By Chinwe (pictured above) of Hair and Health

So you are interested in using heat – be it blow-drying or flat-ironing – but you are terrified of destroying your healthy hair.  You have heard too many horror stories about split ends and permanently straight strands resulting from heat usage.

The truth of the matter is that heat usage does not have to be so scary as long as you know your hair and know its limits.  Additionally, a high-moisture, high-strength, moderate-heat routine is necessary to minimize damage.

The following regimen is a good starting point for those who are ready to incorporate heat styling into their hair care routine.  However, if you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then I encourage you leave heat usage alone for now: Is your hair currently damaged?  Is your hair brittle or weak?  Is your hair newly colored or bleached?

1. Wash with a gentle or moisturizing shampoo.

With a heat-styling regimen, it is really important to maintain moisturized strands, even during the washing process.  Use of a stripping, drying shampoo will translate into more effort spent afterwards restoring what was lost.  On the other hand, use of a gentle shampoo will retain that moisture, and depending on the product, add more moisture and a bit of conditioning. Gentle shampoos usually contain mild (rather than harsh) cleansing agents.  Moisturizing shampoos are usually gentle shampoos that also contain light conditioning ingredients.

2. Deep condition with a moisturizing protein conditioner.

Following up with a deep protein conditioner is essential to reinforce the hair shaft for manipulation and heat usage.  However, for those who are protein sensitive or have issues with protein-moisture balance, finding the right deep conditioner can be a challenge.  A great option is to try one with the dual role of strengthening (via a protein) and moisturizing.  Such conditioners will generally contain a hydrolyzed protein (e.g., keratin, collagen) for reinforcement and humectants (e.g, glycerin) for moisture retention.

3. Quick condition with a silicone-based conditioner (optional).

This step is ideal for those who desire strands that are more manageable (e.g., easier combing, less tangly) and smoother for heat styling.  Also, if your hair is too hard after the above deep conditioning step, this quick condition may help to soften it.

4. Moisturize with a light water-based product and then seal.

This is your final moisturizing step prior to applying heat to your hair.  You can simply apply a good oil/butter-based sealant to your damp, conditioned hair OR after applying a light water-based moisturizer.  Try to avoid products containing humectants in order to delay reversion and frizz.  Also, try to avoid heavy products, which can contribute to buildup and lessen the duration of your style.

IF FLAT IRONING:
5. Air-dry in big braids.

In order to minimize heat usage, air-dry your hair as opposed to blow-drying.  Doing so in big braids will stretch the hair better than twists though it will also take longer.

6. Apply a silicone-based heat protectant and evenly.

A good heat protectant will usually contain silicones, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which are very effective at reducing damage.  Applying a heat protectant is necessary to reduce the rate at which heat travels through the hair.  Be sure to apply a sufficient amount and section by section.

7. Flat iron using a moderate temperature and no more than two passes.

Read this post on “The Natural Haven” for information on the temperature profile for human hair.  If you do use a setting above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, try not to go above 350 F.  Also, invest in a quality flat iron so that little effort (including minimal passes) is required to achieve the look for which you are aiming.  Be sure to invest in one with a temperature dial, as well, so that you can control the heat level.

IF BLOW-DRYING:
5. Plop the hair until damp.

It is less damaging to blow-dry damp hair rather than soaking wet hair.  Prior to heat usage, wrap your freshly washed hair with a towel or t-shirt for fifteen to twenty minutes.  (This method of removing excess water is called plopping.)  Then unwrap your hair and proceed to the next step.

6. Apply a silicone-based heat protectant.

A good heat protectant will usually contain silicones, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which are very effective at reducing damage.  Applying a heat protectant is necessary to reduce the rate at which heat travels through the hair.  Be sure to apply a sufficient amount and section by section.

7. Blow dry using the tension method (no combs or brushes).

View tutorials on tension blow-drying in this post.  This method of blow-drying is less damaging than using comb attachments or brushes, which may over-manipulate the hair.  Additionally, invest in a blow dryer with a diffuser, which will help to evenly distribute the heat across your hair.

HOW OFTEN?

Alternate between your heat-styling routine and no-heat styles.

Wear your heat-styled hair for 2-3 weeks at a time and alternate with air-dried styles (e.g., twists, buns, braids, roller set).  Whether you choose to wear heat-styled looks twice a year or twelve times a year is up to you.  However, the lower your frequency of heat usage, the better your hair will fair in the long run.

Ladies, how do you reduce damage while heat styling?

Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more!
http://www.healthyhairbody.com

Leave a Reply

39 Comments on "7 Steps to Minimize Damage When Using Heat on Natural Hair"

Notify of
avatar
Globetrotter5K

I just got my hair colored last week. How long should I wait before straightening it?

trackback

[…] So, heat is an option – as long as you don’t overdo it and abuse it. Also, consider this: If you are a 4C natural with fine strands, you may have to use less heat (frequency and temperature) than a 4C natural with thick strands. Check out my earlier post for tips on “How to Minimize Damage When Using Heat”.  […]

Rosie

In market there are so many products available for the control your hair damage and its better that you use natural products for it.

Feli

What is a good heat protectant to use?

Stella

There are so many natural way which are more preferable than the use of a chemical proudcts which are more harmful and not controll the hair damage.

Evy

Whenever using hair straightener its necessary to damage your hair so for less hair damage you provide great steps when using heat.

Angel Christian

Great good steps to minimize damage when using hair straightener.I agree that such a very helpful steps.Thank you.

trackback

[…] If your hair takes curls well, you can have longer layered cuts for a good hairdo. You can easily add waves into your hair with the use of spray gels before setting it using Velcro rollers for that sexy hair. Aside from that, you can also use low-heat rollers. However, do not use them often because they can easily damage your fine hair. […]

cpanel vps

I visited multiple blogs however the audio quality for audio songs current at this web site is genuinely superb.|

Tay

I know this is probably irrelevant but anybody knows Chinwe’s hair type? I think we have the same curl pattern

Chachamusicgirl

My hairdresser normally blowdries and flat irons my hair at 450 F and it always reverts the second water touches my hair. I am confused since she normally does several passes. I think this may be because I only straighten it twice a year and I wash and deep condition my hair every two days. Still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone else use a temperature that high. I almost passed out when my stylist told me what temperature she has been using for my hair.

trackback

[…] Via: BlackGirlLongHair […]

Tesha

So, I am currently transitioning and have been for the past 9 months, and I have to say I use straighteners all the time and have no heat damage whats so ever. Key is defiantly MOISTURE! I deep condition with Tresemme Naturals conditioner and coconut oil for about a hour & once I get to the straightening part, its super easy my hair is always extremely soft, straight and moist!!!

Tia

My hair shrinks up to 75 percent when wet, styling it is hard because I use no form of heat! Looking for ways to style my hair to wear it down but without the heat process!
[imgcomment image[/img]

imani

Oh my goodness! So much like me! I get abt 50% shrinkage the second water touches my hair! It can be so annoying which is why I like twist outs bc without it id be rocking a fro and since that’s not my style I use it all the time. I use twists outs on wash day once its half dry. And I make a point to not add liquids to my roots until next wash day. I spritz the length nightly for my bagging twist out method but not the roots.

anna h

Try going on LonghairdontcareLLC she has a very good way to stretch hair out to look like a blow dry job without out heat. I believe she puts it in two low buns but you have to go check for the specifics…hope this helps

anna h

Thats her youtube name by the way…

Olivia J.

Today I flat iron my hair without blow drying first. After I washed and conditioned, I detangled it and sectioned it and put it in 4 large twists, sat under my bonnet dryer, set it on low for about a half hour. Then I went to sleep. This morning, I took out the sections, combed my hair and flat ironed (For a heat protectant I use Biosilk) then put my hair in pin curls. So far so good!

Phoenix
I’m relaxed and before my journey I was no stranger to A LOT of heat usage. Since embarking on my journey I’ve learned that heat used incorrectly is the devil, but when used moderately and with circumspection it’s not that bad at all. I’ve also learned that moisture is key to minimizing damage, as well as a good heat protectant, and a little bit of coconut oil. Also, I NEVER blow dry damp hair, and I never flat iron simply air dried hair. I roller set religiously. Once I remove my rollers, my hair is relatively stretched and straight already,… Read more »
Camille

I just went and got my hair flatironed for the first time in my life a month ago and after two washes, I am still trying to get the burned smell out and get my hair to kink back up all the way. I don’t think I am ever messing with a flat iron again. Not worth it!

Krys

The key is MOISTURE! Moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, deep condition. I blow dry on low heat with a comb attachment and my hair is super soft.

trackback

[…] .  This method of blow-drying is less damaging than using comb attachments or brushes, which may over-manipulate the hair.  Additionally, invest in a blow dryer with a diffuser, which will help to evenly distribute the heat across your hair….More at 7 Steps to Minimize Damage When Using Heat | Black Girl with … […]

KJ

I have natural hair but I straighten my hair once a week. I do a pre-poo with coconut oil or rosemary oil mixed with grapeseed oil or almond oil. Then I use a repairing shampoo and a super moisturizing conditioner. Then I use a spray leave-in conditioner and smoothing cream. Then I blow dry, press and flat iron my hair. Prepping my hair before I put any heat on it keep my ends healthy. I have some flyaways at my roots but I’m working on that.

