Let’s be honest.
You know that using tools like dryers and heated hair curlers or straighteners regularly can really damage your hair, but you still use them because you need your hair to be dry like 5 hours ago and those curls just aren’t gonna straighten themselves. Heat damage is just a necessary sacrifice that must be made to get that smooth, sleek look that so many of us want…or is it? What if I told you that there are measures that you can take to prevent heat damage when styling you natural hair? Well there are, and here are some tips on how best to use them to protect your hair:
The first thing you should do to prevent your hair from getting heat damage is to DEEP CONDITION it. This is a process that can be started anywhere from an hour to a day or two before you intend to straighten or curl your hair with a heated instrument. If you’re starting the day before, you can apply the deep conditioner of your choice, wrap your hair up in a plastic cap and keep it on overnight. The longer you can deep condition your hair, the more moisture it will be able to absorb, but if you don’t have the luxury of time, you can wear your plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer for a minimum of 30 minutes. The moisture that your hair gets from the deep conditioning process is what will help protect you hair against heat damage from your styling tools.
The next tip is concerned with how you DRY YOUR HAIR. The best option is to allow your hair to air-dry, but this of course requires the luxury of time. If time isn’t on your side, you can use a blow dryer. It is best to use your hair dryer at medium or low heat settings as higher temperatures can quickly damage your hair. You should also use a good quality dryer that will be able to efficiently manage the amount of heat being used. Before you blow dry, gently use a towel to soak up the excess water and then apply a heat protectant. Using a heat protectant is a very important step as it forms a barrier between heat and your hair. For the best results you should also use a light moisturizer on you hair before you add a heat protectant.
Once your hair is dry, you’re now ready to take on the FLAT or CURLING IRON. There are a few basic pointers when it comes to using the these styling tools:
Make sure you have a flat or curling iron with a temperature setting. You need to control your heat to somewhere between 320F and 350F, you will know after you have used it a couple times what works best for your hair. Some people can take much higher heat with no damage but going above 380F is not recommended.
Before heat styling, you might to want to smooth some anti-frizz serum and oil treatment of your choice unto each section of hair to provide extra heat protection. The advantage of this is that they make your hair more slippery, allowing the curler or flat iron to pass through quickly, reducing the heat exposure while also enhancing the outcome of the desired style.
Style your hair in small sections and try not to curl or straighten the same section too many times. You also should not use heated instruments to style your natural hair more than once a week. Limiting the amount of heat that your hair is exposed to will go a long way to preventing heat damage and hair loss.
If you used a flat iron to straighten your hair you can complete the process by WRAPPING YOUR HAIR up gently in satin or silk scarf and then sitting under a hooded dryer (at low or medium settings) for another 20 to 30 minutes or better yet, skip the dryer and just keep it wrapped for an hour or so. The great thing about satin and silk is that they do not soak up the moisture from your hair, drying it out as other materials might. Cotton, for example, can do more harm than good as it will drain your hair of moisture, making it brittle and encouraging hair damage.
These tips can be used not only to help protect your hair from heat damage, but they will also improve the overall health of your hair and your style will come out looking better too!
Do you have any tips on how to protect natural hair from heat damage? We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your tips, suggestions or comments below.
Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity