All too often, I have sat down in my hairdresser’s chair in March or April after the winter training season only to have him cluck and tell me I have to say goodbye to a few good inches of dried ends.
Well, not again – it’s not too late to prevent damage to hair and skin by the wind, snow, rain and cold, dry air.
- Start with your diet: Eat plenty of healthy fats like nuts, fish, and avocados, and drink plenty of water, to keep your hair and skin healthy and hydrated from the inside out. Get lots of fresh produce in your diet to get all the vitamins your body needs to keep your hair and skin healthy, and consider taking Vitamin C and Biotin supplements if you feel you need a bit of extra support.
- Oil is your friend: If you have dry or combination skin, protect it when you go for a run by coating your face with a fine layer of oil – coconut oil is a good one – so you don’t lose moisture to the cold dry air. If you hair tends towards dry ends, it can also be helpful to apply a bit of oil to the ends of your hair before you go out for the same reason.
- Cover up: Weather-permitting, wear a hat, gloves, and long sleeves to protect your skin and hair from coming into direct contact with the elements.
- Post-run care: When you come back, make sure to moisturize all over – including face and hands – immediately after you shower.
- Pamper yourself: Do a hydrating skin and hair mask once a week – this can be store-bought or homemade (e.g. avocado and coconut oil works well) – to stop any potential damage in its tracks.
- Daily upkeep: Be vigilant about your daily moisturizing routine for your skin, and remember the rules for maintaining healthy hair – don’t wash it in water that’s too hot, don’t shampoo too frequently, and use a protecting product if you blow-dry or straighten your hair regularly.
- Don’t hide from your stylist: Maintain regular hair trims throughout the winter months so you prevent split ends from causing too much damage (and don’t end up having to cut off a large chunk of hair come spring).
It can be a pain to maintain healthy skin and hair as a winter runner, but a little bit of thought and protection pre- and post- run will really go a long way, and you will thank yourself when you no longer have to worry about damage control.
Written by Varia Makagonova.