Though we love this season for all it does for our wardrobe (statement coats, statement boots, statement sweaters—pretty much all statement everything), it’s not always kind on our tresses. We might be happy to leave behind the hair woes summer brings like frizziness and not being able to hold a style, but the colder months present new challenges when it comes to hair. Dryness and breakage can be a girl’s worst nightmare when it comes to her hair and both of these can be dominant issues once the weather starts to cool.
To help get you through the next two seasons with a healthy head of hair, we chatted with celebrity stylist, author and SheaMoisture beauty ambassador, Diane C. Bailey, who gave us some amazing insight on hair along with tips on how to keep your hair healthy during fall and beyond.
StyleBlazer: What actually constitutes as “healthy hair?”
Diane Bailey: There are some universal truths about healthy hair. No matter what type of texture you have, healthy hair has an energy that gives a soft luster, is easy to manage when combed, and has great elasticity with few split ends that diminish form and style. Healthy hair can be heat styled, chemically processed, colored treated, or totally natural. All healthy hair has one thing in common: a good hair regime that addresses the hair’s unique needs. A good hair regime is practiced daily, weekly and monthly and with your trusted stylist’s input, recommendations from friends and YouTube vloggers and a bit of trial and error, you’ll find your perfect one. Your daily, weekly and monthly hair regimes will support healthy growth and shine, with minimal breakage. Diet, health, stress and environmental conditions also factor in the overall health of the hair, and can impact growth and shedding. So always factor in your lifestyle when assessing your hair’s needs.
SB: What are some steps or tips to help promote healthier hair?
DB: Create a “healthy hair regime” to help promote healthier hair. For a daily regimen, keep the ends of the hair protected from heat and the elements, combing or brushing by applying a “leave-in” sealant or moisturizing conditioner. Do this without fail each day.
For a weekly regimen for textured hair, shampoo once with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo, such as SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Retention Shampoo and restore with a moisturizing treatment rich in natural oils and butters. For straight or chemically treated hair, replenish hair with a gentle cleansing conditioner and apply a heat protectant to guard against thermal damage.
Each month, opt for a protein treatment which is an effective way to restore strength and elasticity to any type of hair. Steam treatments also help to open the cuticle providing a deeply penetrating, therapeutic treatment for your hair.
SB: Can “heat damaged” hair be healthy?
DB: Heat-treated hair as opposed to heat damaged hair can be healthy if excessive heat is not routinely used and hair is cared for properly. Flat ironing your hair at a high heat without proper protection is a path to destroying your hair. Excessive heat can also increase breakage. It’s all in the prevention so turn down the heat! Even heat protectants cannot protect hair from extreme heat of 350 degrees or more. For heat damaged hair, it’s best to trim off as much damaged hair as you can and dial back the amount of heat styling you’re doing while stepping up deep conditioner treatments and protective leave-ins. When you do heat styling, opt for a cooler setting on your blowdryer and skip flat ironing for awhile to give hair a rest. Also, routinely opt for protective styles including up-dos which give hair a break from heat styling.
SB: What are some things one can do to promote healthy hair in the colder months?
DB: Hydrate hair daily with an emollient leave-in conditioner to seal in moisture and protect from the harsh cold air outside and dry air inside. This will keep hair soft and vibrant in spite of the extreme weather. Do a deep conditioning treatment every two weeks to nourish hair and replenish moisture and nutrients. Gently towel off your hair with a cotton t-shirt to minimize static in the winter and sleep in a satin bonnet to protect hair at night from dry air.
You also may need heavier oil-based products to restore elasticity in the colder months. During the winter, I use SheaMoisture Raw Shea Elixir on my clients to bring back sheen, minimize frizz, soften and intensely hydrate hair.