Heat damage to natural hair is every curly girl’s worst nightmare. By now I’m pretty sure you know I’ve vowed to give up heat on my natural hair for 2016. As a victim of heat damage, I’d had enough and decided it was time for a drastic change. Surprisingly, I did not know so many other women were going through the same thing. Of course, we cherish our curls, but there’s always the moment where you want to do a quick length check – just to see how much “hang time” you’re working with and watch your hair flow through the wind. Unfortunately, this is also met with heat damage if the straightening process isn’t done correctly. Here are 5 steps to overcome heat damage if you have also found yourself in this situation.
5 Steps to Overcome Heat Damage
1. Assess the Situation: To Cut or Not to Cut?
So what exactly is heat damage? Heat damage occurs when the keratin bonds within the hair are broken, resulting in a permanent physical change of your hair structure. Heat damage at this level is irreversible, but there are products that can help to strengthen the hair after damage. Depending on how much damage has actually occurred, the best option is to cut the damage. Because my damage was from root to tip I chose to grow my hair out for 8 months. Otherwise, I would be required to big chop. This is totally a great option as well. However, when I felt my hair was long enough I cut the remaining damaged ends off ASAP. It was hard to do, mainly because I felt like I was starting over (AGAIN) but I knew it had to be done. Determine which strategy is best for you and move forward from there
2. Develop An Arsenal of No-Heat Styles
When it comes to non-heat styling, I’ve left no stone un-turned these past 6 months. If like me, you sometimes get an itch to straighten your hair, opt for a straight wig to help mimic the look. A few months ago I purchased a gorgeous natural-looking lace front wig from Myfirstwig.com. I had absolutely zero leave out and I got the chance to rock straight hair on those days I didn’t feel like doing anything to my hair underneath. Perfect!
Other no heat styles I’ve been loving are headwraps, perm-rods, and kinky-curly clip ins. Can’t go wrong with either one of those.
ALSO READ: How to Slay Any Wig With Natural Hair
3. Deep Condition With a Purpose
Focus on conditioners with protein. These will help to bring a healthy level of elasticity back to your curls. Healthy, strong strands require a balance of protein and moisture. The absence of either will produce weak strands that snap easily. Hydrolyzed proteins are the best at attaching to the hair shaft for strengthening. I also like to deep condition once a week rotating between moisturizing deep conditioners and protein deep conditioners. I’ve seen a drastic change in my hair from deep conditioning weekly also.
ALSO READ: Fact vs. Fiction: Conditioning Hair Myths Debunked
4. Use Heat Protectant Labeled Products
If you do choose to use heat sporadically your choice of products are crucial. Although natural oils work wonders for conditioning and moisturizing your hair not all natural oils protect the inner cortex of the hair cuticle from heat. A high smoke point of a natural oil does make it a heat protectant. Heat protectants contain silicone ingredients like amodimethicone that create a thin barrier to minimize the damage of heat due to the silicone’s low thermal conductivity.
My favorite is the Aveda Brillant Damage Control.
5. Take Photos to Track Your Progress & Be Patient
Seeing how far you’ve come and how your hair is transforming is the most exciting part of undergoing a new hair regimen. Photos will help to keep you motivated and keep going. Just like when tracking your fitness goals you need to see where you started from to get an accurate picture of your progress. Trust me, the pictures below are all the motivation I need.
Read more about how I’m surviving my year of no heat here on NaturallyCurly.com. Are you trying to overcome heat damage as well? Comment and let me know your journey or what you need help with!
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Your hair looks great! and healthy! I haven’t had too much heat damage that you can see, but my hair would take on this crazy burnt smell, this would last for literally months after my hair was straightened, this made me give up heat altogether. Has this happened to you? #blmgirls
Hmm no that hasn’t happened to me but that’s probably a not a good sign! lol. It could also be the combination of products used. If it smells burnt then yeah that’s a no go. Thanks for reading!
My curl pattern is still in tact but my hair is just not the same. Its dryer and frizzier than normal and my twist outs just don’t lay properly. I’m gonna deep condition more often.
Yes don’t give up! It will bounce back eventually. 🙂