Heat damage is high up on the ladder of every natural’s hair phobias and rightly so because it can be pretty gruesome when it’s severe. So, what exactly is heat damage? Heat damage refers to the harm that is caused to your hair due to excessive application of heat. The heat has adverse effects on your hair’s natural structure that are, in most cases, irreversible. Tough. This is why it’s a good idea to take steps to ensure you don’t wind up with a no-solution problem on your hands and protect your natural hair from the trauma that is heat damage.
What are the signs of heat damage?
Heat damage isn’t pretty, and if you happen to have it, it’ll be easy to spot. If you regularly use heat on your hair, check to see if it is giving any of these signs.
- It has lost its bounce (elasticity) and now lies limp and sober
- Your curl pattern is looser than normal and refuses to return to its original state despite your efforts.
- Your hair is perpetually dry
- Breakage is at an all-time high.
- Your hair lacks every semblance of sheen.
- Split ends
- Your hair is frizzier than usual
These are the most evident signs of heat damage. However, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and you do not frequently use heat, you might want to check if your hair is unhealthy on the whole.
How do you prevent heat damage in natural hair?
Some naturals just keep away from heat as a whole to avoid heat damage completely but it doesn’t have to be that way. From time to time, you might need to use direct heat to make your natural hair bend to your will, and that’s not a terrible thing. Just keep these precautions in mind!
- Always use a heat protectant
This should be a no-brainer. Never apply direct heat to your natural hair without protecting it first. There are lots of effective and inexpensive heat protectants for natural hair in the market these days. If you’re in a twist and don’t have one on hand, a good natural option would be pure shea butter, coconut oil, or argan oil. These work like magic as well.
2. Set it right
Natural hair for humans can withstand up to 200 degrees centigrade of heat before succumbing to damage. So always ensure that you set your heating tool to a point reasonably below this.
3. Don’t overdo it
Try to minimize your use of heat to only when absolutely necessary. You shouldn’t make a habit of using it too frequently because even with all the precautions in the world, you’ll eventually wind up with heat damage.
4. Don’t use direct heat on wet hair
Wet hair heats up faster and in a different way than dry hair. Your natural hair can heat up to excessive temperatures very quickly and get singed. If you don’t notice immediately, it could even start to burn. So if you plan on using a curling iron, a straightener, or any other source of direct heat, always ensure that your hair is well dried. This doesn’t really apply to blow driers, but generally, it’s better to keep your blow drier to a cool setting. It’ll still dry your hair quickly, and you’ll have saved your hair some trauma.
5. Deep condition regularly
If you use heat frequently, you can’t shy away from deep conditioning. It is basically your hair’s lifeline. It invigorates it and keeps it healthy. This post isn’t about deep conditioning, but you can learn all the juicy benefits of deep conditioning your natural hair over here.
These precautions will save you from a world of emotional and mental stress if you simply follow through with them. However, if you do find yourself with heat damage here are some tips to reverse it before it’s too late. Heat doesn’t always have to be the bad guy, it all depends on how you handle it.
What other precautions do you take to ensure you don’t experience heat damage? Feel free to share in the comment section below!
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