Hey Curlfriends! ❤
My hair flat ironed (2014)
The majority of us curlies have dealt with heat damage at some point in our hair journey. It sucks! Like I’ve stated many times, I was obsessed with my flat iron for many years. I made sure I pressed and flat ironed my hair weekly. Yes y’all, weekly. I would rarely condition my hair and never really used heat protectants. Because I didn’t wear my hair curly too often, I really didn’t see the damage I was doing. It wasn’t until I began learning about natural hair, realizing how I was damaging my hair and made the decision to leave heat alone. I made the decision to do a mini BC (big chop) in 2011 to get rid of my ends and to start fresh. I started with bra strap length hair and had my beautician chop my hair to my jaw. From there, I made a commitment of no heat for one year. And it was one of the best things I ever did!
It’s a lot, so gon’head and get yourself a snack (lol) and read on…
How to prevent heat damage:
>> I cant stress enough (in almost every post) the importance of moisture! Before applying any heat you should always deep condition! Deep conditioning is so crucial ladies! Moisture is like a protectant against the heat. The dryer your hair the more likely it will be damaged!
>> Try to air dry your hair as much as you can before blow drying.. You can always stretch your hair by braiding or banding. Blow drying your hair while soaking wet affects it’s elasticity. You should never start blow drying your hair when it is soaking wet. If you don’t have the time to air dry or stretch your hair, try to towel dry your hair as much as you can before blow drying. When you blow dry make sure to always keep the blow dryer moving. Don’t let it sit in one part of your hair for too long.
>> Always, always alllllways use a heat protectant! So very important. Heat protectants are made to absorb the heat and help to seal the cuticles which ultimately protects the hair shaft. I like to use TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, it always gets the job done for me. I spritz before blow drying and then again before flat ironing. Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray is so light weight it doesn’t weigh my hair down.
>> Do REGULAR protein treatments! Especially before straightening! Protein treatments are designed to fortify the hair preventing breakage, as well as correcting any issues with elasticity. It’s so important to do protein treatments once every six weeks. Make sure you deep condititon after doing a protein treatment. I LOVE Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment. When using this product it’s so important to follow the directions carefully.
>> Select the right heat setting! If you have coarse hair, your hair can handle a higher heat. If you have thinner hair please be cognoscente of your flat iron’s heat settings.
For fine or damaged hair: 250-300 degrees
For medium/average hair: 300-350 degrees
For thick or coarse hair: 350-400 degrees
How to recover from heat damage:
I’m just gonna keep it all the way real…the only way that you can get rid of heat damage is to cut the damage off. No product is going to “get rid of” damage, once it is damaged… that is it. HOWEVER! There are things you can do to nurse your hair back to health which in turn can bring “some” curl back. I experienced a TON of heat damage and I have tried everything under the sun. Below I explain what worked for me.
- It’s important to cut your heat OFF at least for 3 to 6 mos. Try 3 full months of no heat then increase. I went cold turkey for one year and it helped my hair DRAMATICALLY! Don’t fret, lol. With Youtube, blogs and IG there are a TON of heatless styles you can do during this time!
- Deep condition hair every week with heat to restore moisture levels and repair damaged areas.
- Use a reconstructor! “A hair reconstructor is a specialized hair conditioner designed specifically to help severely damaged hair. What separates a hair reconstructor from a regular conditioner is its focus beyond simply moisturizing. Hair reconstructors fix breaks, cracks and weakened areas of the hair shaft with a combination of micro-proteins, macro-proteins and polymers”. (I used Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair and L’Oreal Reconstructor Conditioner $3.99).
- After about 3-6 months of no heat and the steps mentioned above, you should start to see some reversion depending on the extent of damage. This is the time when you decide if you feel the need to trim and or cut these areas. Sometimes cutting your hair helps your hair to curl right back. You can begin trimming if you prefer not to chop the damage off. Trimming those areas little by little instead of doing a BC is still effective it just takes longer. I use a perm rod in certain areas where there is heat damage for my wash and go and you can’t even tell the difference! LOL!
- When you make the transition back to using heat, try to limit your heat styling sessions to twice a month with no touch ups in between.
Tip: It’s so important to focus on the elasticity of your hair, as this allows your hair to bounce back after styling. For an elasticity treatment I really like ApHogee Curlific Texture Treatment $9.49. This products restores elasticity, helps eliminate hair loss and helps eliminate hair breaks and split ends.
6 mos down with my commitment of no heat for one year. Heat damage was improving. (08/2011)
My bone straight hair (2014)
My hair (01/2014)
Don’t give up! Although you cannot get rid of damaged hair, these steps and my photos PROVE that you can nurse your hair back to health! I’m a witness 🙂
Until next time Curlies! XO!