Heat damaged hair is a term that is making a lot of noise these days. Like other common hair problems, we probably have an inkling of it, but do you know what leads to heat damaged hair?
To put it simply, heat damage is caused by styling tools such as curling tongs, straighteners, and hairdryers. With regular use of these tools, our delicate strands can become brittle, dry, and split, which leaves our hair feeling and looking rough (urgh!).
So, work on fixing that damage. If heat-damaged hair is an issue you are struggling with, we have just the right methods to make it right. But before we get into how to treat heat-damaged hair, let’s help you understand why and how heat damages hair.
How to identify heat-damaged hair
The telltale symptoms of heat-damaged hair are pretty visible. After one too several blow-dry sessions, our hair may begin to show the signs of over-styling: It’s tougher to manage, and it doesn’t hold its shape as well when we style it .
Some signs that our hair has been heat-damaged include:
- white nodules at the edges of the hair shafts
- split ends or ends that easily break off
- stringy or rough hair texture
- overly dry hair
- difficulty styling the hair or brushing it out
- hair breakage
- hair that tangles and knots easily
How to treat heat-damaged hair
Treatment choices for heat damage will vary according to how damaged the hair is and the hair type.
1. Curly hair
Heat damage is not kind to curly hair, resulting in tangles, frizz, and an unpredictable texture. To restore a natural curl, concentrate on sealing moisture back into the hair follicle .
Hair masks and deep-conditioning treatments that are high in moisturizing ingredients, such as argan oil and shea butter, can help bring the hair back to its bouncy best. Choose moisture-dense conditioners with avocado, coconut oil, or aloe vera to help the hair follicles .
Avoid shampooing the hair daily, as shampoo strips hair of its natural oils. Only apply shampoo to the scalp and the roots of the hair. Wash the hair once every couple of days — at least until the hair starts to retain its curly shape again.
2. Straight hair
Heat damage can make straight hair appear brittle and dry. It can also exaggerate split ends’ appearance and make it tougher for the hair to lie flat. To get the hair back to its shiniest, focus on restoring its natural proteins .
A DIY hair mask can be able to enhance the look of the hair for a night out, but that won’t put an end to long-term heat damage.
Leave-in protein treatments with honey, yogurt, and olive oil can help restore the natural bonds in the hair so that damage is less obvious. Conditioning sprays high in keratin can also soothe broken bonds in the hair follicles.
[Also Read: Homemade DIY Protein-Rich Hair Mask Recipes]
3. Chemically treated hair
Coloring the hair with bleach or changing the hair’s shape with a perm can result in heat damage. The hair can be burned by salon treatments, mostly if they’re left on for prolonged periods.
To treat hair that has heat damage from chemical exposure, we may need to speak to the hairstylist or salon where the hair was treated.
A professional deep-conditioning treatment or hair mask from the salon may be the first step to restoring the hair’s sheen. Hot oil treatments made for home use are another option.
While you wait for chemically treated hair to recover from heat damage, try not to wash the hair daily and altogether avoid using hot styling tools. This is particularly important in the days right after we bleach or perm our hair.
Conditioning sprays with spirulina can also help restore the bonds in the hair.
[Read: Natural Remedies for Dry Hair]
Preventing Heat Damaged: What We Should Do
1. Shield The Hair With Heat Protectant
Use a heat protectant to protect the tresses when styling the hair with hot tools. Heat protectants work like sunscreen and reduce the hair’s damage from straightening, blow-drying, and curling.
2. Use Cold And Warm Water
Always use cold and warm water to wash the hair. Cold water will lock in the conditioner’s moisture, and nutrients and warm water will allow the conditioner to seep in. On the other end, hot water can be damaging and rob the hair of all its moisture.
3. Minimize Heat Treatment
Throw out the blow-dryer! Just allow the hair to air-dry. You can consider towel-drying the hair with a microfiber towel. Just make sure not to rub the hair too vigorously with it. If the hair is unmanageable without blow-drying, go the cool blast option instead.
4. Get A Maintenance Trim
Get frequent trims to repair the hair, preferably every three to four months. Trimming will stop split ends from traveling up and causing more harm.
5. Pay Attention To Conditioning And Shampooing
Always focus on conditioning your ends and shampooing your scalp. The shampoo is a detergent particularly formulated to remove the sebum, dirt, and product build-up that sits on the scalp. So, we don’t need to lather up the whole head with shampoo.
Conversely, the scalp does not need a conditioner, but the ends do!
6. Protect The Hair From The Elements
Use a cap or an umbrella when you step out. If you let the hair fly, the sun’s rays and harsh winds will sap the moisture out of it. Moreover, you will accumulate more dirt on the head, further drying out and damaging the hair.
7. Avoid Combing Wet Hair
Refrain from combing wet hair to lessen its vulnerability to damage. Wet combing makes the hair increasingly vulnerable to breakage. Try detangling the hair with the fingers in the shower to prevent breaking and pulling when it is dry.
8. Invest In A Leave-In Conditioner
Use a high-quality leave-in conditioner to keep frizz and dryness away. Hair serum is also effective for repairing and moisturizing hair damaged from a flat iron.
Heat-damaged hair needs constant care and protection to be revived. If heat styling has left the hair brittle and dry, keep curling irons, blow-dryers, and flat irons away from it. Allow the hair to breathe for some time and stop highlighting, streaking, and coloring it.
Spare the hair the chemicals and heat, and the damaged hair will grow back healthy in about four to six months.