As the temperatures continue to drop and winter rolls in, I too roll indoors, spending the majority of my hours cooped up in my one-bedroom apartment. Because it’s a small space, I’ve always found that an air purifier helps me breathe better and because my radiator is going strong 24-7 stripping moisture from the air, I need a humidifier to placate my insanely dry, flaky skin. It turns out that while these two air-quality darlings have long been thought of as skin-care sidekicks, they actually have big benefits for hair as well.
Because hair growth is cyclical, it can easily be disrupted by various factors—hormonal shifts, medications, diseases, and even weather changes—according to Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “Hair has three stages—the anagen stage (when it grows), the catagen stage (when it’s falling out), and the telogen phase (when the follicle is resting),” she explains.
Most hairs are in the anagen phase, which lasts between two and seven years. She explains that during this stage, if strands aren’t healthy, hair growth could be affected in both the short and long term. The good news? By winterizing your home with an air purifier and a humidifier, you can help to fortify your strands, which in turn, she explains, will make them look and feel healthier than ever.
Read on to hear why experts say you can get gorgeous, healthy hair all winter long.
Why it’s important to clear the air at home
Whether your space is big or small, come winter, the air can feel a bit stale. Between the super drying indoor heat pumping out of the radiator and the lack of air circulation that results from being unable to freely open windows, I can’t help but feel like the air is legitimately dirty and full of things.
I’m not wrong: Dr. Engleman says investing in an air purifier—which, yes, can run several hundred bucks—is well worth the investment. “Air purifiers help to remove allergens, pollution, dust, and dirt that may be present in the air,” she says. “These chemicals can dry out the hair and irritate the scalp.” (Eek.)
“Air purifiers help to remove allergens, pollution, dust, and dirt that may be present in the air. These chemicals can dry out the hair and irritate the scalp.”
And even your hairstylist will agree that a purifier is a must come winter. According to Liana Zingarino, a NYC-based hairstylist at the celeb-beloved Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon, “air pollution could harm your hair, causing the outer layer to become drier, making the ends more brittle, and your scalp more oily.” In short: If the air isn’t clear, you might be bringing on conditions that could add up to the worst hair day ever.
Air Purifiers to Cleanse Your Environment
Control your climate with an air humidifier
Just hearing the word, “humidity,” can send your strands into SOS mode, but the truth is, a little bit of controlled humidity can do your hair good. “During the winter, the hair cuticle tends to dry out from the indoor heat,” explains Zingarino. “Humidifiers keep moisture in the air, which both the scalp and hair love.” She suggests applying an overnight hair mask while you sleep with a humidifier going, for the ultimate one-two healthy hair punch.
“A humidifier can help hair retain its natural moisture instead of it being pulled [from the strands] into the environment.
Dr. Engelman agrees that a humidifier can help bring on healthy hair. “A humidifier can help hair retain its natural moisture instead of it being pulled [from the strands] into the environment,” she says. What’s more? She explains that extra moisture in the air won’t just benefit the strands, but will also help your scalp to maintain the optimal level of moisture.
If you don’t feel like going out and buying a whole new machine for your home (which is entirely understandable) Dr. Engleman says to hack your shower for similar results. “Make your bathroom steamy and apply a leave-in conditioner,” she says, then set up shop in there and relax to get humidifier-like results on a DIY budget.
Humidifiers to Zap Dryness
Get your hair in the best shape of its life by using this deep-conditioning trick and try this tip on how to prevent breakage from your hair ties.