If You Absolutely *Must* Go Outside With Wet Hair This Winter, This ‘Puffer Jacket for Your Strands’ Serum Should Be a Non-Negotiable To Avoid Breakage

Photo: Stocksy / Asya Molochkova
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Going outside with wet hair is a pretty big no-no, especially in the winter. No, it's not because you'll get a cold (that's just a myth). The real reason is that your hair is more vulnerable when it's wet, and exposing it to cold air can be highly damaging.

"Water molecules in the hair can expand, or even solidify if it's below freezing, which causes the hair shaft to swell, making it prone to breakage," says Anwar Zahar, principal lab technician for Aveda. But we get it—life happens, and you can't always blow dry your hair before heading out. On those days, you'll want to reach for the Iles Formula Haute Performance Finishing Serum ($52).

"Extreme cold can be even more damaging than the hot sun to unprotected hair as wet hair can freeze and break," says Wendy Iles, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Iles Formula Haircare. "The Iles Formula Finishing Serum protects hair from both heat styling and extreme cold. It also keeps frizz and static at bay, which is common in colder, drier climates."

The serum works by coating your strands with strengthening and protective ingredients. Ceramides and macadamia nut oil keep strands fortified to prevent breakage, while tucuma seed butter offers antioxidant protection from environmental stressors. In addition to the breakage cold air causes, it can also be super drying, and the Iles Formula Finishing Serum will deliver some much-needed hydration to your strands. It's made with vitamin B5, which delivers moisture deep into your strands, and panthenol, which locks that moisture in. The serum can be used on wet hair (as a protective measure) or on dry hair (for a little extra oomph).

Not only is the serum great for the health of your hair, but it'll also make it look damn good. Well+Good's senior beauty editor Zoë Weiner recently added it into her routine, and notes that her typically dull, frizzy hair "has never looked so smooth, straight, and shiny." That's thanks to silk extract, which according to the brand delivers "unparalleled luster," plus the aforementioned macadamia nut oil, which helps cut down on frizz.

One other thing worth knowing before heading out into the elements with soaked strands: The less wet your hair is, the better, so try to get it as dry as possible to lower your risk of damage (yes, even if you're using the serum). Wring it out with a microfiber towel, or blast it with a blow dryer for a minute or two. "Diffusing your strands on low heat and speed, even if it’s just for a few minutes, will help prevent your strands from completely drying in the colder weather, which is what leads to dryness," says Irinel de León, another Mane Addicts stylist. The good news is that the Iles serum protects your strands from heat, too, so slick it through your hair and you'll be good for both your blow dry and the blustery weather outside.

All in all, this serum is like a puffer jacket for your strands. So the next time you're in a time crunch and have to brave the cold with damp hair, consider it your secret weapon.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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