I've learnt the hard way that, come autumn, blitzing my hair with a hairdryer, then smoothing through some hair oil, will never be a recipe for smooth, weather-proof hair. That said, I've done a bit of investigating and found some foolproof products that will restore dry, autumn-ravaged hair. Here's what you need.
AN ANSwer to Weather-INDUCED frizz
Frizz is caused by a lack of moisture in your hair (inevitable in the winter months, when hair is subject to drying central heating, cold temperatures and wind). And often the heat from your hairdryer only exacerbates the issue by drying out your hair even more. The answer is a moisture-rich treatment to smooth follicles down, making your hair look sleek and shiny. The Pool's Jo Morrell (a self-confessed frizz sufferer) rates Evo's Lockdown for its ability to calm frazzled hair. Run a 2p-sized blob through damp hair from mid-lengths to ends, then leave it to air-dry (or blow-dry, if you need) to see off frizz.
A waterproofing spray
Once you've smoothed your hair, you'll need to waterproof it, as rain and moisture will undo any styling. ColorWow's genius new Dream Coat creates a matrix that, when heated, connects to wrap around each hair strand, forming an "invisible waterproofing cloak" that claims to repel water. I'm not sure how much of this is marketing spiel, but I applied it to damp hair, then blow-dried as usual, and can confirm that I enjoyed supremely sleek hair (even after a steamy Tube journey) that lasted until my next wash.
Tip: if you are going to use your hairdryer, choose a lower heat setting and use the concentrator nozzle to direct the air flow down the hair shaft to keep it smooth.
A COMBATant of CENTRAL-HEATING-INDUCED SNAPpage
Slow growth is a year-round affliction, but particularly pertinent in autumn, when weather-zapped hair breaks and splits more regularly. If you find that your hair isn't growing past a certain length, it may be because it's snapping. Hair is most prone to snapping when it's wet, due to the added weight of the water. Philip Kingsley's Elasticizer is a classic for good reason – the nourishing combination of olive oil, castor oil and elastin gives hair that much-needed elasticity to prevent it from stretching and breaking when wet. It also keeps it nourished so that, when it's dry, it doesn't become brittle and snap. Apply it to damp hair 15 minutes before your shower (or leave it in overnight), then wash it out before you shampoo.
Tip: "I always tell people struggling to grow their hair to take pre-natal vitamins such as A, E and D," says hair expert Dean Banowetz. If they provide enough nutrients to help grow a baby, they will certainly help nourish your hair.
A detoxifying SCALP SCRUB
The truth is, there is nothing that will magically add extra inches to your hair overnight, except extensions (so be careful of anything that claims to). However, there are things you can do to a) encourage growth and b) prevent breakage. Scalp scrubs are currently doing the rounds of the beauty industry. Prompted by the success of Christophe Robin's Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, £39, there are now numerous affordable spin-offs. Massaging your scalp with a gritty scrub will (aside from feeling very satisfying) help buff away dry, flakiness and shift any product build-up clogging up your hair shafts, making way for shiny new growth. Lee Stafford has a Hair Growth Scalp Scrub for £8.99 that you could add to your routine once a week (as well as a great gritty shampoo). I've been trying Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo, £15.65, which, as its name suggests, both exfoliates and cleanses your scalp each wash. It adds some serious volume, too.
Tip: Session stylist Neil Moodie recommends giving your hair a brush every day; this will stimulate growth and make way for new hairs to grow. We love Aveda's Wooden Paddle Brush, £22
A windswept-hair hydrator
If you can't be faffed with hair masks the rest of the year, now's the time to carve out half an hour a week for a quick treatment. My go-to is Hask, a Hollywood hair brand (loved by A-listers) that's just landed in the UK and costs less than a tenner. Free from sulphates, parabens, phthalates and gluten, and formulated with high-quality ingredients, the range is very gentle on your hair, suitable for all hair types and smells glorious. The masks cost £2.49 and are especially luxurious, particularly the Argan mask (good for damaged hair), the Kalahari mask for coloured hair and the conditioning Coconut mask. You can use them on wet or dry hair; simply apply through the lengths of your hair, focusing on dry ends. Then tie your hair out the way and leave to soak in for as long as possible before washing out.
Also brilliant (and speedy) are Hask's hot oil treatments, £2.49. Pop the tube in a cup of hot water to warm through, apply to mid-lengths and ends and leave for five minutes, then rinse away and follow with your normal haircare routine.