Should You Be Steaming Your Hair? Helpful Answers to 12 FAQs About Hair Steaming
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Should you be steaming your hair? If you are after healthier and fuller curls, then yes! Hair steaming is a wonderful way to get more out of your deep conditioning or oil treatments. It can also be used as a treatment for dry scalp or to simply refresh your curls between wash days.
Keep reading – our FAQs cover the benefits of steaming your hair, types of hair steamers, how to steam your hair with and without a hair steamer, and much more.
12 Frequently Asked Questions About Steaming Your Hair
Hair steaming isn’t rocket science but there are still plenty of questions we all have about the process, who should use it, and how it’s done. Here are 12 hair steaming FAQs to help better understand this beneficial natural haircare treatment.
Click to jump to each one.
- What is hair steaming?
- What are the benefits of steaming for hair and scalp?
- Is hair steaming good for natural hair?
- Should you be steaming your hair?
- What is a hair steamer?
- Is a hair steamer the same as a hair misting machine?
- What are the different types of hair steamers?
- How is a hair steamer used on natural hair?
- What kind of hair steaming products are good to use?
- How often should you steam your hair?
- Can hair steaming cause hair damage?
- Can you steam your hair without a steamer?
1. What is hair steaming?
Hair steaming is a hair treatment method that uses heat and steam to open up the hair cuticle (outer layer of each strand of hair) and let moisture in. Apart from hydrating your strands with water, it also helps beneficial ingredients from your haircare products to penetrate the strands. BACK TO TOP
2. What are the benefits of steaming for hair and scalp?
Hair steaming is similar in many ways to deep conditioning your hair. It also has several benefits that are similar to those of a deep conditioning treatment, and more.
Hair steaming benefits include:
- Helping to maintain your hair’s protein-moisture balance.
- Allowing haircare ingredients to penetrate the strands.
- Improving blood circulation in the scalp.
- Deep cleaning of your strands and scalp.
- Relieving the symptoms of dry scalp and dandruff.
- Plumping up your strands for a fuller, thicker appearance.
- Helping to keep frizziness at bay.
- Refreshing and rejuvenating lackluster hair.
Dry scalp can be a very irritating condition to deal with. If you would like more info on the causes and symptoms of dry scalp and other ways to treat it, see:
- 8 Common Causes of Dry Scalp Plus Easy Ways to Tell It’s Not Dandruff
- The Best Treatment for Dry Scalp and Hair – 10 Products that Work!
- Best Treatment for Dry Scalp – 5 DIY Remedies
- How to Treat Dry Scalp – 6 Simple and Effective Lifestyle Changes
3. Is hair steaming good for natural hair?
The curls and coils of naturally textured hair may be wonderfully mesmerizing to look at but they do have one downside. They make it more difficult for sebum (your scalp’s natural oils) to travel along the strand. This leaves your hair drier than desired. The penetrating moisture from hair steaming helps to relieve this dryness.
Is steaming good for hair in general? Yes, straight and wavy hair can benefit from hair steaming, as well. It is also beneficial for hair that has been chemically processed.
4. Should you be steaming your hair?
Considering all of its benefits and how easily it can be done, hair steaming is one hair treatment that’s well-worth trying for any type of hair. But, should you be steaming your hair as a necessary part of your natural haircare routine? Well, if you have Type 4 hair or you have low porosity hair, yes, you should be steaming your hair on a regular basis. Steaming can be a real game-changer for tightly coiled hair and hair that has trouble absorbing moisture.
5. What is a hair steamer?
A hair steamer is like most other steamers, such as a facial steamer or the kind you use on clothes, except that it is designed to be used on your hair. It heats up the water, turns it into steam, and then sends the steam out with some amount of force.
6. Is a hair steamer the same as a hair misting machine?
No, a hair misting machine is different. It is a large piece of salon equipment – not meant for at-home use. Just like a hair steamer, a hair misting machine also helps to add moisture to hair but uses the finer particles of mist to do so, not steam. Both steaming and misting can be used for general haircare as well as for oil treatments, but the misting machine is more often used during the hair coloring process.
7. What are the different types of hair steamers?
Hair steamers come in different designs for you to choose from. Here are the three most popular types of hair steamers.
- Handheld hair steamer
Handheld steamers are convenient in helping you to target specific sections of your hair. They are not the most common type of hair steamer but they are gaining popularity.
Example of a handheld hair steamer: Q-Redew hair steamer
- Steamer cap
These fit snugly on your head. Plus, with the cordless steamer cap options, you can just microwave your steamer cap to get it warm, slip it on then enjoy its hair-steaming benefits while you go about your chores.
Example of a steamer cap: Vicarko thermal heat cap
- Tabletop hair steamer
Tabletop steamers give you that hair salon effect of sitting under a hairdryer along with good distribution of steam. They often do double duty as facial steamers.
Example of a tabletop hair steamer: Kingsteam hair and facial steamer
8. How is a hair steamer used on natural hair?
Here are some steps you can follow to steam when doing hair steaming for natural hair regardless of the type of steamer you use.
Step 1: Shampoo and rinse your hair as usual.
Step 2: Steam your hair for about five minutes to open up the cuticle of the strands.
Step 3: Apply a deep conditioner or hair mask of your choice.
Step 4: Steam your hair for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 5: Rinse your hair with cool water to close back up the cuticles.
Step 6: Apply hair oil to help lock in the moisture.
9. What kind of hair steaming products are good to use?
Hair steaming products – the products you should use to get the most out of steaming your hair – include:
- Deep conditioner
Deep conditioners and hair masks are very hydrating. The best hair mask or best deep conditioner for steaming hair is one that is also packed with hair-healthy vitamins, minerals, fats, and antioxidants. Hair steaming helps these nutrients get into the strands to nourish your hair.
Hair steaming products example: Shea Moisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque
- Hair oil
Hair oils can be applied before or after the steaming process. Use penetrating oils such as coconut oil and avocado oil, before steaming. Use sealing oils, such as grapeseed oil and castor oil, after steaming.
Hair steaming products example: Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil
For more natural haircare treatments that make use of the wonderful properties of hair oils, read:
- Hair Oils: What is Oil Rinsing + 8 Reasons It’s So Good for Natural Hair
- What Is a Hot Oil Treatment and 10 Reasons It’s Good for Natural Hair
10. How often should you steam your hair?
Monthly steaming should do just fine for hair that’s already in good condition. You can steam your hair every two to three weeks if it tends to be dry or is damaged. For hair that’s very dry or very damaged, weekly steaming should help you to see improvements quickly. You should, however, avoid steaming (and hence, having to wash) your hair more often than this.
11. Can hair steaming cause hair damage?
If it’s not done properly, then yes, hair steaming can damage your natural hair. Be sure to limit steaming time to 30 minutes and don’t do steam treatments too often. Hair that is over-moisturized can suffer from hygral fatigue, leaving it dull, brittle, breaking, and with a tacky texture.
12. Can you steam your hair without a steamer?
Yes, you can! Usually, all you need are a warm, damp towel and a shower cap. Watch how Melissa Denise does it to help take care of her own beautiful curls. She incorporates the use of a hairdryer but the heat and steam from a warm shower could help, too. Melissa also shares some more benefits and tips for hair steaming.
Got any good tips for steaming your hair? Share!