What Causes Heat Damage?
Let’s start with the source: what causes natural hair heat damage? It’s not just the use of hot tools like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers. While using hot tools increases your chances of curly hair heat damage, it’s using them improperly that’s the biggest culprit. One major cause of heat damaged hair is not using a heat protectant to save your hair from excess heat styling. Whether you straighten your hair frequently or every once in a while, a heat protectant should be a part of your hair care routine.
Another way you may be causing natural hair heat damage is by using tools like flat irons and curling irons at temperatures higher than 350 to 400 degrees, which should be your cutoff point. And be sure to limit the number of times you pass the hot tool over your hair to help keep your curls in shape. Also, try to avoid heat styling wet hair. Your mane should be at least 75% dry before blow-drying and completely dry prior to heat styling with tools like flat irons and curling irons. Your hair should also be clean to prevent burning product buildup or dirt on your hair.
You don’t have to be afraid of heat styling, but you should be sure you’re doing all you can to keep your hair happy and healthy. Avoid excessive heat styling and in between styling sessions, be sure to keep hair nourished and moisturized with deep conditioning treatments and hair masks, like the Coco Creme Curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask and Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Hair Smoothie.
What Does Heat Damaged Hair Look Like?
It’s not always obvious you’ve done damage to your hair with hot tools. Here’s how to identify heat damaged hair. One obvious sign of curly hair heat damage is damaged curls; you may notice your curls look straighter or looser with your first wash after heat styling. Your curl pattern may also appear and feel completely different after heat damage, with you struggling to get your bouncy curl back. Along with a lack of curl, your hair may also lack shine and elasticity.
In addition to looser curls and straighter strands, heat damaged hair won’t hold moisture as well as healthy hair, which leads to dry, brittle strands. Some other easy-to-spot signs of heat damaged hair lie in how it feels. It may feel dry and stringy to the touch and break or tangle easily. Lastly, you may have split ends, frizz, and visible damage along the hair shaft.
Can Heat Damaged Hair Be Repaired?
If you’ve looked at your hair and realized it’s damaged, there are probably more than a few questions swirling around your head, like “how can I start the heat damage repair process?” and “how can I fix my heat damaged hair without cutting it?” Sure, chopping off damaged hair can help speed things up, but we don’t blame you if you don’t want to sacrifice length. Heat damage can be uneven across your hair, occurring in some parts and not others, which means it can take a substantial “trim” to even things out.
The good news is, it’s possible to repair your heat damaged curls without making the big chop. But it takes time and patience to help your curls bounce back from excessive heat damage—you won’t get your curls back overnight.
How To Treat Heat Damaged Hair
To revive damaged hair, you’ll have to give heat styling a break and work on nourishing and moisturizing your curls. You want to prevent further damage by putting down the hot tools and giving your hair extra TLC. Here are three tips on how to treat your heat damaged hair.
Tip #1: Prevent Further Damage
As mentioned, start by giving the heat styling a break to prevent any further damage. Focus on hair care, and opt for protective styles and styles that give you curls without excessive styling, like braid-outs or twist-outs. Try to avoid other potential causes of hair damage as well, like hair dyeing, bleach damage, and overly tight hairstyles. A small trim can also help get rid of some of the visible natural hair heat damage and split ends to prevent hair breakage.
Tip #2: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Heat damaged hair can have trouble holding in moisture, so you need to build a hair care routine around nourishing and protecting your hair. Start by adding heat damaged hair products, like a deep conditioning mask, to your wash day routine. Opt for a mask that will moisturize your hair and lock hydration in; the Coco Creme Curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask is an ideal pick for hydrating hair.
You can also restore shine to your hair with a glossy oil, like Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Hair Sheen. And use leave-in conditioners. We recommend the Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Leave-in Conditioner to add more of that much-needed hydration and shine. Gentle natural hair products will be your best friend while repairing your hair, so take a closer look at your curly hair care and be sure to skip products with harmful ingredients.
Tip #3: Protect Your Hair
When you do heat style your hair (we aren’t banning it forever), be sure to grab a heat protectant, like the Pracaxi Nectar Straight Blow Dry Cream. Other ways to prevent damage are to keep the heat and heat styling to a minimum, and only use your hot tools with low temps, around 350 to 400 degrees. We also have a few more tips for how to protect your hair from heat damage in the summer.
Can Heat Damaged Hair Grow?
Thankfully, hair grows from the root, so heat damage won’t stop your hair growth completely, but it may slow it down. If your hair is dry and brittle, it may lead to breakage and split ends that can continue up the hair shaft and affect hair growth. If your hair isn’t growing past a certain length, this may be the reason why.
Now that you’re starting the process of heat damage repair, it’s time to check out some no-heat hairstyles. Here are 12 Low-Maintenance Hairstyles For Curly Hair.