If you have read any of my previous articles then you know how I feel about heat. I am not against the use of heat, many naturals use heat successfully in aiding for easier detangling sessions or just for appearance wise. I just know for someone who is trying to gain length and health it is easier in most cases to guarantee fruitful results if absolutely no heat in the mix and I only say this because some people do not understand or want to take all the precautions to use heat appliances and tools correctly for NATURAL hair. Unfortunately going to hair salons if you are a natural can sometimes be an epic fail because most of these businesses are on a time crunch to make room for more clients, resulting in more commission and just because of this factor higher amounts of heat are used on clients for faster results. Unless salons are spraying some type of burnt smelling incent, you should never smell a burning essence in the air ladies. Also remember just because a salon sells itself as specifically catering to Natural hair, do your research and do not be afraid to ask questions what temperature settings would they use for YOUR hair (depending on the condition, texture, strand thickness, density and porosity temperatures will vary for every individual), products, quality of tools, etc.

Now if you are trying to nurse your strands to health or gain more length another reason why I campaign no heat is because people’s idea of minimum heat use vary. In my personal opinion minimum heat use is once a month or less, using the lowest setting on heated tool or appliances as possible but if you truly know what it takes to use heat on your own natural hair in a healthy way then that is your prerogative and can be a safe alternative for temporary change but like everything, always in moderation!  Again I am not a heat Nazi but I do love to see women’s hair flourish to whatever hair goals that may have set no matter what visual preference of natural hair is preferred.  So these tips are dedicated to the ladies who prefer a little heat in the kitchen!

  • If you must use a blow dryer make sure the settings of the blow-dryer are at the lowest settings as possible.
  • Use of a thermal protector spray before you blow dry can assist in the prevention of heat damage. Thermal protectors employ natural materials to retain the heat and distribute along the hair shaft. A thin silicone layer encompasses the strands to add further protection against too much heat
  • Use of ceramic plated /coated tools are a safer option because the heat is more evenly disposed along your strands which will prevent smaller areas of your hair from possible heat damage or a tourmaline ionic blow dryer 
  • If you need to increase the temperature settings on heated tools I would suggest increments of 5 degrees or less.
  • Divide your hair into smaller sections when flat-ironing, pressing, curling or blow-drying. Smaller sections of hair require less amounts or lower temperatures of heat to achieve a desired look. If you are straightening, curling or blow drying larger masses of hair, more heat is required to reach through a thicker density. Much like taking a stack of paper and burning it versus a few sheets of paper, which one will burn faster? Also remember it is important to know the density of your individual strands. If you have fine strands less heat is required versus an individual who may have course strands.
  • Try placing your hair in a non-heat stretched style such as braids the night before you are planning to straighten or blow-dry your hair. Then let loose in the morning this will make your straightening process much easier since your strands will be semi straight and prevent less applications of heat to reach a more straight effect.
  • I know you may love your beloved heat tools but to take all precautions I would suggest discarding most tools after 5-6 years. The temperature setting or gauge is more likely to work incorrectly with age and you may not notice this change until it is too late.
  • Make sure you apply your thermal protector on clean hair. Hair that is full of product can change the effects of the protector producing strained coverage along your strands risking your tresses to heat damage
  • If you are not trying to achieve bone straight hair and are using heat tools or appliances to aid in easier detangling sessions a tip I created is to skip the usage of heat on your ends. The years I did use heat I would stop about 3-4 inches above my ends and dry stretch the ends through braids or bantu knots. Since your ends are the weakest part of your hair because they are the oldest if you can help avoid exposure to heat chances are you can avoid high risk of developing split ends from too much heat.
  • Use of heat on hair that is chemically free (including color) is advised. Only because chemicals strip your hair of its natural oils called sebum and adding heat can add more stress to your strands because this as well will strip your hair which makes your hair even more susceptible to breakage. If you are using a thermal protector this will definitely help but there is no guarantee for 100% coverage.
  • If you are planning to straighten, curl or blow dry your hair after your washing process please make sure your tresses are at least 85-90% dry. Using heat on damp hair definitely will increase your chances of heat damage.
  • Treat your hair like your body. Would you want to eat something without knowing what it is? No and that is why you should read the label same rules apply to your hair. Make sure to read the instructions of the tools and appliances you are using. The more equipped you are the better your results will be.

Ladies are there any other tips you would like to share for straightening natural tresses safely?