Whether you're looking for a complete redo or a subtle switch, winter is a great chance to reinvent your hair. Since your mane may change with the chillier weather, styles that were once impractical during sticky summer months (hello, bangs!) are now a possibility. Here are seven expert-recommended hair looks to herald in the winter season.
The “modern Rachel”
Inspired by Rachel from Friends' iconic 1990s hairdo, this contemporary cut has the same classic face-framing pieces, but with longer layers. It's ideal for anyone looking to make a change while maintaining length.
"I usually like to start the layers right below the face to accentuate the cheekbones and contour the jawline," Rubyna Kim, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist of 12 years and StyleSeat professional, tells Health. Kim says it's become her most requested cut, popular among models like Hailey Bieber and Christina Nadin.
Bangs, bangs, bangs
There's a bangs style for every hair type, whether it's a feathery 1970s-inspired fringe (like the one Billie Eilish sports) or a subtle curtain bang across the cheekbones. Even curly haired folks can ask for playful wisps—think Mariah Carey a lá early 1990s.
"Winter is the best season to make the bold move and try bangs because there is far less humidity this time of year," Kim says. "If you've been thinking about it for a long time, do it!"
Cornrows with designs
One style rising in popularity that's perfect for cold weather: intricately woven cornrow designs, Geneva Fowler, the lead braid stylist at BEAUTYBEEZ tells Health. They can last up to a month and take less time to create than classic box braids, she says.
While cornrows work for any hair texture, Fowler says they're particularly beneficial for people with curl types between 3A and 4C. "In this cold weather, we want to protect our curls by keeping them moisturized and tucked away in our protective styles," she says.
Slicked-back ponytail braids
Updos aren't just for warmer weather. This winter, try braiding your pony for a (literal) twist on the classic slicked-back look, Jen Atkins, celebrity hair stylist and founder of OUAI and Mane Addicts, tells Health.
Even if your hair is on the shorter or thinner side, Fowler says you can add temporary extensions to achieve extra length and volume. Just make sure to use a strong-hold hair spray, like Aquage's Finishing Spray, to reach maximum levels of sleek.
Lived-in chestnut and honey tones
For a touch of warmth in the wintertime, try streaming strands with caramel, copper, or amber hues; this will make your usual color pop. Just be sure to choose a shade that doesn't clash with your natural pigments, says Kim. That way, the added color can gradually fade with minimal upkeep.
"As skin complexions tend to get paler during the colder season, subtle hair color can be an amazing way to bring some glow back into the face," Kim points out. She recommends starting the highlights at the cheekbone level, leaving roots mostly untouched, and then dying the tips a few tones lighter for a softer look.
Both Atkins and Kim recommend getting regular glosses—about every six to eight weeks—to maintain richness and shine. While you should always ask your colorist for advice on products, Atkins recommends the DPHue color glosses for an easy at-home treatment.
While brunettes may go for a more sun-kissed look this holiday season and beyond, Atkins predicts blondes will take the opposite route and go one or two shades darker. Not only will a "bronde" color be easier to upkeep, but it will also give your hair a break from bleaching, which can damage and dry out strands.
"The focus is really on adding dimension and barely there highlights and lowlights," Atkins says. "Bring photos to your colorist, since this isn't a color you're going to be able to achieve easily with box dye."
Low-maintenance hair colors will be a big hit this season, and so will embracing your natural texture, Atkins says. It's usually easier to do so in the winter, since less humidity means less frizz.
The best way to bring out your locks' instinctive shape depends on your hair type:
- For wavy hair: Rake mousse through damp strands, and then place an old silk scarf on top of your head with the ends by your ears. Wrap sections of hair around the scarf before securing with a scrunchie. Unfurl your tresses once they're dry for heat-free waves.
- For straight hair: Apply a nourishing cream through partially dried hair, then twist it into a tight bun to create voluminous texture.
- For curly hair: Massage a curl cream (like this one from OUAI) into wet hair and twist individual ringlets around your finger. This will help twists dry in their natural curl pattern.
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