This post was originally published on Michigan Chronicle

Winter months can be brutal on haircare. For Black hair, naturals or chemically processed, including relaxers or bleach color treatments, a routine is essential to maintain hair moisture and retain length despite the cold weather. A local stylist is dishing on everything you need to know to keep your mane in check no matter the weather. 

Jasmere Waller owns and operates Studio Lush in Southfield. From a lineage of cosmetologists, Waller knew early on what her life’s work would be. Beginning braiding at seven years old, the emerging stylist enrolled in cosmetology school during high school and began doing hair on neighborhood porches. Now, specializing in color transformation, particularly blonding, Waller is showing Black women blondes do really have more fun. 

“I love the challenge of blonding dark, textured, kinky curly hair. That’s what I’m known for. I like to dispel the myth that you can’t have healthy and color-treated hair,” said Waller.  

Each season comes with its own set of rules to maintain Black hair. Winter months can make hair dry, brittle and susceptible to breakage. To help combat this, Waller suggests adding and retaining moisture is the name of the game all season long.  

“As the winter months come in, the weather is colder and drier. I would say the biggest thing is you have to retain your moisture,” said Waller. “A lot of times, people take their summer/spring routine over into the winter time. Using hydrating products, detoxing shampoos and conditioners, steam treatments, all the types of regimes to keep the moisture in the hair would be the biggest shift.” 

A sign of individuality and expression, Black hair undergoes many different styles in a quick amount of time. Most recently, vibrant rainbow and pastel hues have become a norm for Black hair. To achieve this look, stylists must lift the natural hair color to a light blond for the color pigment to adhere to the hair. This process is stressful on the hair.  

“The higher you lift from your natural color, the more damaging it can be. A general rule of thumb is if you stay within three levels of your natural color, it’s going to be lower maintenance,” said Waller.  

Although achieving these colorful looks will require bleaching the hair, Waller said there are ways to keep color treated hair healthy through winter hats and chilly nights.  

“The key to keeping colored hair healthy is hydrating products. Color breaks the hair when it becomes dry, so keeping the cuticle intact and using moisturizing products, those are the things that will keep your hair from breaking off and that’s how you can keep a healthy head of color-treated hair,” said Waller.  

In addition to color treatments, cool weather gives naturals the opportunity to let their tresses flow. Silk presses allow naturally kinky or curly hair to be straightened. However, heat on virgin hair can cause damage if not managed properly and hair can revert to its natural state if not cared for.  

“Always make sure you’re sleeping on satin or silk; you want to wrap your hair up every night. While in the salon, you want to make sure your stylist is using hydrating shampoos and conditioners. The foundation is the key,” said Waller.  

Using moisture-based products before blow drying will help to lock the moisture deep into the hair shaft. When adding moisture to the hair, some make the mistake of using excessive oil which can weigh hair and styles down. Contrary to popular belief, oils are unable to add moisture to the hair, according to Waller.  

“I actually prefer moisture creams over oils. The oil is going to be your sealant. Oil can never moisturize your hair, only lubricate,” said Waller.  

Haircare professionals can help to maintain hair health, however for those who are not able to make it to their favorite stylist regularly, taking precautions at home can help maintain hair until the next salon trip. 

“Every head of hair is different. It really depends on your starting texture, density or porosity,” said Waller.