Here are 5 Ways You Can Protect Your Natural Hair From Heat Damage. Direct heat from blow dryers and flat irons can cause hair breaking damage and a loss of natural curl pattern. But with these tips you can assess and protect the health of your natural hair.
Understand How Much Heat is Too Much
Hair burns or begins to denature at 450F. The temperature is less for fine hair or hair that is weak and damaged. If you’re experimenting with heat for the first time, use medium to low heat settings. And invest in a professional blow dry like this one from Chi. Use flat or curling irons with accurate temperature gauges like CHI Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron.
Know Your Natural Hair
Everyone’s hair is different. It’s for this reason that you must know your hair and its heat tolerance. Damaged hair is more susceptible to heat damage. Doing a hair assessment will help you determine whether or not you should introduce heat to your regimen. Identify for your hair’s condition by examining softness, hair texture (finer hair textures can be more easily damaged by heat) and elasticity (hair stretches without breaking easily).
Prepare Your Hair
Prepare your hair for heat styling by moisturizing & deep conditioning. Moisturizing and deep conditioning will strengthen your natural hair. This also ensure that the hair cuticle is closed and coated for a smooth look. Before a heat treatment I deep condition with a product that builds the natural proteins of my hair like Hair Mayonnaise. I also like to use coconut oil that prevents damage in 5 different ways.
Use Heat Protectant
This is the only time that I recommend a silicone based product. Heat protectant creates a barrier between your hair and heat exposure. Silicones coat the hair and prevent moisture for reaching the hair shaft. This prevents reversion but on the flip side it keeps moisturizers from absorbing your hair so moisturize with a light moisturizer before using a heat protectant.
Limit Heat Exposure
Anything in excess is detrimental and heat is no exception. I wouldn’t recommend using direct heat on your natural hair any more than once a week. Less if your hair is easily damaged. Start off with a small amount of heat to see how your hair reacts or only use medium to low heat when styling.
Bonus: Let a Professional Do It
Ok. This is a tough one because I know that many have suffered heat damage at the hands of a professional stylist. It’s sad but it happens. I recommend following the steps above in addition to getting a referral for an experienced stylist.
I got a referral from a friend of mine who also has natural hair. I noticed that her stylist blow dried and flat iron her hair without any damage on a few of occasions. Even though I’ve seen her work, I didn’t completely leave it in her hands. I still deep conditioned prior to my appointment and ask that she use a heat protectant like Chi Silk Infusion.