10/02/2014 04:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tips for Fabulous Fall Hair

Depending on what part of the country you live in, Fall can be a blessing offering cooler temperatures, or problematic with a lot of rain. I travel a lot, so I experience a mix of weather and need to plan in advance for what hair challenges I'll face when getting to my destination.

We always want to look our best, but sometime we (ie. Me) need advice from an expert. This time I decided to call hair care aficionado, Van Thomas to help me put away the ponytail!

Van Thomas - Photo Courtesy of Thor Swift

Van, why does our hair take on a life of it's own this time of year?

Weather and environmental conditions play such an important role in how we should prepare our hair- from how often we wash it to what styling products we can apply or how strong those products should be.

As most of us know, cooler temperatures actually have a less adverse affect on the hair and scalp than hotter climates. Cooler, dry temperatures SLIGHTLY helps you maintain a "closed" cuticle resulting in shinier, smoother hair. Higher temperatures can cause you to perspire which results in hairstyles falling and losing shape.

But when there is rain or a lot of humidity in the air, there can also be a lot of frizz. It used to be common to style your hair (and "fix" frizz) with a large amount of hairspray to keep it in place. But anyone that has tried this in a rainy climate knows very quickly that this is not a great solution. Fortunately, today's styling products have come a long way- root lifts, pomades and mousses can easily get you through the gloomy weather days. They can also be touched up with damp fingertips.

Depending on your particular hairstyle, your choice of styling products and their holding power have a big bearing on how it handles humid conditions. In particular, if you have wavy or curly hair and straighten it using a blow dryer, flat iron, etc., when the hair gets damp it will revert back to it's original state and the straight hair will again become wavy. I feel it best on those days to style your hair using your natural wave or curl rather than straightening. Still use a styling product to smooth down and protect the hair, but some days it is best to work with mother nature and not fight it.

Keep in mind that besides being able to maintain a style and shape, all of your styling products should contain ingredients that protect the hair from UV damage, styling tools and environmental conditions. Also, it is best to use products that moisturize the hair as well as conditions the scalp. For the scalp, products that contain oils (Jojoba, Argan and even olive oil) will help remove flakes and conditions the scalp.

We find ourselves turning up the heat in the cooler months. This can dry out hair follicles and also creates static and fly-away hair. Beyond wearing a cute beret, what can we do to tame our tresses and keep them healthy?

Turning on the heat in your home and office has a very drying affect on both your hair AND scalp.

For your hair, use a gentle, sulfate free shampoo as well as conditioners that specify "moisturizing" to help with overall dryness. Styling products (which vary in holding power) can then be used to smooth down the cuticle, protect the hair from UV rays and styling tool damage. Because they smooth the cuticle, they also help prevent frizz and fly-aways. If fly-aways are a big problem for you, spray your brush lightly with hairspray then do a final brush-through.

If your area isn't cool yet, but the leaves are falling and the sky is pouring, your challenge is humidity and frizz. That's never pretty. Beyond carrying an umbrella, how do we fight the frizz?

"Frizz" is just another name for roughed up hair cuticles. The cuticle is the outermost part of your hair and can be easily damaged by factors such as heating tools, general wear and tear, and UV rays. The reason that people with damaged, dry hair notice that their hair appears more "frizzy" when it's humid outside, is because dry or porous hair soaks up the excess water in the air. This makes your hair swell like a sponge, causing the already broken cuticle to open up even more and increases the appearance of frizz. (That is why hair that is already well moisturized will not see as much change in humid conditions.)

For me, styling products are the best way to fight frizz. Every person with hair more than an inch long should use one. They are normally applied to damp hair after shampooing and conditioning and left in the hair. These products address a variety of issues such as UV protection, styling tool protection, but most of all help smooth the cuticle resulting in frizz reduction. As a bit of extra help, most of them also create body, volume and shine and help hold the shape of the hairstyle.

Should you wash your hair more or less times a week during the Fall season?

I am frequently asked, "How often should I wash my hair". The answer is very simple no matter the season, I tell my clients to wash their hair whenever they think it is dirty. This will vary for everyone- based on your physical activity level and environmental conditions. There are many people that wash their hair daily, some every other day and some once a week. It is really just dependent on the individual. My only recommendation is to ALWAYS use quality hair care products. These will help prevent drying of your hair and scalp.

Thanks for the tips!
Follow Van Thomas on Twitter @ChristineByVTC

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