We’ve all heard the old adage that we shouldn’t go out with wet hair in the winter because we’ll catch a cold. This is a myth that we can just go ahead and stop spreading today, though you might want to break it to grandma slowly – we wouldn’t want you to get told off for sassing back as a know-it-all.
The cause of getting a cold or flu is from a myriad of viruses and any of which you can come in contact with regardless of the temperature outside. (Damn those summer snot feasts!) “Having a cold” technically means “having the cold virus live inside you” as a result from coming in contact with the rhinoviruses that cause colds, a.k.a germs and cooties.*
That’s not to say that going outside with wet hair in colder temperatures is of little concern, not because we can possible catch a cold since it happens that more people get colds in the winter due to being indoors more and spreading their cooties much easier (hello co-worker who blows his nose at his desk and then goes to get a bagel from the break-room), but because our hair holds water (that ever soo necessary moisturizer) and can freeze when wet and break off if temperatures are too low.
“When water anywhere gets cold enough to freeze, it expands.” says Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, author of Hair Care Rehab. “If your hair freezes, it becomes less pliable and is certainly more vulnerable to breakage. So beyond the obvious discomfort, it’s definitely not a good idea to go out with a wet head in below-freezing temperatures. Protect your hair with proper winter gear, and ensure that your hair is thoroughly deep conditioned, dry and sealed with a winter-friendly oil.”
Try to avoid the cold cooties whether you are indoors or out and keep your hair a dry as you can by skipping leaving the house with wet hair. If it’s snowing outside, don’t play Russian roulette with your hair. Wear a fly hat or wrap it up in a silk scarf to keep the moisture in and plop on your wool beanie.