This is such a common question, particularly towards the end of the summer because many naturals opt for straightening their tresses upon fall’s arrival. So before we dive in, it is necessary to touch on a few things…just a very general overview so as not to bore anyone. Basically, what happens when there is heat damage is there is a loss of elasticity, which is the hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original state. This is typically the first sign that heat damage has occurred. The more elasticity, the stronger the hair. When the hair is exposed to heat, it threatens the elasticity. If there is excessive heat, whether in one styling session or multiple styling sessions over a period of time, there is a risk of heat damage.
If after shampooing, the normal curl pattern is no longer there, or in other words, there is no reversion, I would venture to say heat damage has occurred. So, there’s good news and bad news… let’s just get the bad news out of the way right off the bat. Heat damage is not reversible…once it’s done, it’s done. Unfortunately the only way to rid the hair of damage is to cut it. Now before you panic, allow me to deliver the good news – you can cut it gradually, much like a like a transitioner in the beginning of the “going natural” process. Allowing the hair to grow out and gradually eliminating the damaged hair will afford you the option of retaining some length. If you are not opposed to cutting your mane, then cutting off the damage in its entirety and starting fresh is an option. Whichever you decide, In the meantime, continue with healthy hair practices such as, (but not limited to):
1. Step up your deep conditioning game – deep condition once per week.
2. Incorporate reconstructor treatments in your regimen to help improve the elasticity.
3. If you chose to continue using heat, do continue using a heat protectant to act as a barrier.
4. Manage the temperature on your heated instruments carefully.
I hope this helps and would love to hear about your next steps.