in other products, and thus reduce the risk of it being overcome by static charges.

Treating and Preventing Static Hair

If you only occasionally have to deal with static hair, then you can probably get away with using one of the recommended short term solutions, but I wouldn’t rely on them as regular treatment. If you’re dealing with static hair often, try giving some of the tips above a chance and see if you notice a change. What I’ve learned over the years is that the less you mess with your hair, generally the healthier it is. Depending on your hair type, just doing something simple like not using a blow dryer anymore or giving your hair a day’s rest from washing every once in a while may have a huge impact on the health of your hair and make it less prone to static. If you’ve tried the tips above and haven’t noticed a change, or don’t want to give up your normal hair washing and styling routines, then a trip to a spa or salon, where they can give you a deep conditioning treatment to get natural oils back into your hair, may be a good alternative.

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About the Author

Jessica Bombach

Jessica Bombach