At some point in your natural hair journey, you may have toyed with the idea of using heat on your hair to achieve blow out and straight bone styles. But here's the problem, the excessive use of these heat styling tools can severely damage your precious strands.
And when this damage happens, it's simply called heat damage. If your hair is experiencing heat damage, this means that the heat from tools like hot combs, blow dryers, and hair straighteners has dried out your hair cuticle. To prevent this heat damage from happening, it is recommended to apply heat protectant to the hair before styling. And as an alternative to using heat always, you can achieve your favorite blow out styles with kinky blow out extensions or try other heatless methods for straightening natural hair.
How do you know you have heat damage?
After a bout of hot styling tools on the hair, the signs of heat damage are usually obvious. Heat damaged hair goes through a number of phases, from moisture thirsty hair strands, dry brittle ends to hair breakage.
Indicators that you have heat damaged hair include:
- Loosening of your natural curl pattern
- Straight and limp hair strands
- Extremely dry hair
- Split ends that break off easily
- Hair that runs into tangles and knots often
- Hair that is difficult to style or comb
How to repair heat damaged natural hair
Joi Wade has also experienced heat damage early on in her natural hair journey. In this video, she shares the tips she used to get her hair back to its healthy and curly state.
Here's a recap of all the tips highlighted in her video.
Cutting everything off
Joi suggests doing a big chop to cut all your straight ends off. This is the best and most efficient way to repair your heat damaged hair and get your curls back to popping immediately. So, get some hair scissors and cut those ends off. You don't want to be that girl with the twist out with limp ends. This is the quickest way and the most painful way too because not everyone wants to give up their length. But if you do not want the quick way, there are other ways to repair that heat damage and get your hair back to health.
Trim your hair monthly
This involves trimming your hair at about ½ inch to an inch every month. For Joi, she cut off an inch of hair every month and that helped her balance out the new growth that was coming in while also getting rid of those damaged ends.
Deep conditioning your hair
You want to make sure your hair is staying moisturized because when you have heat damaged hair, your hair gets dry faster, your styles aren't going to last long, and you need a great base of moisture to your hair. Joi recommends deep conditioning your hair once a week because that will help give your hair the moisture it needs. If you don't wash your hair once a week, then consider co-washing and deep conditioning once a week and pulling out the shampoo when you would regularly do your whole wash day routine.
Moisturizing your hair
You need to continue adding moisture to your strands throughout the week. So, while you are deep conditioning once a week you need to make sure you are properly moisturizing the hair with water, sealing it with oil, using hair butters and curling creams to help bring moisture to your hair. You have to do this every single day to make sure your hair stays moisturized.
There are also balms called split ends balms that can help bring extra moisture into your ends. Split ends balms do not cure your split ends, they just help your hair to grow a little bit longer without the split ends getting worse because they close the hair shaft temporarily.
Using protective styles
If you want to keep your hair long and get it to grow out without having to do a bunch of things to it. Cut off a good amount of your damaged ends and go straight into a protective style like braids or twists. Since you are going to keep it in for a couple of weeks, try to cut off as much hair as you are comfortable with before going into that protective style. And once you take them out, you will see some growth and then cut it again and go into your next protective style. This way, you don't have to think about your hair being a lot shorter, you can just keep doing protective styles till you have repaired your heat damaged hair.
Finally, on the road to recovery from your heat damaged hair, there is no way to fully repair your hair without cutting off the damaged ends. Also, if your hair is starting to bounce back, consider doing a protein treatment to see if your natural curl pattern is back for good.