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How to Repair Heat Damaged Curly Hair

It starts with a consistent routine and the right hair care products.
17 Mar 2023
Loving your natural curls doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up once in a while and straighten your hair. With the proper heat protection, tools and products, it’s easy to change up your hair without causing any harm to it. However, if straightening your hair goes wrong, you can be left with heat damage and lackluster curls, and the same is true of using a blow dryer or other hot tools.

Natural hair heat damage is real, and reviving your curls after a blowout or super sleek straight style can take time and work. But while it’s a long journey, it is possible to revive your hair, and we have plenty of tips on the topic of heat damage repair. Read on to see how you can get started to repair heat damaged curly hair.

What Causes Heat Damage In Curly Hair?

Let’s start with the source: What causes natural hair heat damage? 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 curly hair is not using heat protectant to save your hair from excess heat styling. Whether you straighten, curl, or blow dry your hair frequently or every once in a while, heat protectant should be a part of your hair care and styling routine every single time you break out the hot tools.

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 and 400 degrees, which should be the highest temperature for your hot tools.

It’s also best to avoid heat styling wet hair. Your strands should be at least 75 percent 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.

How to Identify Heat Damaged Hair

It’s not always obvious you’ve done damage to your hair with hot tools, but one obvious sign of heat damaged curls is that 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, and you may struggle 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. Your hair may feel dry and stringy and break or tangle easily. Lastly, you may have split ends and frizz along the hair shaft.

Find Your Personalized Routine!
Know your curls better than ever before! Our quick and easy 5-step quiz, which uses powerful data to determine your hair type, will help you understand your strands. Set aside a couple of minutes to answer some simple questions, and we’ll take care of the rest. At the end, we’ll identify your curl type and main hair concerns, and provide expert tips, product recommendations, and a personalized routine. The journey to gorgeous hair starts now. Click Here to find your personalized routine.

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 you start the heat damage repair process or how do you fix your heat damaged curly 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 your 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. In other words, you’d have to cut off healthy hair to prevent your hair from looking patchy and odd. The good news is, it’s possible to repair your heat damaged curls without making the big chop, but it does take time and patience to help your curls bounce back from excessive heat damage.

How to Repair 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 love and care. Here are four tips on how to treat your heat damaged curly hair.

1. Avoid Damaging Hairstyles and Styling Techniques

As mentioned, start by giving the heat styling a break to prevent any further damage. 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, bleaching, and 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.

2. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Heat damaged hair is often dry and lacks moisture, so a cleanser that promotes keeping moisture in the hair is necessary, and sulfate-free shampoos won't strip hair of natural oils that it needs to stay healthy. Try the Born To Repair Sulfate-Free Nourishing Shampoo to wash and repair your hair without making your strands overly dry or brittle.

3. Overload on Moisture

Heat damaged curly hair can have trouble holding in moisture, so you need to build a hair care routine around nourishing and protecting your hair. Start by using a hydrating and repairing conditioner like the Born To Repair Nourishing Conditioner With Shea Butter, then add 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 like the Coco Creme Curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask is an ideal pick for hydrating hair with its velvety cream texture and moisturizing Coco Crème recipe.

The Born To Repair 60-Second Moisture Treatment With Shea Butter is formulated with shea butter, Amazonian nut oil and babassu oil to hydrate your strands and helps seal the hair's cuticle. Use it after shampooing and before conditioning.

Leave-in conditioners also provide hydration, and we recommend the Born To Repair Defining Leave-In Cream With Shea Butter to give your curls and coils definition and restores moisture.

4. Protect Your Hair

When you do go back to heat styling your hair (we aren’t banning it forever!), be sure to grab a heat protectant, like the Monoi (Repair + Protect) Multi-Styling Milk. But overall be sure to keep the heat styling to a minimum and only use your hot tools with low temps, around 350 to 400 degrees.

Can Heat Damaged Hair Grow?

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. Fortunately, hair grows from the root, so heat damage won’t stop your hair growth completely, it may just slow it down — so if your hair isn’t growing past a certain length, this may be the reason why. But as long as you follow the aforementioned tips and add repair products to your hair care routine, you should see your growth process improve.

Next Up: 12 Low-Maintenance Hairstyles for Curly Hair

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