You have washed your hair, prayed, conditioned, prayed, hot oiled treatment, conditioned and prayed a little more and now you are at the beginning stages of slightly freaking out which will soon lead to extreme levels of hysteria!!! Where in the hell are your curls! Let me tell you first -hand I have experienced heat damage to the point where not only did I experience straight pieces of strands but 4-5 inches above my ends were literally just snapping off about the rate of a stampede during a 24 hour 20 dollar designer sample sale. The picture above is years ago when my hair was eventually damaged by over use of heat every single week until I was left with memories of what a curl looked like. If you are unsure of the signs or experiencing heat damage and wondering what the fudge you can do about it. Sit down and take a deep breath. I will explain the tell-tale signs, the reasons why your hair suffered damage, possible ways to repair depending on the amount of damage and hair care practices. Also how to prevent further heat damage!

Signs

  • Natural hair texture after washing or wetting of strands fails to return to natural state. Depending on the amount of damage curls could appear slightly or extremely looser from original form or the curl could be compromised all together. Leaving you with straight hair or semi straight pieces.
  • Ends of your hair are experiencing excessive split ends and or breakage
  • Hair feels severely dry and rough and appears dull

Reasons

  • The curlier the hair the more fragile because at every curling point along the strand is a potential point of breakage which means adding any type of stress that will not implement moisture but instead strip can cause breakage
  • The sebum which is basically the natural oils the glands from your scalp produce have more difficulty disposing along curly strands especially to the end of our strands because of the curly road your natural oils have to travel versus traveling down naturally straight or wavy hair.
  • Direct heat tools or appliances can cause the cuticles of your strands to be stripped off or break away from the surrounding fibers. The explanation for this is because heat tools or appliances can literally instantly drain the moisture from your hair which can cause the outer layer (the cuticles) to expand and release moisture of your strands that were trapped in.
  • The use of heat appliances at levels that are detrimental to the state of your natural curls
  • No application of a heat protecting conditioner, lotion or spray
  • Product buildup such as self-applied oils can aid in increasing the heat temperatures placed on your strands by heat tools and appliances.

Repair

  • Moisturize your hair with humectants.  Humectants possess a chemical structure that attracts water from the atmosphere so this means most humectants can attract and hold moisture within your hair as well as containing protein and botanicals
  • Applying leave-in conditioners can also assist in retaining additional moisture for your strands to absorb.
  • Deep condition treatments. To achieve the most effective results from your deep conditioner wrap your hair with a hot towel and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
  • Try to leave your hair slightly damp more frequently by spritzing water on your strands. One of the main results of heat damage is excessive drying so your hair desperately needs as much moisture as possible to regenerate back to health. The longer your strands are wet the more your hair shaft can absorb moisture which will reach the cortex of your strands.
  • Purchase conditioners that have high moisture retaining abilities which can restore moisture so search for ingredients such as mineral oils, silicones, amino acid and or panthenol.
  • Hot oil treatments that can be left in overnight then wash hair in the morning with an all -natural shampoo or your favorite conditioner
  • Your hair is made of proteins so digest foods rich in proteins such as fruits & vegetables, chicken, fish and nuts, etc
  • Cutting the hair that has been damaged. Depending on the severity of the hair sometimes the heat damage can be irreversible.
  • Wearing hair in updo loose styles if you have experienced heat damage can protect your ends from the elements for example the sun and wind and prevent further damage. Notice I did say loose updo styles. Too much tension from tight braids or styles can cause further breakage since your strands are presently in a weak state.

Prevent

  • Air-dry your strands. I know this will take longer maybe additional hours to your drying routine but if your hair is experiencing heat damage you want to diminish any amount of heat you use on your strands
  • Diminish the use of heat or really cut back on heat at least once a month or less if you have experienced heat damage also the settings of all your heat tools should be as low as possible if you cannot wean yourself away from heat tools and appliances. Make sure to use a thermal protector on your hair as well but I would strongly suggest to sustain from any heat while you are nursing your strands back to health.

In the end some of these suggestions may work while others or all will have no effect it depends entirely on the severity of the damage and hair care practices afterwards but if the damage is not too detrimental, in some cases the effects of heat damage can be reversible with reviving back your natural state or some form of a curl.

*Stay tuned later this week and I will discuss tips on how to use heated tools and appliances properly. I may not use heat but for ladies who can’t see my practices as an option I would at least like to suggest tips for safer heat use :)