How To Style Curls Under a Hat and Prevent Dreaded Hat Hair

Hats are a great accessory, especially during the cooler months. They can pull together any outfit, are super comfortable, and work as a great protective barrier against cold fronts. The one drawback they have: the frizzy and snagging aftermath, also known as, hat hair.
Hat hair typically flattens or mats your hair and can create a crease or a bump in any hairstyle. It’s particularly worse for curly hair, that is known to be dry, or wearers who use oil-based products, as the products often concentrate to one section of the hat, causing the hair to further matt.

The good news: although curly hat hair may seem inevitable, especially in the colder months, there are countless ways to avoid it—preventing you from ruling out your favorite hat or beanie. Ahead, discover what exactly hat hair is, how to style curls underneath a hat, chic curly hairstyles that work great with hats, and some trusted tips and tricks to prevent curly hair from becoming dreaded hat hair.

What Is Hat Hair?

Simply put, hat hair is when your hair flattens and causes static, frizz, creasing, and flyaways. You might notice a huge indentation in your hair when the hat is removed, less curl definition, or limp, frizzy strands.

Pre-styling and midday refreshing will help avoid deflation and frizz. When perfecting your natural hair care routine, make sure you select shampoo, conditioner, and style curls with products that aren’t drying. Afterall, static and frizz are caused by a lack of moisture so it’s very important to keep hair hydrated, without weighing hair down. Luckily, there are more than a few styling tips to keep hat hair at bay.

How Do You Protect Your Hair Under A Hat?

Because natural hair's default state is drier than other textures, it’s important to protect natural hair curls and coils from hat-induced breakage. An easy way to do this is tying a silk scarf over hair before putting the hat on—stopping hat hair in general.

If you don’t have a scarf, the very first thing to keep in mind is the material of the hat you’d like to wear. Cashmere, silk, or angora should be what you’re looking for as hats are lined with satin and smoothing material. Other materials will put unnecessary tension on hair and can even dry out your hair.

Now that doesn’t mean you have to avoid all hats without these materials. If you have a favorite hat that isn’t lined with satin or smoothing material, you can set aside time to line them yourself to ensure your hair will retain moisture and experience less friction with hats. If you want to avoid satin-lining, invest in a hair mask before you style curls, for all your moisture needs.

When removing a hat and discovering hat hair, you might be tempted to glide some water through your hair in hopes to smooth your natural hair curls. Although it seems logical, doing so will only leave your roots wilted-looking. It’s important to make sure your hair is completely dry before putting on a hat.

Wearing curly hairstyles wet in cold weather will make the hair molecules expand and create more opportunity for hair to break. Damp hair can also lead to dried matted hair or an irregular curl pattern to form under the hat—often leading to indentation and dandruff in the long run.

If hair is dry and you’ve selected the proper material hat, make sure it is moisturized to keep it smooth-looking. Invest in a good leave-in conditioner or do a weekly hair treatment, a great curly hair product that seals in shine and hydration.

While on the go, keep a travel-size hairspray, dry shampoo, and anti-frizz serum on hand. As a simple fix: fluff hair with dry shampoo and flip upside down, using the hairspray to add volume back to your hair. Quickly tousle roots with fingertips for more enhanced volume.

If your hair length surpasses the hat and you have hair coming out, it’s important to keep your ends sealed to prevent hair drying out from rubbing against sweaters, blazers, and coats. Seal ends with hair oil for weather-proof ends all year long.

How Can I Make My Hair Look Good Under A Hat

The number one thing you can do to ensure curly hairstyles look good under a hat is reducing the static by implementing moisture. If possible, try cutting back on heat tools as they will dry out hair as well and invest in a static control spray or cream like Sacred Tiare 4-in-1 Combing Creme to keep hair from flattening. Sea salt spray or textured spray like Cactus Rose Water Volume Spray, will help oxidize hair and restore volume and bounce to your crown.

For curly hairstyles, a shine or hair oil will help hydrate and smooth hair while in a beanie or hat. Make sure ends are trimmed to prevent hair from snagging to the fabric of the hat. Snagging can lead to breakage over time and can be an easy red flag that it’s time for a trim. Regular trims will ensure healthy hair when you style curls and more manageable hat hair as you can move around and take hats off easier, sans snagging.

The Best Curly Hairstyles To Wear Under A Hat

The best natural hairstyles to pair with a hat include: low bun or ponytail, and protective styles. Putting hair in a high ponytail or bun can strategically disguise hat hair. While protective styles (braided hairstyles: box braids, knotless braids, twists, wigs and more) are great to wear underneath natural hair curls as it is less manipulation and friction to the actual hair.

In cold weather, where beanies and hats are wardrobe staples, hat hair can be the bane of your hair’s existence. The good news: it doesn’t have too, with our tried and tested tips.

Now that you know how to fight off hat hair, in any climate, learn more about The Best Curl- Defining Products For Natural Hair.

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