There are times curly-haired ladies want to blow dry their hair to try out a new style or prior to installing extensions. However, this can lead to heat damaged hair over time.
Some ladies get heat damage the first time they blow dry and some ladies blow dry for months repeatedly before they realize their hair is damaged. It doesn’t matter what your hair type is either. Every hair type is prone to heat damage. This can be very distressing when you’ve put in so much time and hard work to reach your goal length.
What is Heat Damage & 4 Signs of Heat Damaged Hair
Heat damage usually occurs via two ways – when the heat setting of the blow dryer/flat-iron is too high and/or repeated blow drying and/or flat ironing on high heat settings over a period of time, which could be anything from as little as a month to as much as a year. You can tell your hair is heat damaged via the following ways:
- It doesn’t revert back to its natural curly state after washing and deep conditioning several times.
- It starts tangling every time you handle it.
- When you run your hand along the hair shaft, it feels rough and prickly especially the ends.
- When you tug a strand or few strands of your hair when wet, it doesn’t bounce back or breaks off easily.
It’s important to note some of the symptoms above are also symptoms of very dry hair. Read on for what to do to identify the difference.
Can I Repair Heat Damaged Hair?
Unfortunately, heat damage isn’t reversible irrespective of whatever magical solution you read about online. Sometimes, however, overly dry hair can masquerade as heat damaged hair so I would recommend the following steps:
- Clarify with a good sulphate shampoo. This will strip your hair but don’t get scared. It’s only for one time use. A good recommendation is ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo or TRESemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo.
- Apply a mild protein treatment like Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Kertain Reconstructor or a serious protein treatment like Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment or Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus depending on how sensitive your hair is.
- Follow up with an excellent deep conditioning treatment like tgin Honey Miracle Mask, Darcy’s Botanicals Deep Conditioning Moisturising Hair Mask, Camille Rose Naturals Renew Deep Conditioner or Elasta QP Deep Penetrating Conditioner. There are many other brands that work just as well.
If your hair doesn’t revert back to it’s curly state after the protein treatment, it’s time to chop it off or grow out the heat damage while trimming over time.
How Can I Prevent Heat Damage?
This is the same steps I’ve been using on my hair for years and I have never experienced heat damage. My hair reverts back on wash day.
- Wash your hair with a great moisturizing shampoo like Crème of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo, Renpure Organics Argan Oil Shampoo or Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisturizing Shampoo. I also use Castile Soap diluted with distilled or bottled water.
- Deep condition for about 45 minutes with your favourite deep conditioner. Rinse and let your hair air dry up to around 60%.
- Part hair into 6 – 8 sections. Smaller sections are easier to work with and won’t annoy you.
- Apply a leave in conditioner (I use Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner/Detangler), then a light layer of oil (I use grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil), then twist each section and pin up. I don’t use commercial heat protectants because they make my hair sticky but I’ve heard good things about TRESemme Heat Tamer Spray, Giovanni 2Chic Ultra-Moist Leave-in Spray & John Frieda Frizz Ease Heat Defeat.
- Take down each section, finger comb until you’ve worked out any knots, then blow dry with the tension method on medium settings. Once straight, apply a light butter and work through, twist again and pin back up. Watch this video for an explanation of the tension method.
- Repeat for each section until done, then unpin all the sections and work your fingers through and that’s it.
I do this whenever I want to braid, which is usually 2 – 3 times a year. If I wore braid outs, I would probably use this method too.
This is the combination of products I apply to my hair. You can replace with something else that is preferable to your hair. Below are some pictures of my hair after using this method and you can see, it was straight enough.
If you have any questions about avoiding heat damage or what to do about your heat damaged hair, let me know in the comments section.