Snow, fairy landscapes and magical legends. Christmas and winter are also this. Like the legend of Hulda, the water spirit who, in the woods of Norway, runs, laughs and swims among lakes and streams. You must know that a long time ago, during the Christmas period, when everything was silent and frozen under layers of ice, a fisherman remembered that creature of fairy-tale beauty, with long golden hair and a flowing dress, with a crystalline laugh who remembered the bubbling of the water, and had thought of bringing her a gift, a cake prepared at home. Hulda, in those cold months, spent most of her time under the ice, swimming in the great lake. The fisherman arrived on the frozen lake and thought of digging a big hole to be able to offer the cake to Hulda. But the ice was thick and hard and the fisherman, no matter how hard he tried, after hours of work had only made a tiny hole in the ice. But, with a magic, a very small hand came out of that little hole, Hulda's hand, which grabbed the cake that made itself very small and passed through the crack in the ice. Since that day, in Norway, the tradition has been to prepare small sweets during the Christmas period, to be able to offer them to Hulda, the spirit of water. Here is a legend that comes directly from cold and frozen lands and, now, if you happen to feel an icy wind whipping your face as you leave the house, try closing your eyes and thinking that Hulda probably just passed by you between crystal clouds! Unfortunately, however, the cold does not only bring fairy tales and snow-covered trees. In fact, low temperatures can be unpleasant for our hair. So let's try to understand the reason and what we can do to strengthen our hair and go back to dreaming even in winter!
What happens to hair in winter
During the winter, our hair is subjected to various stressful factors. The first is pollution, which increases in winter and is deposited on the hair and scalp causing irritation, dull hair and increased sebum production, resulting in oilier scalp (Galliano et al, Int J Cosmet Sci, 2017). Then, the cold causes the blood vessels to narrow, making it difficult for the microcirculation in the scalp. As a consequence, the hair is not nourished effectively and tends to break, to form split ends, to become dull and to fall out more easily (Murphrey et al, StatPearls, 2022).
Winter masks for strong and healthy hair
An aid for hair care in winter comes from clay. Oh yes, in fact clay helps to stimulate the microcirculation of the scalp and to remove dirt, sebum and pollution (Williams et al, Int Geol Rev, 2010). Not only that, clay calms dermatitis and makes hair softer and healthier, also stimulating its growth (Moosavi et al, Iran J Public Health., 2017). In a bowl, mix a cup of clay and as much water as needed to obtain a creamy, fluid but not too liquid mixture. For shiny and silky hair you can add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, which, thanks to the acetic acid, helps to remove all forms of impurities on the scalp and hair shaft (Rizg et al, Pharmaceutics, 2021), if instead your problem is dandruff you can add 3-4 drops of tea tree essential oil (Satchell et al, J Am Acad Dermatol, 2022), while in case of hair that tends to fall out you can use 4-5 drops of lavender essential oil (Lee et al, Toxicol Res, 2016). Apply the mixture on the head, taking care to distribute it on the scalp and hair from roots to ends. Leave on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse and continue with your shampoo. The mask should be done once or at most twice a month, so as not to overdo the sebum-absorbing action of the clay and not leave the hair too dry. Instead, if your hair is particularly dry and brittle, you can apply a few drops of argan oil to your hair. Pour two drops of oil onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then pass them through the hair divided into strands. Argan oil helps maintain hair hydration, plus it is also an antioxidant and protects hair from stress factors (Sharifi et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, 2022 - Mysore et al, Int J Trichology, 2022).