Let’s get it straight –severe heat damage cannot be undone. You can’t wish or wash it away and deep conditioning won’t do it either. You can, however, revive your hair if it has only been mildly damaged by heat. Maybe you’ve been going a little too hard at your tresses with the blow dryer lately, or you went with a new style that required more flat ironing than you’re usually comfortable with. Either way, now your mind is heavy with the possibility that you’ve done some damage to your hair. This is something you can get past with a few easy steps and some more caution on your part. Here are 5 steps to reverse heat damage in natural hair.
- Heat Hiatus
This should be fairly obvious. You simply cannot be battling with heat damage and at the same time be applying heat to your hair. It doesn’t make any sense. Sure, you might end up winning a few battles on some days but ultimately you will lose the war. Try as much as possible to keep your hands away from your flat iron, blow dryer, and other such equipment. Your hair needs a break from the heat to heal naturally and revert to its original plush and bouncy state.
The first thing you need to do after your hair goes through a deeply tasking season of heat application is to clarify. This isn’t the time for a hurried co-wash. Your dear hair needs more attention than that. Remember the heat protectants you kept layering over your hair before applying heat? Well most of them contain silicone which shields your hair from the adverse effects of the heat you apply and it isn’t easy to get them out. So wash your hair with an effective shampoo, then you can go ahead with an ACV rinse to clarify your hair and scalp totally.
3. Deep treatments
This refers to both protein treatment and moisturizing deep treatments (deep conditioning).
An effective protein treatment will help to repair possible gaps in the shafts of your hair by replenishing the protein lost in those areas. This type of protein treatment is called a reconstructor. You might need to keep at this for a while (depending on the extent of your heat damage) before your hair can return to its original state.
Heat damage makes your hair more prone to dehydration because heat removes moisture from your hair shaft. This is why you will need to take deep conditioning very seriously if you suspect that you might have some extent of heat damage. Deep conditioning helps to restore moisture and that promotes elasticity which you will see in your hair’s bounce and shrinkage. Can you see the pattern? Your hair cannot effectively return to its original bouncy and shiny nature without ample deep conditioning. Take it seriously!
4. Try a hot oil treatment
A hot-oil treatment is such a good way to amplify sheen and elasticity in natural hair and they’re pretty simple to execute. All you’ll need to do is warm up a mixture of oils (you could try some of these and add a couple of carrier oils). The key is not to let the oils get too hot. Just heat till the mixture is nice and warm and proceed to apply it to your hair. Go over every inch from root to tip, cover with a plastic cap, and allow the treatment to sit for at least 30mins to ensure that the oils penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
5. Protective styling
Since your hair is/might be damaged, you should consider giving it a rest from daily manipulation. This puts stress on your hair and in its already weakened state, the stress could make things a lot worse. Realize that your protective style doesn’t need to be so elaborate (remember we’re trying to avoid stressing the hair further). Simple cornrows with hair extensions, mini/medium twists/braids with just your hair, and other such hairstyles will do. You could even decide to go with plain cornrows and a wig. As long as you remember that the whole point of this is to protect your natural hair.
Heat damage in natural hair can be a real challenge especially when it gets severe. At that point, your only reasonable option would be to cut the damaged portion off. If you regularly use heat on your hair and you would like to prevent that from happening, you can read up on ways to prevent heat damage and save yourself from heartache in the future.
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