How to Avoid Heat Damage on Natural Hair March 23 2018
Curious about how to avoid heat damage on natural hair? You’ve probably heard tons of warnings about not using heat on natural hair, but you might feel the need to rebel and do it anyway.
The good news is that you can successfully heat your hair without damaging it, but you just need to use certain precautions. It’s wise to research about the best way to do it beforehand, so you can avoid irreparable damage to your curls.
In this post, you’ll find out the best ways to use heated styling methods without damage.
Stretch Your Hair Before Everything Else
The best way to avoid heat damage is to not use heat at all. High heat can cause the water inside of your hair’s cortex to overheat and boil. Try using a heat-free method of straightening your hair. No-heat methods won’t get kinky hair super straight, but you’ll be able to loosen the curl pattern for styling and manageability.
However, if you must use heat, try stretching your hair first. Stretching will get it semi-straight, and that means you won’t have to heat the hair as much. Stretching methods include twisting, braiding, bantu knots, and banding.
Wash and detangle your hair before you heat-style, but make sure your hair is completely dry and stretched before beginning your heat process.
Consider Seeing a Professional
Hair stylists know more about heat damage than we do because they’re educated on the subject, and they know how to heat the hair safely. Try visiting a pro If you want to make sure your hair stays damage-free.
Be sure to visit a stylist that specializes in natural hair, since type 4 hair requirements are different from less curly hair types. A professional salon job may be affordable for your budget if you only do it a couple times per year.
Limit the Number of Heat Tools You Use
Most ladies that want to straighten their hair will blow dry it first, and flat iron it after. But if you want healthy curls, consider only using one tool.
Theoretically, the blow dryer is used for drying hair. Instead, try air-drying overnight while stretching your natural hair. Then you’ll only need to flat iron in the morning.
A word of caution though: Flat irons tend to be worse for your hair than blow dryers. Once you place the delicate strands between two hot plates, damage can occur.
Plus, flat iron temperatures tend to be hotter, and you typically hold the flat iron on a strand for longer time than you’d do with a blow dryer.
So, if you’re trying to decide between blow drying and flat ironing, choose blow drying. Or an even less direct option would be to use an overhead dryer. See more about that below.
Use Indirect Heat to Avoid Damage
One of the best ways to avoid heat damage is to avoid placing the heat directly on the strands. An overhead dryer on a low-heat setting will be much better for your hair, though you won’t get it bone-straight. Plus, you’d need to use rollers to set the hair.
Soft, bonnet-style hood dryers are less expensive than the hard, professional-quality dryers you see at the salons. You’d still need to hook it up to a blow dryer, but you probably already own one.
However, if you’re set on using a blow dryer without the soft hood, try putting a ceramic diffuser onto the end of your blow dryer to spread out the heat more evenly.
A diffuser will be gentler on your curls and will reduce frizz. Using an anti-frizz serum will help to keep frizz at bay too.
Be sure to use your blow dryer on the lowest heat setting with whichever method you choose.
How to Protect Hair from Flat Iron Heat Damage
If you’ve decided to use a flat iron on your natural hair, you’ll need to coat each strand beforehand with a quality heat protectant. Most heat protectants are loaded with chemicals and silicones, but a dosage of these is better than facing heat damage.
A good heat protectant will form a shield around the hair shaft to help you avoid heat contact. Try HSI Professional or Xtava Thermal Heat Protectant Spray for the best results.
Set your flat iron to a low setting. 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for kinky hair, but you should also pay attention to the thickness of your strands. Use the lower temperature for fine hair, and higher for coarse natural hair.
Also, you may be tempted to pass the iron over your mane twice to get it bone-straight, but this second pass would expose the hair to more heat. Only use one pass when you’re flat ironing your hair to avoid overheating the strands.
You might be wondering how often you can use heat-styling on your natural hair. The answer depends on the condition of your hair, but it’s best to limit heat usage to special occasions only.
It’s crucial to back up all heat usage with nourishment to counteract any potential dryness or breakage. Be sure to strengthen your curls on your next wash day with a reparative protein treatment and a deep conditioning mask.
Protein will help to fill in the gaps from any possible damage, and the deep conditioner will infuse moisture into your hair.
Now, it’s your turn to discuss. Do you use heat to style your hair, and if so, have you been able to avoid heat damage on natural hair?