With the chillier months comes a desire for stylish accessories selected for winter warmth and added elegance. Options abound: Fluffy scarves! Leather gloves! Chic chapeaus! But while the season’s hats are infinitely stylish, their effects on your bouncy blowout are not. That’s right; we’re talking about hat hair, the bane of our collective cold weather existence.
For those who have never dealt with the issue, hat hair refers to the matted, mussed, slightly oily mane that your left with after hours (or for some even moments) of donning a cap. Hats may be an ideal means of protecting a blowout from the elements during a commute, sealing in heat during time spent outside, or simply punctuating an outfit, but easing a foreign object over your mane is a surefire means of changing it—for better or for worse. “[Hat hair] is inevitable if you are pressing hair down, plus there's the heat that naturally occurs from wearing something warm on your head,” says hairstylist Justine Marjan. It’s harsh, but true: with any hat comes hat hair.
Meet Our Expert
Justine Marjan is a celebrity hairstylist to stars like Ashley Graham and Olivia Culpo.
Tiffany Fodor is a hairstylist who splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles.
The concept may be universal (and, though we’re talking winter here, seasonless) among hat wearers, but mitigating the reality is slightly more personal. “Everyone’s hair is different, so approaches will vary on hair type and texture,” says Marjan. In this spirit, what’s the best way to prevent hat hair entirely or deal with the byproduct of your preferred accessory? The answer depends on you, as well as your hat. Are you a curl girly donning a beanie for your morning commute? A pre-hat braid may save your style. On the other hand, those topping straight lengths with an all-day Panama hat would do well to keep some dry shampoo on hand. And, as a general rule, a hat worn further back on the head keeps the bulk of your style intact.
Here, ready through eight tips for offsetting the somewhat unavoidable impact of your hat.
How to Prevent Hat Hair
1. Wrap Hair With a Silk Scarf
To prevent your hat game from messing with your hair game, separate the two with a silk scarf to prevent friction and oil formation. This solution—suggested by hairstylist Tiffany Fodor—is an exceptionally chic choice that works whether your hat is an in-transit accessory or a full-on look. Opt for an Old Hollywood look by topping lengths with a triangulated scarf bound loosely beneath the chin or mold over your low-slung midi knot for instant tie-back protection.
2. Braid Your Curls
If your hat-enhanced style is utilitarian in nature, protecting the integrity of your texture is as easy as a braid or two. “For curlier textures, your best bet would be braiding under the hat,” says Marjan. Braiding the hair will protect the buoyancy of your curls, which you can unfurl and re-up once your hat moment has passed.
3. Try the Behind-the-Ears Tuck
Hair pressed down at the crown is one thing, but strands forced to lay flat against the sides of your face are bound to pick up excess oil. To alleviate the effects, try tucking loose lengths behind the ears, which is a better way to preserve the face-framing sections of your style (which, as we all know, are among the most important).
4. Add Water
Rejuvenating flattened curls is all about rehydrating, either with a leave-in conditioner, preferred styling cream, or a simple splash of water. “For curly hair, always use moisturizing products (even a spritz of water) to add to texture, as curly hair is always fighting to keep hydration in,” says Fodor. If using a product rather than good old-fashioned H2O appeals, R+Co’s Waterfall Moisture and Shine Lotion features a lightweight formula ideal for boosting gloss and bounce to deadened curls.
5. Spritz with Dry Shampoo
When you find yourself in need of an instantaneous refresh, dry shampoo is always the answer. “If you have hair that tends to get flat, I suggest a dry shampoo,” says Fodor, who favors Davines This Is An Invisible Dry Shampoo. In addition to adding volume, dry shampoo will instantly soak up the grease or oil that has likely accumulated at your crown and roots, resulting in cleaner, revamped lengths. (Note: Remember to use dry shampoo as sparingly as possible, the better to preserve your scalp health.)
6. Try Texture Spray or Hairspray
Now that your hat-induced oiliness has been tempered, mists of texture spray can help to zhuzh up any style, while hairspray can keep errant hairs in place. For ramped up texture, try Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray (in travel-sized for easier styling) or Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Texturizing Finishing Spray. To minimize flyaways and provide your newly freshened hair hold, Marjan relies on TRESemmé’s Flexible Hold Hairspray, also in miniature, for easy en route perfecting.
7. Use Hot Tools
Should you have the time and access, a slight restyling of the hair via a blowdryer, straightening iron, curling iron, or rollers can help erase any of the kinks, creases, or general limpness caused by your hat. There are portable options, too. “I love the ghd Unplugged Styler because it’s small enough to fit in your purse and doesn’t need to be plugged in, so it’s perfect for on-the-go touch-ups,” says Marjan.
8. Style Strategically
This one is simple: try to reserve your hat collection for wear with second- (or third-) day hair. Using a cute cap to pull your look together rather than having to stress about the hair beneath provides a win-win scenario of form and function, transforming your would-be bad hair day into a stylish accessorizing opportunity.
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