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5 Quick & Easy Winter Hairstyles

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When you roll out of bed, tap your weather app and see that the current temperature is a single digit, it’s hard to get pumped up about a cute winter hairstyle. Agreed—on a freezing cold winter day it’s probably more important to stave off frostbite than worry about executing a perfect ‘do. But neglecting your winter hairstyle entirely could be a mistake. This is the time of year when dry air, static-inducing hats and punishing weather can lead to locks that appear flat, frizzy and well, frankly, kind of schlump-y.

Happily, it’s easier than you think to endure the frigid months and transform your winter hairstyle from blah to bam.

First, here are three important winter hairstyle tips to consider, no matter how you do your hair, from the pros at Matrix.

  • Quench! Outdoors at this time of year, humidity is nonexistent. Inside, your heated air is as arid as the Sahara. The result? Bone-dry hair that becomes limp and lifeless. The solution? Be sure you’re moisturizing like mad—drenching your hair in rich, hydrating shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins and styling creams and oils. Another winter must? Weekly deep conditioning masques that infuse thirsty strands with big boosts of essential moisture.
  • Polish! If you can keep your hair looking lustrous through the cold, shine-sucking, cold weather months, you’re way ahead of the winter hairstyle hair game. To keep your strands polished and perky, head to the salon for regular trims to avoid frayed ends and for glossing treatments that will add moisture and seal in shine.  At home, incorporate shine-enhancing serums, glosses and treatment oils into your styling routine to do away with the winter dulls.
  • Brighten! If you live in an area where winter hits hard, it’s likely you will go many days each week without seeing much sunlight. And when the sun does shine, it’s a much weaker version of its robust summer self. Without light, your hair has nothing to reflect, which means it may appear darker and duller than normal. Hair color to the rescue! Talk to your stylist about lightening up your hue a shade or two or adding some highlights. Another way to fool the darkness is to incorporate some warmer tones in your color—golden and copper shades are more reflective and therefore appear lighter than cool or ash shades.  

Ok, ready to rock the cold weather with massive style? Here are five quick and easy winter hairstyles that will do the job.

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Knotted Ponytail

Ponytails are easy, but it’s worth putting in the extra effort to upgrade your pony from plain to something special. Keep it low and you can pop your hat on and off with minimal disruption to your style. Leave a few soft tendrils to frame your face and add some bouncy texture if your hair is naturally straight—this will elevate your ponytail from the version you sport at the gym.

Do this:

Separate your hair in half and tie both sides into a simple knot. Repeat. Then use bobby pins to secure the knots to your head at the nape. Loosen the top with your fingers and tease the tail for more fullness. Don’t fuss too much—the more disheveled the better!

Fairytale Hair

Soft winter textures—cashmere, angora, fleece—call for softly textured winter hairstyles. Sweep your hair into a loosely waved, “half-and-half” incorporating a waterfall braid to contain the top section.

Do this:

Mist dry, textured hair with a flexible styling hairspray. Create a side part. On the heavy side of the part, create a section just behind the front section that frames your face. Divide the section in three and do one rotation of a standard, three-strand braid. Then pick up some new hair to add to the top section, drop out the bottom section and replace it with the new hair. Continue braiding this way until you reach the center of your head and secure the braid. Shift to the “light” side of the part, create a new section at the hairline and repeat the waterfall braid technique. Braid until you reach the center, and secure it into the previous braid. Carefully stretch out the sides of both braids to create a loose, slightly disheveled effect.

Slicked Back

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After many seasons of waves and curls, cleanly slicked back hairstyles are making a comeback. And nothing could be simpler for winter weather. Keep it edgy and sleek, and be sure to incorporate plenty of volume!

Do this:

Apply styling mousse throughout the top section of damp hair. Wait until your hair is about 80 percent dry, then blow dry with a vent brush, lifting it straight up at the roots to create volume and smoothing the ends. Direct everything straight back. Once your hair is completely dry, smooth it back with a paddle brush and push up the crown for more volume. Then mist the brush with some firm-hold hairspray and gently brush through to keep the sides in place and the entire style directed back.

Undone Bun

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Granted there’s an “I woke up like this” vibe to this look, but it actually requires a little bit of effort to make it pretty. This style works best with “day old” hair, but  if your strands are freshly shampooed or super silky, you can get the same effect by hitting the roots with dry shampoo and spraying the lengths with more dry shampoo or a texturizing hairspray.

Do this:

Create a u-shaped section that extends from each temple in front, lift it up and tease the roots so you have body and lift around your face. Pull all your hair up into a high ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic. Lift the ponytail straight up and backcomb it like crazy! You can use a teasing brush or a comb or a paddle or oval styling brush, depending on the type of hair you have. Then twist the pony in one direction—clockwise or counterclockwise—around the base of the ponytail, forming a bun. Hide the ends by pinning them under the bun into the base of the tail. Use a few more pins to secure the bun if needed. Then use your fingers to loosen the bun, as well as the front and sides under the bun. Or just put on a hat, go outside, come back in, remove your hat and voila! Messy winter hairstyle bun!

Disheveled Pixie

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Your winter hairstyle #pixiegoals should be all about creating a tousled, casual style that seems effortless with enough volume and movement to be flattering and feminine.

Do this:

When your hair is three-quarters of the way dry, apply a lightweight mousse, then blow it dry completely. Use a fine-tooth comb to comb the back and temple sections into place.

Divide the longest sections on the top and sides into subsections and smooth each subsection with a flat iron. Apply about a quarter size of a flexible molding paste or wax, work it into your hands and squeeze it into the top sections, pushing up at the roots with your fingers. Grab a firm hold, lightweight hairspray. Lift the lengths section by section and hit the roots with the hairspray. Work it in with your fingertips by massaging your scalp as the spray is drying.  Do the final arranging with your fingers, then mist all over with hairspray once more.


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