What you will learn about static hair from this article...
- What is Static Hair
- What Causes Static Hair
- Why is Static Hair Worse in Winter?
- What hair types get static electricity?
- What’s the difference between static hair and frizz?
- Tips + Hacks to stop static hair
Does dry winter air have your hair crackling with electricity, full of fly-aways and literally standing on end? It’s a shockingly common problem for those of us who love our cute winter beanies! Go inside, pull off your hat and you know what exactly what happens: full-out static attack! And a real (annoying!) hair-raising experience.
But what causes static hair, and what can you do to stop it? Let’s dig deeper.
What is Static Hair?
Static hair is hair that’s taken on extra electrons through contact with another object like a brush, a sweater or a knit winter hat.
These newly super-charged hair strands behave exactly the same way magnets do when have the same charge – they repel, and literally can’t get anywhere near each other.
Needless to say, when static electricity turns your hair strands into wild wisps, madly flying out in all directions trying to avoid each other, there goes your smooth style.
What Causes Static Hair?
So, what causes static electricity in hair? How does your hair pick up extra electrons? Static hair is caused by friction between your hair and another object.
It could be a towel, your hairbrush, a shirt you pull over your head and the most common culprit: those woven wooly hats we love!
The friction created when that other object rubs against your hair causes electrons to transfer onto your hair, leaving it with an electric charge.
Why Is My Hair Staticky In Winter?
When there is humidity (moisture) in the air electric charges are absorbed into the atmosphere and don’t transfer easily. So summer’s typically dewy, humid conditions keep static at bay.
But wintertime serves up the ideal climate for creating staticky, fly-away hair. Cold, dry temperatures outside plus warm, dry air inside add up to arid conditions that are perfect for causing hair static.
According to scientists, electrostatic exchanges between objects happen when the humidity is 30% or lower. For most of us, that’s on cold, dry wintry days.
What hair types get static electricity?
Although all hair types are susceptible to static, finer hair is more at risk because of its lighter weight. All those baby-fine hairs are the first to levitate up and away from your head when you pull off a hat.
Damaged, dry hair also picks up more positive charge because it lacks the moisture to repel electric charges. So if your hair is dehydrated, it’s bound to suffer from static fly-aways in cold weather.
What’s the difference between static hair and frizz?
Static hair can look a lot like frizzy hair because the strands are unruly, wild, out of control and won’t stay smooth. But the physical composition of frizzy hair is actually very different. Frizzy hair has a raised outer cuticle layer that keeps strands from aligning in a sleek, smooth way. Electrically-charged static hair can happen to any hair type, whether the cuticle layer is flat and tight, or lifted up.
The good news? There’s one important similarity between frustrating frizz and shocking static. And that is: the products and hair hacks to stop frizzy hair in hot, humid weather can also help you stop static hair in cold, dry winter. In fact, the key to taming wild, fly-away hair that misbehaves in winter...or anytime of year.... comes down to learning how to keep hair properly hydrated.
How to stop static hair: tips & hacks
From the condition of your hair to what you wear, there are lots of simple tricks to prevent static hair and fly-aways. Let’s start with the essential products to stop hair static and how to weave them into an easy winter hair care regime that static-proofs your hair.
1. Shampoo less often
When you go longer between shampoos, it lets your natural hair oils do their job of naturally hydrating hair plus it’s less wear and tear on your hair.
The best way to extend time between washes is to use a safe, sulphate-free shampoo formula that rinses completely clean, leaves no residues, and delivers the freshest hair and scalp possible. The best shampoo for static is our Color Security Shampoo.
Now, you may run across advice to use a conditioning shampoo to prevent hair static. But for us at Color Wow that’s a major no-no! Clinical studies show that “moisturising shampoos” formulated with conditioning agents do not rinse out, leaving ingredients behind in your hair AND also on your scalp, which can cause irritation and hair loss.2. Never skip conditioner
Yep, AFTER you shampoo is the right time to apply conditioner. And not on your scalp, but along the lengths of strands to the ends where hair is driest.
Conditioners actually work on your hair like fabric softeners work in your laundry dryer to stop static cling. They lubricate strands which means less friction, so less static.
