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A recur­ring theme in the ques­tions I receive from my sub­scribers is how to fix heat dam­age. The sto­ry usu­al­ly goes like this: an excit­ed nat­ur­al decides to spend a day press­ing her hair so she can see what 2, 3, or 4+ years of hair growth looks like. The process usu­al­ly goes well and her hair, espe­cial­ly if it’s done by a pro, looks amaz­ing­ly sleek and shiny. After a few days or a few short weeks, she antic­i­pates the moment when she’ll see her coils again. On wash day, she drench­es her hair with water, but instead of see­ing her boun­cy, tight coils, the water seems to lose its mag­ic and her hair reverts to an elon­gat­ed mess; some­times with ends so straight. Her hair looks noth­ing like it did before the press.

Most nat­u­rals seek­ing to change up their look pre­fer the use of heat since it’s not per­ma­nent, and it doesn’t involve the use of any caus­tic chem­i­cals. Even though the use of heat is not new for many women with high­ly tex­tured hair, the under­stand­ing of best hair prac­tices is still respec­tive­ly new in many parts of the world.

One of the biggest mis­con­cep­tions about heat is that it sim­ply doesn’t dam­age like chem­i­cal prod­ucts do, but that’s not real­ly true, The prob­lem with heat is that no mat­ter how care­ful we are with its use, it will pro­duce some dam­age to our strands and depend­ing on the tex­ture (whether strands are fine or course) of one’s strands, that dam­age can range from mild to severe.

When nat­u­rals press their hair, they should antic­i­pate some type of dam­age, but there are ways to mit­i­gate this in order to keep the hair’s integri­ty. Here are my no fail tips to keep heat dam­age at bay and restore already dam­aged hair:

1. You don’t under­stand your hair’s tex­ture.

Many of us have mis­con­strued the kinks in our strands or the amount of hair on are heads to mean that we have coarse hair, but just because your hair is kinky or you have a lot of hair on your head, doesn’t mean have coarse hair. The descrip­tion “coarse” when dis­cussing tex­ture real­ly means that one’s strands are typ­i­cal­ly wider in diam­e­ter when com­pared to the diam­e­ter of other’s strands. Coarse hair tex­ture types (hair that has a wider diam­e­ter than most) will tend to expe­ri­ence less vis­i­ble effects of heat dam­age just because it nat­u­ral­ly con­tains more cuti­cle lay­ers than fine or medi­um hair tex­tures. Fine hair nat­u­rals should take great pre­cau­tion with heat, since a high set­ting can eas­i­ly per­ma­nent­ly straight­en your strands.

When you under­stand your hair’s tex­ture (coarse, medi­um, fine), you are bet­ter able to judge how much heat your hair can actu­al­ly take. Com­par­ing with a sim­ple piece of thread can help you gauge whether your strands are coarse. If your strands are com­par­a­tive­ly close to the thick­ness of the thread, you could in fact have coarse hair.

2. You use a blow dry­er to stretch your hair.

The heat from a blow dry­er is just as harsh as the heat from a flat iron and more often than not, if your hair hasn’t been prop­er­ly mois­tur­ized before hand, you risk crack­ing your hair’s cuti­cles through the harsh heat of the blow dry­er.

In my opin­ion, it’s real­ly hard to take the advice of skip­ping the blow dry ses­sion and opt­ing to stretch your hair via heat free meth­ods most­ly because it will gen­er­al­ly make the whole process of heat straight­en­ing your hair that much longer. How­ev­er, if you absolute­ly can not stand to see your hair’s progress be stalled due to an unfor­tu­nate heat dam­age acci­dent, I strong­ly sug­gest skip­ping the blow dry ses­sion before your flat iron.

3. You don’t take deep con­di­tion­ing seri­ous­ly.

Nat­ur­al reme­dies con­sist­ing of amaz­ing oils can help revive our hair and make it sup­ple. How­ev­er, in the case of heat dam­age, I strong­ly sug­gest employ­ing the use of recon­struct­ing prod­ucts. Such prod­ucts have been cre­at­ed to bring heal­ing to your hair through employ­ing the ben­e­fits of nat­ur­al and lab-cre­at­ed ingre­di­ents. Don’t skip out on deep con­di­tion­ing your hair before and after heat treat­ments. Many have expe­ri­enced their curls bounce back from heat dam­age through the con­sis­tent use of such prod­ucts. I per­son­al­ly have seen great results through the con­sis­tent use of Aphogee’s 2 Minute Recon­struc­tor when I caused dam­age to my hair in the past. Be dili­gent with your deep con­di­tion­ing and your hair will sure­ly thank you for it.

4. You don’t employ super pro­tec­tive styles.

There are var­i­ous pro­tec­tive styles out there, but “super pro­tec­tive styles” are styles that keep all your hair and your ends tucked away com­plete­ly. You hair has a greater chance of bounc­ing back from heat dam­age if you baby it and keep it from sit­u­a­tions where it can dry out eas­i­ly. Styles that keep your hair “wrapped up” ensure your hair doesn’t con­tin­ue to expe­ri­ence the dry­ness it did when it was in heat style.

5. You’re trust­ing some­one else with your hair care.

You can bet your bot­tom dol­lar that more than 50% of the ladies that con­tact me about heat dam­age gen­er­al­ly leave the heat styling of their hair to some­one else. Its not to say that trust­ing anoth­er per­son with your hair is a bad thing, but you have to take the respon­si­bil­i­ty to learn your hair needs, likes and dis­likes so that you can at least com­mu­ni­cate those things with the per­son who you’ve called on to heat style your hair. Your hair’s health is ulti­mate­ly in your hands so it’s impor­tant to be vig­i­lant about inform­ing those who style it for you or take mat­ters into your own hands by styling your hair your­self.

Sources:

Davis-Siva­sothy, Audrey. Hair Care Rehab: The Ulti­mate Hair Repair and Recon­di­tion­ing Man­u­al. Texas. Saja Pub­lish­ing Com­pa­ny, 2012. Text.

Gamez-Gar­cia, Manuel; “The Crack­ing Of Human Hair Cuti­cles By Cycli­cal Ther­mal Stress­es” J. Cos­met. Sci 49, (1998): 141–153.

Have you iden­ti­fied bad habits that have con­tributed to your heat dam­age in the past?

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3 Comments on "5 Reasons You’re Still Seeing Heat Damage After Your Flat Iron Length Check"

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Happywife Taylor

I just straight­ened my hair 2 weeks ago and I over babied my hair pri­or to flat iron­ing. I did a pro­tein treat­ment, then deep con­di­tioned, then used 2 heat pro­tec­tants. When I washed my hair 2 weeks lat­er my curls back per­fect­ly. I think the pro­tein treat­ment helped. I got that tip from Pin­trest.

grace

Ooh Num­ber 2! I went to my trust­ed styl­ist with dry, pro­tein-treat­ed, care­ful­ly curl­former-stretched hair, (took me all day) which I put in braids. She straight­ened it and it was beau­ti­ful and healthy, and took under an hour. I went in next time and let them wash it and use the blowdry­er to stretch it — it took over two hours, and was sad and bro­ken with mid-shaft splits I am still deal­ing with.

jjac401

This is an excel­lent arti­cle! Thank you!

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