Wendy
I JUST straightened my hair with my new pyt straightener and it is so soft and amazing. I recommend this to everyone who straightens their hair! before I straighten my hair I wash with baby shampoo, and lately with a dandruff shampoo which ironically made my hair incredibly soft. Then while its still damp I put in a moroccan/argon oil mix, a little pricey but curly girls its totally worth it! and then a touch of baby oil. I don’t know if baby oil is good or bad when heat styling but so far so good. after straightening I had… Read more »
Ashley

Heat is a part of my regular hair regimen. I do a light blow dry after every was (weekly) so that I can easily style. I have found that if I don’t do a light blow dry, I have terrible fairy knots and I end up cutting my hair anyway. I wash and deep condition weekly, and blow dry weekly. I have been natural for almost ten years and I have never had heat damage. Love your hair, and it will love you back!!

Belle Essence

This is a good tutorial, and I love all the details you did. I have tried many regimens to really get my hair to not be poofy and also be not get all burnt and dry. I finally gave up and went to the dominicans and got a brazilian blowout. My hair felt amazing, and it had NO poof like if I did it with a flat iron or hair dryer.
Compare my hair to whats in the video and you’ll see the difference.

imani

Why did 16 ppl NOT like this post& video? I know we can be very critical abt each other but I really don’t get it!

Tes

The heat damage, dryness and breakage caused by DB is real! YouTube Dominican blowouts and you will see what I am talking about. I’m sure some people are OK with them but for most people the heat damage is major. Many have tried them and found that going back to their natural curls is impossible because of the irreversible heat damage. That is why so many people thumbs downed this vid! I hope this young lady is able to return to her natural curl pattern or does not experiences any additional hair loss.

creole_venus

can I ask why this video got 17 thumbs down?

Tes

The heat damage, dryness and breakage caused by DB is real! YouTube Dominican blowouts and you will see what I am talking about. I’m sure some people are OK with them but for most people the heat damage is major. Many have tried them and found that going back to their natural curls is impossible because of the irreversible heat damage. That is why so many people thumbs downed this vid! I hope this young lady is able to return to her natural curl pattern or does not experiences any additional hair loss.

D

If you have ever had a DB done then you would know how bad the damage is. The double and very high heat to achieve the style does eventually become irreversible. They cannot achieve the look without holding the blow dryer nozzle directly on your hair in between the round brush. Yes it’s silky smooth bouncy and swings with the turn of your head, but the process is killer. I did it every 2 weeks for 2 years straight without realizing how much damage I was doing. And I had the nerve to wonder why I couldn’t get past SL.

Momma2be

I agree. I have seen ppl with some hair to be reckoned with only to come out of the salon looking like they have a bad perm in a week m

Tasha
So funny that Im staring at my shears through my dresser drawer right now. The right lower quadrant of my hair has severe heat damage. I have been transitioning for a little over a year and have only flat ironed my hair about 4 times. I had the heat damage before I decided to go natural so that section is healthy new growth, heat damage, then thin relaxed ends. I cut the ends on a small layer, but stopped bc I was scared of it being uneven. Now Im going to go ahead and cut it, stop using heat for… Read more »
Thick Nigerian Hair

Try a protein treatment before cutting it all off. It’s worth a try. I don’t use heat often but I like the Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment. PLEASE don’t skip step two (conditioning). There are people on YT that have tried it after heat damage and it worked to bring their curls back. I like Taren’s video because she takes you through the steps and shows the results.

areille

Geez I wish that worked on my hair. I never understood how people got their hair so straight after drying their hair in braids or twists. I couldn’t possibly attempt to straighten that way. I use a chi and my straight hair lasts like a day. I have a loose 3b/c but it’s as course as ever. Thought it would get easier with longer hair but mines longer than the photo. Guess straightening is not for everyone. Kudos.

Thick Nigerian Hair
I just flat ironed my hair without blow drying it (a first) a week ago and my hair is still straight, except for my edges but they are hopeless case anyway. Try using a silicone based heat protectant. This is what I did: 1. Wash & deep condition with Aphogee Keratin conditioner, Tresemme Split End Remedy(?) and another conditioner, oils, Aloe vera juice. (You are welcome to use whatever concoction works for you but do use something with hydrolyzed proteins in it) 2. Giovanni Leave-in conditioner + aloe vera juice + oils 3. Air dried in medium twists. 2 days… Read more »
Tonna

What heat protectant do you use?

Pseudonym

Before straightening, I do overnight conditioner with coconut oil. Hair feels amazing!

Shupheen

Yes maam… I love doing this.

wpDiscuz