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The cold winter air often wreaks havoc on our skin, and your scalp is no exception. Regardless of your hair type, you may find that your scalp becomes dry, itchy, and flaky as the seasons change. Over time, dry scalp can lead to soreness and even hair loss.

Dry scalp is different from dandruff and other scalp conditions. Dry scalp is caused by a loss of moisture, and it’s characterized by white, loose, powdery flakes. Dandruff, on the other hand, results in more yellowish flakes that cling to the scalp.

Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves with dry scalp in the winter, when the air strips our skin of moisture every time we step outside. That’s OK – you just need to switch up your hair routine with the seasons.

Here’s how to bring back the healthy scalp you know and love.

1. Wash your hair less often. Shampooing your hair strips it of its natural oils, especially if you use a shampoo with sulfates. If you need to wash your hair daily, switch to a sulfate-free shampoo, a co-wash, or gentle cleanser. If possible, it’s great to wash your hair 2-3 times a week rather than daily. This allows your scalp to produce a balanced amount of oil.

2. Regular hair masks. Masks aren’t just for your face! Hair masks are excellent for minimizing flakes and dryness. Look for a mask that delivers intense hydration, and make sure to massage it into your scalp as well as your hair. You can also apply heat for more penetrating moisture.

3. Drink more water. Moisturize your skin from the inside out by drinking more water. The more hydrated that you are, the more hydrated that your skin will be, which is especially important in winter.

4. Condition properly. Always condition your hair after you shampoo – no exceptions! Also, don’t skimp on the conditioner. Your scalp needs conditioner, too, not just your hair. Massage the conditioner generously into your skin before rinsing.

5. Use oils wisely. Oil treatments can do wonders for a dry scalp, but over-using oils will do more harm than good. Try massaging olive oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil into your scalp before you shampoo. This prevents the shampoo from totally stripping your scalp of moisture, while also not leaving too much oil on the skin.

6. Relieve itchiness. When you’re experiencing extreme dryness, it’s hard to resist the urge to scratch. Reduce itchiness and inflammation with natural ingredients like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, chamomile, and peppermint. Apple cider vinegar is another excellent option – it removes build-up and relieves itchiness while balancing your scalp’s pH and moisture level.

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5 Easy Steps to Change Your Hairdo For Fall

As the weather changes, it only makes sense to change your style with it. The fastest route to a completely revamped look? A new hairdo! Changing your cut or color will immediately make you feel like a brand new woman.

Autumn presents the perfect opportunity to finally try that new style you’ve been thinking about. There are just a few things to keep in mind so that you’re happy with the results.

Use the fall palette

This isn’t necessarily the right time to go with shimmery highlights—save that for next spring or summer. Instead, stick with rich or ashy browns and warm blondes. Caramel, golden, burgundy, chocolate and mahogany are all great shades for this season. This is also a lovely time to take the leap and go red. If you want something a little more “out there,” try an icy platinum, gray, cherry or purple.

Consider the chill

There’s nothing quite as thrilling as a drastic new haircut. However, it’s already starting to get cold outside. The shorter your hair, the more protection you’ll need to wear to protect yourself from the chill. It might be worth waiting for warmer weather to go for a pixie cut, although on the other hand, a short cut also presents a great reason to invest in some awesome hats. If you’d like to radically change your haircut without losing too much hair, try a short bob, bangs or layers.

Don’t cheap out—go to a pro

Some people are quite adept at cutting their own hair. If that’s you, more power to you! Dying your hair, though, is a different story. Going to a professional is almost always a better idea than attempting to dye your hair at home, and this is particularly true if you’re lightening your hair. Bleaching at home is simply a risky proposition.

Know what you want

It’s best to have an actual photo handy so that you can show the stylist the exact look you’re hoping to imitate. If they start going rogue during the middle of your appointment, don’t be afraid to speak up! You don’t need to worry about hurting your hairdresser’s feelings. They’re there to perform a service for you, after all, and you’ll save yourself both time and money by speaking up when it counts.

Take care of your new locks

Once you have the fall hairdo of your dreams, it’s important to maintain it properly. Some hair colors benefit from using special shampoo or conditioner. If you’ve bleached your hair, a protein treatment and regular masks will get it back to its previous health. Most haircuts need to be maintained once a month to every few months.

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