The groundhog is still fast asleep, and it’s only getting colder out there. As the winter gears up, you may notice more and more disarray in your usually well-ordered coiffure. It’s the affliction known as hat hair, currently ravaging scalps across this great land of ours.

We couldn’t just sit back and let the widespread mussing go unchallenged, so we’ve consulted the experts and developed five steps to keep your ’do intact under even the most stifling of hats. Ladies and gentlemen, your guide to defending against hat hair…

Our five tips for beating hat hair:

Dry the Hair
If your hair dries underneath the hat, it will lock in that position. An extra five minutes in the morning can make all the difference later on, so remember: there’s no shame in the towel and the blow dryer.

Select the Product
Avoid using strong molding pastes and gels, since they will make things almost impossible to fix once you remove the hat at your final destination. Instead, go with a leave-in conditioner (a quarter-sized dab) and be sure to get it everywhere on your scalp. Then finger-comb a small amount of hand sanitizer through the top half of your hair—the alcohol actually helps add volume.

Eliminate the Static
You’re going to want to eliminate static, particularly if you have longer hair. Run a sheet of fabric softener through your hair and slip an extra couple sheets in your back pocket for later. Coarse wool is your worst enemy when it comes to static, so choose a cotton or cashmere alternative if you’re generating too much electricity.

Pick the Hat
You don’t want to constrict the hair in any way, so pick a hat that will let things breathe a bit. Especially avoid hats that push down on the front of your head, unless you want to look like you just came back from Little League practice.

Employ the Fix
Unlike warm-weather varietals, wearing the winter hat all day is not an option. You’re going to have to take it off eventually. So take it off as much as possible. Every 10 minutes or so. Run a few fingers through. When you get to wherever you plan to be for a while, moisten a towel with hot tap water (as hot as you can stand) and wrap your entire head with the towel. This will “iron out” any lines and allow you to style on the fly.

The other option, of course, is to not wear a hat at all.

—C.B.S.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • C. Brian Smith