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

Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cherishthymelanin/

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

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Globetrotter5K

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

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[…] 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.

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[…] 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!
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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 lat­er, I added… 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.

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