BTW, our Color Wow conditioners also have powerful heat protection too so they’re the first line of defence against harsh blow-dryer heat. Find the best conditioner for your hair type with our guide.
3. Wrap hair in a cotton t-shirt
You can use a t-shirt to wick away moisture after shampooing. Why? Because rubbing your hair with a nubby, terry-cloth towel will rev up electricity. So go low maintenance and let a wrap help dry your hair. You’ll see reduced static (and less frizz, too!)
4. Use a weekly deep conditioning treatment to defend against static charges.
To prevent static hair in winter, celeb stylist Chris Appleton recommends a 3-5 minute deep hydrating treatment with Money Masque.
Its super-rich formula includes Sea Kelp and Algae which go deep into hair, then help attract and retain moisture.
5. Add a leave-in hydrating formula to your winter hair care routine
Recommended for all hair types, but essential for dry, dehydrated hair: if you want to stop static hair in winter, it's critical to load hair strands with all the moisture they can hold.
Coconut-Infused Dream Cocktail is the ideal leave-in quencher for parched, thirsty hair PLUS it delivers powerful thermal protection. Comb a quarter-sized amount through wet hair and see a massive difference in your blow-dry results!
6. Speed up blow-drying to help prevent dehydrating hair
Want to get to the blow-dry finish line faster? (Who doesn’t??) Color Wow’s Speed Dry cuts blow-dry time by 30% - without using alcohol!
Which means less friction, less dehydration, and that’s a total win-win for less static in hair during winter.
For more tips on how to blow dry hair faster, visit our guide.
7. Invest in an ionic hair dryer
Wet hair is a concentrated mass of positive energy (water has a positive charge). Conventional blow-dryers can add to that charge and make hair staticky. But ionic dryers (known as anti-static hair dryers) are engineered to emit negative ions that help neutralise this charge and deliver smoother, frizz-free and static-resistant results.
8. Hydrate, smooth strands + neutralise static on-the-go with a hair moisturising cream
So you pull off your hat at a party, and your hair goes airborne and berserk. How to calm that flyaway fright-wig? One Minute Transformation! Gone viral on TikTok, this anti-frizz fix is ideal for smoothing static hair in winter anywhere you go.
Instantly absorbed, non-greasy cream features avocado oil (full of essential fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants) which nourishes hair with moisture and helps smooth hair’s cuticle. No frizz, no fuzz, no fly-ways...no kidding!
9. Never brush your hair without first applying hair spray to the brush
Celeb stylist Chris Appleton’s favourite hair hack for calming and controlling baby fines is a genius tip for winter static hair.
The key is to use a totally flexible, brush-able hairspray like Cult Favorite that doesn’t darken hair colour or leave hair stiff and sticky.
10. Cut back on heat styling + ALWAYS use a heat protectant
Hot tools drain moisture out of your hair like it’s their job. So think about heat-free ways to style your hair. And if you use irons, wands, hot rollers etc. ALWAYS safeguard your strands with a product that includes thermal protection. (Did you know? with Color Wow products there’s no need to add a dedicated “thermal protectant” product to your routine because all our stylers and treatments have heat protection built in.
11. Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Cotton pillowcases can rob hair of moisture AND create friction. You’ll sleep better on a silky pillow surface that’s got more “slip” knowing your hair So silky surfaces with slip, which are recommended as anti-frizz solutions too, are the way to go to get rid of static hair.
12. Trade your knitted hats and bulky scarves for friction-free silk accessories
So cute on, NOT so cute when we take them off! Unfortunately, rough knitted surfaces, whether wool or synthetic, cause friction that loads up hair strands with static electricity. Fortunately, some clued-in hat-makers are coming to the rescue with cute caps and beanies, lined with silk or satin.
13. Regulate the atmosphere
Wrestling with chronic hair static in your house? Your hair might be telling you something. Namely that the air quality around you is super dry. Your skin, your sinuses, your housemates, your pets and of course your hair will all benefit from running a humidifier from time to time.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO FIGHT FRIZZ ON OUR BLOG