In my relaxed days, I would spend HOURS blow drying and flat ironing my hair. I welcomed the opportunity to wash & go or style & go my natural hair. I was no longer a slave to my heat appliances. Needless to say going heatless was an added bonus of wearing my hair natural.
Today, many influencers in the natural hair community are leading “No Heat Challenges” where you completely eliminate all forms of heat or just direct heat from blow dryers, curling and flat irons. It’s a noble cause to promote healthy natural hair.
Many have chosen to participate for many reasons; but all with hopes of longer, healthier hair. But some swear off heat because they have been victims of heat damage. Regardless of your reasoning, here are 5 Things You Should Know About The No Heat Challenge.
SEE ALSO: 5 Ways To Correct Heat Damage
1. It Won’t Repair Damage
It’s important to know that split, damage ends cannot be permanently mended or repaired despite some product claims. If your purpose for going heatless is to treat the present damage to your ends, a good trim is order before reaping full benefits of the No Heat Challenge.
2. Heat Isn’t The Only Cause of Damage
There are three major types of breakage which are mechanical, chemical, and environmental. Heat is a sub-type of mechanical or physical damage. There are so many other causes of breakage and damage in hair that heat is just one small component. If you’re noticing an excess of hair on your bathroom floor, taking a full assessment of your hair regimen is more beneficial than singling out one aspect of your regimen such as heat.
3. Wet Hair Is the Most Fragile
I’m sure you already know that your hair is at its weakest when wet. Handle your hair with extreme care when wet styling. Heat can be a major culprit of breakage but mechanical breakage from combing and styling can be just as severe. Be careful with seamed combs, old bobby pins, clips with metal closures, and other things that can easily snag and break hair. Lightly blow drying hair before styling can decrease breakage and smooth the hair cuticle.
4. Going Heatless Is Unnecessary
You don’t have to go completely heatless to obtain your goals of “long hair don’t care“. Heat damage is bad and irreparable. I won’t sugar coat it. One of my friends shared her story in Heat Damage and The Last Resort.
But sitting under a hooded dryer to set your style or to deep condition your hair is just fine and actually beneficial. Heat damage from indirect heat in comparisons to direct heat from blow dryers and curling irons is rare. Read 3 Reasons To Use Indirect Heat on Your Natural Hair
5. Going Heatless Isn’t The Only Way To Protect Your Hair
Don’t be afraid of heat damage, prevent it! I know a lot have women who have steered clear of all flat irons and blow dryers for fear of heat damage. Heat damage can happen if you don’t prevent it. The most important thing is understanding that hair can only be heat damaged at temperatures of 451 degrees or more. When high heat is applied directly to hair too often or too long, the hair will be burned or heat damaged. Keeping your heat appliances lower than that prevents damage as well as not using heating more than once a week.
Healthy hair is less susceptible to heat damage. If you know that your hair is dry and broken, steer clear. But if your hair is perfectly healthy, prevent heat damage by deep conditioning prior to using heat, apply a heat protectant, and use medium to low heat. I personally don’t recommend using direct heat of any kind more than once or twice a week. Even low temperature heat used everyday can harm your hair. Read 5 Ways To Prevent Heat Damage
Bonus: Have Realistic Goals
Throwing away your blow dryer isn’t going to miraculously guarantee waist length hair. If you’ve experienced any type of damage (dry, brittle split ends), heat may be just the tip of the iceberg. If your hair is already fragile heat can certainly exacerbate the problem for sure but may not be the only culprit. I recommend a full assessment of your regimen. A great course of action is scheduling a consultation with your stylist or referencing Audrey Sivasothy’s The Science of Black Hair which outlines assessments to improve your hair’s health.
Have You Accepted The No Heat Challenge? Why or Why Not?
Tell us by commenting below
Blow Dry Hair Disadvantages says
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Very necessary piece! Especially amidst so many no-heat-challenge posts out there. Thank you!