Written by Pam Moore
Image by @ellessechar
From blow-drying to straightening, adding waves, or adding curls, we all love the versatility heat styling gives our hair. As helpful as these heated styling tools are to creating our desired looks, heat styling can lead to split ends, breakage, and dry hair. Once hair is permanently damaged the effects are irreversible. Luckily, we have the steps and product recommendations to make sure heat damage is a thing of the past. The tips that I have compiled can help you decrease the likelihood of heat damage and make you feel more confident when heat styling your hair.
Before we get to the tips and recommendations, let’s address the science behind it and understand the damage heat does to hair. Heat damage occurs when you style your hair at extreme temperatures or use heat regularly over an extended period of time.
Blow dryers, curling irons, and straighteners damage your hair’s cuticle, (the outer layer of your hair) which is covered in keratin. Excessive heat or prolonged heat exposure damages the keratin, leaving your hair cuticles cracked eventually leading to split ends. Secondly, these tools damage the cortex (the inner layer of your hair) and remove moisture and other essential materials. Heat doesn’t have to be your enemy as long as you are following these steps below and prepping/protecting your hair.
Intensive Moisture Treatment
Before using heat, you want to make sure that you are working with a hydrated base. As heat removes moisture from your hair, you want to make sure that you are adding moisture back when you can. Water also slows the heating rate of the hair fibers. Thoroughly wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo and make sure to follow up with a deep conditioning mask. Once your deep conditioner is washed out, finish off with a leave-in conditioner.
Thermal Creations Keratin Smooth Heat Protectant Spray
Heat protectant is pretty much a no-brainer and a non-negotiable in your heat styling regimen. They slow down the heat transfer from the appliance to your hair. When looking for a heat protectant you want to keep your eye out for products that contain silicones. Silicones tend to have a bad rep in the haircare space however they are excellent heat protectants and can resist extremely high temperatures as they have low thermal conductivity.
Farewell Frizz Heat Protectant Crème with Silicone-Free Formula
If you avoid using silicones in your hair care routine, then check out this formula
Turning up the temperature on your heat styling tools is a guaranteed way to damage your hair. You want to find a good balance of keeping the heat high so that it straightens or curls your hair, but low enough so that it doesn’t cause any damage. Whilst most heat protectants will protect your hair up to 450 degrees, I recommend that you stick within the 180-200 degrees Celsius range.
Heat Styling Tools
When buying your heat tools make sure to pick those which give you a chance to control the heat setting like the Dyson Supersonic. While this is on the pricier side, it does a great job regulating heat. Attachments are a bonus as they distribute heat more evenly.
Lastly, reduce the frequency. Now, I’m not telling you to start a revolution and throw all of your heat styling tools away but like with most things in life, everything in moderation. Using heat too often can make your hair become brittle even with all of these preventative measures. Use this as an opportunity to explore heatless hairstyles; messy updos, flexirods, twist-outs, etc.
If you have unfortunately sustained heat damage the best way to keep track is by visiting a professional stylist