Heat damage is a naturalista’s worst enemy….
The truth is, heat styling is a prominent part of natural hair styling, the key is to protect your hair and use your heat tools wisely to avoid wrecking your hair. Heat protection actually begins well before heat is actually applied to the hair.
Shampoo and condition beforehand. This may go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. Natural hair should be clean before applying heat, otherwise every bit of leftover product, dirt, or whatever it currently in the hair will essentially be baked into the hair.
Deep condition beforehand. Applying heat to natural hair evaporates the moisture out of the hair, so it’s important to boost moisture levels to avoid hair sizzle.
Increase protein levels beforehand. When hair doesn’t have a strong protein structure applying heat will cause it to permanently lose it’s texture/curl pattern.
Use a heat protectant. Heat styling products work by forming a protective coating on the hair that lessens the chances of the hair being burned (note: they are not a force field!!). Natural products like grapeseed oil has a high smoke point, making it a good candidate for a heat protectant.
Even with these products heat tools should still be used responsibly, as healthy hair burns at 451.4 degrees Fahrenheit (233 Celsius).
Control tool temperature. If you have the option, choose heat tools with numbered temp selections instead of a high/low switch, all low settings are not created equal.
Avoid overdrying followed by flat ironing (or curling). If you have to blow dry your hair before using the flat iron or curling iron, allow your hair to partially air dry first OR blow dry until your hair is about 80% dry and allow to air dry. Doubling up on the use of heat tools increases your risk of heat damage.
Do you have a curlfriend that could use these tips for avoiding heat damage? Be a friend and share this post with them!