7 Ways to Prevent Heat Damage to Natural Hair
by Jacqueline Samarroo
This Is How to Protect Your Natural Hair Before, During, and After Heat Styling to Prevent Heat Damage
Since the latest wave of the natural hair movement started in the 2000s, many of us have begun to embrace our kinky, coily, curly, and wavy locks. It’s a beautiful, wonderfully empowering thing! One of the greatest fears we have, however, is heat damage to our natural hair – and with good reason.
Hair generally starts to burn and denature at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Textured hair is more fragile, however. It can start seeing heat damage at lower temperatures. The result is hair that is dry, frizzy, brittle, and prone to breakage. It also has less bounce and does not revert to its natural curl pattern after washing.
But, it is possible to prevent heat damage to natural hair AND restore hair that has already suffered from it.
Prevent Heat Damage
Here are seven ways you can protect your natural hair before, during, and after heat styling.
1. Evaluate your hair.
It’s a good idea to avoid using heat on your hair if it is already brittle and breaking. Focus instead on restoring damaged hair since the last thing you want to do is make a bad situation worse.
2. Prepare your hair.
Start with clean hair since oils and dirt can cause hair to burn quicker. Use a deep conditioner to moisturize your hair and be sure to (gently) detangle your hair before applying heat.
3. Use a heat protectant.
Heat protectants coat each strand of your hair with silicones. This limits heat damage as well as locks moisture into your hair.
4. Start slow and low.
Use low to medium settings on your heat styler. Also, avoid using heat on your hair more than once a week. This gives it time to bounce back (literally!) between heat stylings.
5. Heat style dry (or slightly damp).
Speaking of overexposure to heat – drying wet hair takes longer and much higher heat. Instead, dry your hair with a microfiber towel till it’s just slightly damp before using heat to dry and style it.
6. Wrap your hair at night.
Heat-treated or not, your hair is much less likely to tangle and break if you sleep with it wrapped. And, there is a bonus! Wrapping helps maintain your style, taking a lot of the stress out of your morning hair routine.
7. Use a professional.
Make an ally of your stylist. They can help you keep track of the health of your hair and spot early signs of damage. Also, if you doubt your skills at properly protecting your hair as you heat style it, then it’s probably best to let a professional do it for you.
Repair Your Hair
- Heat damage happens fast and can look really bad. Rest assured, however that restoration of your beautiful curls is totally possible – it will just take some time.
- Use a leave-in conditioner. It promotes hydration of your hair as well as makes detangling easier.
- Do a protein treatment every few months. This will strengthen your hair by restoring its keratin.
- Switch to a protective style for a while. It shields your hair from being tugged, snagged, and exposed to other damaging elements.
- Rely on a professional to trim the ends of your hair. It will remove some of the damage and help to stop breakage. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that the loss of length actually leaves you with bouncier hair!