Hat head: it's one of those style afflictions that seems inevitable, but isn't. With a little planning and a quick check of your hairstyle, you can wear hats in the winter and keep your hair looking great. Here are the rules for avoiding hat head without avoiding hats. 

Big hair = big hat: If you have curly hair, wavy hair, or popular-right-now voluminous hair, forget the beanie and the ski hat (exception below). Any hat that's going to stick close to your head is also going to squish your curls and any volume you may have worked into your locks. But you can still wear hats!

Try almost anything with a full top area, so your hair isn't squashed. A tam and a beret can work if you want a less-structured hat; a wool cowboy-style hat or a fedora or a trilby are cute, more shaped options (though they won't keep your ears warm). You can also look for a loosely knit slouchy hat that doesn't cling to your head, like this one or this one; I have naturally curly hair and have luck with this type of hat if it is very loose. 

Choose hat fabric wisely: No matter what kind of hair you have, the softer the hat's base fabric, the less likely it will muss your style — but if you have any curl to your hair, it will definitely be problematic. “Wool is so rough and conflicts with the texture of curly and/or natural hair,” says Kattia Solano, the celebrity hairstylist who talked to Yahoo about this issue. “Be sure to look for hats in a softer fabric, like cashmere, silk or angora.”

What if you have wool hats that you love and still want to wear? It's easy to line a wool hat with a softer fabric (silk is ideal for keeping hair soft and tangle-free — and old silk scarf is easy enough to simply handsew on the inside of a knit hat).

Top-knot it: For maximum hair protection against hat head, pull it up into a loose top knot (secure with a loose band or just a couple of pins); when you arrive at your destination, doff your hat, then pull your hair out from its security, and fluff. 

Kill static with moisture: Hat head isn't just about the problem of squashed hair; there's also static. Only dry hair can become flyaway due to lack of it. "Any styling aid with moisture (a light hair oil, cream, spray or serum) placed along the inside of the hat will stop it. If you saturate the hat band with moisture, it won’t create dry static,” says Solano. 

Skip the hat: A big, loose hood can be a lovely alternative to a hat, and if you get one that's separate from a coat or cape — sometimes called a scoodie — you can wear it inside, like any other hat. (Here's what I'm talking about; I'm coveting one of these!) A cowl is another option, as are knit headbands, to keep your ears and part of your head warm — and leaving your hair loose on the outside. 

Whatever kind of hat you wear, don't forget that in most circumstances, it's OK to keep your hat on inside. So some days I just push all my hair under a pretty beanie and call it a day when I don't have to deal with my hair at all, which can be a nice break — all with no worries about what's going on underneath the hat!

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.