What IS Heat Damage?
Well, for starters if you are natural, heat damage is your worst enemy! It occurs from the frequent use of heat tools and can happen by accident from one use, overtime from consistent use, or when your heating tools are set on a setting that is just too high for your strands to take. The result is that the structure of your strands are broken down and your curl pattern disappears! For some the pattern may wither and be wavy, for other it may be BONE straight……it really just depends on the extent of the damage. Contrary to popular belief & very wishful thinking heat damage can not be REVERTED! You can however do many things to restore the health of your hair & keep it strong as you deal with the damage.
My top 3 tips for dealing are:
PATIENCE – Your curl pattern is not going to return overnight. The initial damage may seem worse than it actually is until you are able to wet your hair and see where your curl pattern has landed…..if its even still present. Once you have assessed the damage and have made the decision NOT to chop you gotta know that growing out the damage is going to require PATIENCE. You’re likely in store for a few months of babying and blending those limp strands. You may also want to begin exploring some braided styles to get you through as well if you know you’re not going to be into concealing the damage.
QUALITY PRODUCTS – Heat damaged hair is extremely fragile and it needs to be reinforced with quality products that add strength and nutrients to the strands. Again, reversion is highly unlikely so treating your hair like transitioning hair is the best way to approach. Start off by giving your hair a repairing treatment like Dr. Miracles 3-Step Miracle Repair , it packs a powerful punch of strengthening AND moisturizing ingredients to get you going in the right direction.
TRIMS ARE YOUR FRIEND – As you see growth you are going to want to trim the ends to avoid them splitting up the hair shaft and damaging your thriving natural hair. The scissors are your friends. I know sacrificing length is the last thing most of you want to do, but trust me sacrificing it willingly by dusting those ends is a better choice as opposed to losing your length to the additional damage that split ends originating from that line of demarcation are going to cause! Promise you that!
So, you wanna found out how I dealt with my heat damage? I want you to know that no matter your hair type damage CAN happen, but you can also get your hair back to health! Read my story below and know that you are not alone.
Twist & curl on heat damaged hair
How long have you been natural?
I transitioned for almost 5 years in wigs and weaves and have been fully natural since January 2014.
What is your hair type according to the typing chart or by any description you choose?
My hair is classic type 4 hair. It houses 4a/b/c textures throughout. The front and crown of my hair is looser 4a textured, the sides are 4b and the back contains the coarsest tightest coils and is 4c. I also have very thick hair with ultimate shrinkage when wet and in its natural state while dry.
When & how did your damage occur?
I wore wigs and weaves as I transitioned and only wore side parts which were very tolerant of the heat overtime. In the fall of 2014 I wanted to try something different and began wearing a middle part. That part of my hair had not seen heat during my entire transition and was for all intents and purposes virgin hair. One day in a hurry I mistakenly set the temperature of my flat-iron to the highest setting and burned my hair.
What was/is your go-to style while dealing with the damage?
I rocked protective styles like crochet weaves, full wigs, buns and twist and curl styles. I had to wear styles that were low manipulation, required no heat to blend with my natural curl pattern, or just covered my hair entirely. I love switching my hair up often so I would say ALL of these were my go to styles in addition to accessorizing with scarfs, turbans, and head bands.
What product(s) would you most recommend for heat damaged hair?
The Dr. Miracles 3-Step Miracle Repair mentioned earlier helped me to strengthen my strands and prepare it for the last trimming of damage. I also certainly recommend coconut oil. We know this oil to be a holy grail oil with a molecular structure that is compact enough to actually penetrate your strands and impart all of its nutrients. It is also a lite protein making it ideal for restoring health to damaged hair. Keeping the strands moisturized with a cream like 4 Naturals (by Bronner Bros) Afro Stretch Curl Cream during protective styling is important as well. In addition to any product use I would suggest creating and sticking to a weekly healthy hair regimen for best results.
Final thoughts for my curl friends:
While heat damage is an issue that we all have the potential to encounter no matter your hair type there are certain things that you can do to avoid it all together. Be sure to take care when heat styling your hair by using a heat protectant, styling on the safest heat setting for you – you don’t have to turn the irons all the way up or blow dry on high, and doing personal no heat challenges where you give your hair a break from heat tools for months at a time. If you should experience or are experiencing heat damage I hope that my friends and I have helped you to realize that WE have all been there and the big chop doesn’t always have to be the answer. Patience is key but you CAN bring your curls back to life!
Are you dealing with heat damage too? Share your experience in the comments below. Tell me how you’re coping, what products are getting you through, and if this article was helpful for you!