For the new year, I wanted to start with fresh hair. So I set up a hair appointment to get my hair straightened and my ends trimmed. I decided to not be overly cautious of heat damage — like I usually am. So when my hair was done, it was laid, hunty. LAID! Too laid… So laid, that when I tried to revert my hair, it would not cooperate. My hair would just NOT curl right. Normally, I would freak out. But although I was highly annoyed, I turned to the internet to find some solutions. Some were great remedies, while others I found were riddled with misinformation. Over the last few weeks, I have been doing various treatments to get my hair back to optimum health.
See Also: 5 Ways To Prevent Heat Damage
Here are some tips I have learned thus far:
Assess the Heat Damage
The most important step is to do an initial assessment of the damage. Are there any straight pieces? Is there a loss of elasticity? Take a look at past pictures and compare your curls. After looking at pictures, I was able to determine which sections of my hair had a naturally looser curl pattern vs. hair that was heat damaged.
Clarify Your Hair
To straighten your hair, you often load your hair with lots of products like blow-dry creams and straightening serums. These products, usually laden with silcones, can be difficult to get out with sulfate-free shampoo alone. They may even make your hair look dull and lifeless. To start with a clean state, clarify your hair with your clarifying shampoo of choice or use a clarifying alternative like bentonite clay or apple cider vinegar.
Do Protein Treatments
There are lots of protein treatment options on the market. Aphogee makes both a heavy protein treatment, Aphogee 2-Step Protein Treatment, as well as a milder one Aphogee 2-Minute Reconstructor. You can also try homemade remedies like egg protein treatments and dark beer rinses. Whatever you choose, it is important to note that results may take some time. Depending on the severity of the damage, one treatment will not do the trick. Felicia Leatherwood recommends bi-weekly treatment for three months. (You don’t want to overload your hair with protein. This is only recommended in extreme circumstances.)
See Also: DIY vs. Store Brought Protein Treatments
Reassess Your Hair
After three months of treatment, reassess your hair. With each treatment, I have noticed a difference in curl definition and elasticity. At first, sections of my hair would remain straight. Some sections of my hair were lacking elasticity and refused to “spring back” normally. I even had issues with the edges of my hair straightening when I pulled them into a puff. I took note of each particular issue and have tracked my progress with each treatment. Last week, I had my first successful twistout. Yay! The last few twistouts were riddled with pieces that would not curl. I still have a few ends that are having issues curling, but for the most part my hair is rebounding well.
Cut/Trim Irreversible Damage
Before you pull out the scissors, it’s important to wait until after your initial assessment, in addition to your reassessment a few weeks later. If after repeated treatments, it looks like the damage is irreversible, you should cut or trim the damaged hair to prevent breakages and split ends. You can either cut out all of the heat damage or trim a little at a time. In extreme cases, this may require a transition or a second big chop. Over the next few months, I plan on cutting out irreversible damage with regular trims. I’ve already cut a few strands that were damaged beyond repair.
See Also: 2nd Big Chop After Heat Damage
Its important to remember that heat damage isn’t the end of the world. Although it can not be reversed, with care you can gradually rebuild the strength of your hair.
Have you ever experienced heat damage? How have you recovered from heat damage?