How to Repair Your Winter Hair Before Even Getting in the Shower

Hair Oils
Photo: Courtesy, Time Inc. Digital Studio

Hair oil works wonders at restoring moisture and shine to winter-beaten strands after a hot shower, but the nourishing qualities aren't restricted to your post-shampoo regime. In what could be a throwback move to the days we used to spend waiting for that tiny bottle of VO5 to heat up, the dry weather and below-average temps as of late have us repurposing the styling agent as a pre-shower treatment, and our layers are loving the results.

The method of using an oil as a treatment is nothing new, but the wide variety of nourishing formulas on the market allow just about every hair issue under the sun to be addressed. While Kerastase's Elixir Ultime ($56; and the MarulaOil Rare Oil Treatment ($40; for locations) are one-size-fits-all versions, curly girls in particular will love Ken Paves's You Are Beautiful Nourish & Shine Serum ($14; which leaves water out of the mix to allow the product to penetrate deeper in the hair shaft, and is more gentle on your skin and hair with its natural ingredients.

For color-treated hair or strands in need of serious repair, we recommend the Matrix Biolage Strengthening Treatment ($22; for some extreme TLC. Before getting in the shower, coat your hair from root to tip in the product, paying extra attention to the scalp area if dry skin is also a concern. Then, tie your length into a topknot, and allow the product to work its restorative magic for 10 to 15 minutes, or longer if necessary.

Once you're ready to hop in the shower and remove the oil, ensure you get rid of any residue by using a tip we picked up backstage at Altuzarrarsquo;s New York Fashion Week show from lead hairstylist Odille Gilbert.

"Don't start by putting water on the hair---the way to get rid of it is to apply a layer of shampoo first," advised the pro, who used Moroccanoil's Clarifying Shampoo ($26; on models coming straight from Alexander Wang's show with oil-based products soaked in their strands. "The shampoo will take all of the oil out, then you can rinse with water."

After lathering up, you'll be left with a healthy shine combined with a flake-free scalp, and you may find yourself using less styling products, if any at all, thanks to the intense hydrating abilities. No time to let the oil soak beforehand? Try mixing a few drops with your favorite deep conditioner for an express version of the treatment.

PHOTOS: The Best Deep Conditioners to Undo Winter Dryness

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