Our Best Solutions For Taming Hat Hair This Winter

Hat hair. It's one of those timeless winter annoyances. You end up spending hours perfecting your look for that big office party, date, special dinner, or any other big event, but then you need a hat to combat the plummeting winter temperatures. So you throw on some cute headwear and you're looking so hot you could melt the snow. Only, as soon as you get to where you're going and you take the hat off, leaving you with flat, unkempt, and downright messy hair waiting underneath. Awesome.


But why the heck does our hair tend to look bad after wearing a hat? "Hat hair typically flattens your hair and creates a crease or cowlick. This is usually a result of the oils that are on your roots and in that concentrated area, the oils keep your hair matted down even more when you wear a hat," Jana Rago, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Jana Rago Studios, explained to Prose.

But while many of us have thought for years we'd be resigned to hat hair or letting our ears freeze, it doesn't have to be that way. There are a few ways you can beat that pesky hat hair this winter, and we've compiled all the very best tips and tricks to have you looking stylish both in and out of the cold.

Make dry shampoo your new best friend (but not a brush!)

One of the best ways to combat flat, lifeless hair (that, let's be honest, may even be full of sweat under a woolly winter hat) is to give it a blast with some dry shampoo. Many companies sell mini versions of their dry shampoos, which are perfect for keeping in your bag and getting out in these kinds of emergencies. When you take off your hat, give your roots a quick spritz from your dry shampoo spray and your hair will almost be looking as good as new! You can also grab something specific depending on how your hair is after it's been under a hat. For example, if your tresses fall flat, get your hands on a mini dry shampoo with volumizing properties to reinfuse some volume and texture.


But there's something else to remember. We totally get that it's instinct after you take off your hat to brush your hair through, but you're going to want to hold off on pulling a brush through your hair immediately. For many hair types, brushing it after wearing a hat for a while can actually make it go frizzy instead of smoothing it out. And that's pretty difficult to come back from — particularly if you're away from home. Instead, ditch the brush and use your fingers to tame your locks. The no-brush rule applies for both before and after you've applied your dry shampoo.

Or get it damp to remove the hat hair kinks

If dry shampoo just isn't powerful enough to do the job though, there is a more dramatic way to rectify your hat hair. If you're somewhere you can excuse yourself, take off the hat and get your hands on a small towel, put it under the faucet, and soak it in hot water. Then, wring out some of the water (make sure the towel is still damp, just not dripping with water) and place it on your head so it wets your hair. After a couple of minutes, the hot water will take the kink out of your hair that's been caused by the hat. You can then create a new style using your fingers. You can then either let your locks dry naturally for a cute, casual, and undone style or, if you're in a public bathroom with a hand dryer (or somewhere you could borrow a blow-dryer), give it a quick blast to eliminate the damp sections.


However, it's worth noting that this workaround may not be for everyone. If your hair gets instantly frizzy, greasy, or just doesn't really sit the way you want it to when damp or left to dry naturally, you may want to consider one of the other solutions on our list.

Choose an appropriate hairstyle for your headwear

If you're able to, planning ahead can be one of the best ways to tame any hat hair issues. On the days you think you'll be wearing a hat, try styling your hair in a way that won't take a lot of re-doing once you take your headwear off. Hair stylist Dora Berrios explained to StyleCaster that styles with loads of volume are best left for no-hat days, whereas something more sleek is likely to stay intact because the air's natural humidity won't be able to touch it when it's under your hat.


One of the best styles to prevent hat hair? Hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon, admitted to Teen Vogue that wavy hair can work well when you know you'll be placing a hat on your head. "If you have waves from the mid-shaft of the hair to the ends, the crease will just blend in," she explained. Because of that, it'll be easy to run your fingers through your hair to help all that texture blend in. If you plan to wear something a little more fitted in those cold winter months though, like a beanie hat, Saviano recommended a low ponytail. A couple of other solid choices? A side braid or a low bun. In fact, you could even wear a braid while you head to your destination, then take it out when you get there for a curled yet textured style.


Or keep hair accessories in your bag to create a new style

Another way to stop hat hair in its tracks is to give your hair its final style only after you take off your hat. What that is, of course, is up to you, but quick updos or half up, half down 'dos in particular are a good go-to here. The best part? You won't need to carry around tons of hair products in your bag, either!


Keep a hair tie in your bag to quickly put your hair up in a sleek ponytail, or bring a couple of bobby pins with you. That way, you could try a few different looks, such as taking up the sides of your tresses if they're gotten a little unkempt. Another fab idea? Stash a headband (a '90s style headband has been making a big comeback, btw) in your bag to put on after you take off your hat. You can style a headband a number of ways depending on how your locks look, but if you're really struggling with intense hat hair, you could even push it all back with the headband for an instantly chic and easy style.

Choose your hat (and how you wear it) carefully

To really protect yourself from hat hair, pay close attention to what you're wearing. That will make a big difference to how much zhuzhing you have to do when you take it off. Of course, a looser hat will usually keep a hairstyle in check better than something snugger. As Jana Rago explained to Prose, "The tighter the rim of the hat, the worse the crease will be." Something like a fedora or a Panama with a lining will make life easier. "Many hats now have a silk lining on the interior crown to prevent the hat from creating a crease in your hair, similar to when people use silk scrunchies," Rago pointed out.


Not only that, but the way you're wearing your hat should be determined by which parts of your hair you'd most like to avoid. Exactly how you place it on your head will be dependent on a few factors like hairstyle, hat style, and even the shape of your head, but there are a few other things to consider. If you just gave your bangs a fresh, bouncy blow dry, position your hat so it's more tilted on the back of your head — not touching your forehead. If you have a bun to protect, you might want to do the opposite and pull your hat forward so it could potentially stick out the bottom at the back.

Prep your hair before you put on your hat

There are a few things you can try to tame hat hair before you even put on your hat. Firstly, if you know you're going to be rocking some stylish headwear, try washing your locks the day before. As Lizzie Caplan, balayage and creative color specialist, told Prose, day-two hair is more likely to bounce back and have some volume compared to hair you washed that day. "We all know and love that lived-in day two hair, so wash it every two to three days. If you must wash daily, replace every other wash with a cleansing conditioner, as this will remove sweat and product build-up without stripping the scalp of its essential oils," she shared.


Another way to prep your hair? Apply some (you guessed it, because it really can do it all!) dry shampoo before stepping out, while a texturizing spray can also help keep bad hair at bay. "These products help oxidize your hair, and give the roots some volume," explained Jana Rago while speaking to Prose. "The cleaner your hair is, the better so that it can easily bounce back after wearing a hat." Rago recommended staying away from hairspray though, as that can actually give you a deeper kink when you remove your headwear. And, under no circumstances should you put a hat on damp hair. Always make sure your tresses are properly dry, or there'll be kinks galore when you take your hat off.