Heat Damage: How to Deal and Avoid it

Many naturalista’s are afraid of using heat due to the chance of heat damage. There are some ways to deal and avoid it. Once heat damage has already occurred, the first thought that comes to mind is cut off the heat damaged area. Drastic! I know I’ve been there. The fact of the matter is that dependent upon the damage, there is still hope. Of course everyone’s hair is different.

In my youth, I was known to perm my hair and to wear sew-in weaves with leave-out hair on the sides and edges. I wanted to look like the individuals that I was around, not knowing the consequences of my actions. Having to use a flat iron to keep it straight daily was taking a toll on my hair. Until this day I still have a small amount of damage to the front of my hair, but it will curl up, unlike before. You can barely tell it was damaged. It just looks like another texture like my mixed textured hair.

Dealing with Heat Damage

However, repairing heat damaged hair is a process. The ONE thing that has helped me exceptionally is to condition, condition, condition! Something so simple, with amazing results. Note that this is not a quick fix. It has taken me a few months to even see significant results due to the extent of my damage. Significantly reducing heat and deep conditioning twice a week is sufficient to start the process. After your first four weeks of conditioning, be sure to do a light to protein treatment such as Palmer’s coconut oil deep conditioning protein pack (left). You do NOT want to do a hard protein treatment with fragile strands. After your third month of conditioning, then a hard protein treatment such as Aphogee two step protein treatment (right) will be acceptable.

Avoiding Heat Damage

Some steps that I have taken to avoid heat damage were simple but not so easy. Now that I am completely natural it is so much easier to avoid heat. The only time heat is used is during my deep conditioning and straightening days. Some steps that you can take to avoid heat damage include:

  1. Reduce the amount of heat that you use, preferably once every week and gradually step down if you must still use heat.

  2. Preserve your style for longer by keeping the scalp and hair hydrate. For straight hair use dry shampoo for your hair color (light/medium/dark, blonde/brown/black), wrap hair, pin-curl, and use a satin bonnet  or pillowcase to keep moisture in the hair. The ends of the hair will stay styled, for long periods of time. I have actually gone four weeks without re-adding heat and probably could have gone longer. Ensuring that my scalp (roots) stayed straight was the hard task. Once the new growth was no longer wrap-able, a wash needed to be performed, and the straightening process performed again. For curly, coily, or kinky hair allow the hair to air dry or use a diffuser.

  3. Deep condition at least once per week and protein treatment 1-2 times a year as needed.

  4. Use protective styles that do not require heat (braids, bantu knots, wigs, twist/braid outs, mini twists, marley twists, crochet braids, up-dos).

Heat damage is nothing to joke about. Your hair is your crown and is an extension of your body and should be taken care of as such. I hope you enjoyed these tips to deal and avoid heat damage. Let me know what works for you when it comes to dealing with and/or avoid heat damage.

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