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Styling Natural Hair with Heat Damage

Posted on July 15 2017

Heat damage. Let’s be honest, it’s awful. If you have chemically straightened hair it can be a bit easier to hide. However, natural hair heat damage is far too obvious to hide when you have coils and texture. The kinkier your hair, the more disastrous heat damage is to your style. We tend to be in denial about it too. We think, “Oh, just a few washes and my hair will bounce right back to normal,” or “I’ll just do a longer conditioning treatment and I’ll get my curls back.”

heat-damaged-natural-hair-looks-like-what-largeNatural Hair Heat Damage
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Face it, natural hair heat damage cannot be ignored. How do you know if it’s happened to you? It has that limp look. You’ll have an uneven curl pattern, and your ends will be brittle, dry and straighter than the rest of your hair. And you’ll just overall have a really hard time styling your hair. Next up? Hair breakage. There are products on the market that claim to repair heat damage but it just puts a Band-Aid on the issue. Once those bonds have been broken there’s no reversing the alteration of your hair’s structure. You can try up-dos, buns or protective styles as you grow your hair and prevent it from further damage, as the only way to remedy the situation is to cut off the damage.

Your best bet? Prevent natural hair heat damage from happening. Here’s how:

Commit to only heat styling freshly shampooed hair. Make sure to only heat style natural hair on clean, conditioned and completely dry hair. (Think the 3 c’s if that helps you remember). See our wash day routine if you need to revamp yours.

Prepare your hair for heat styling. Use a heat protectant that creates a conditioning barrier to help your hair respond to your hot tools without permanently changing its structure.

Air dry before blow drying. Otherwise you risk using too much heat, as you’ll be trying to both dry and smooth your hair. Unless you’re a professional, allow your hair to be mostly dry and it’ll be less time you’ll have to subject it to heat. If you want to shorten drying time, consider using a hooded dryer to start the process. Even better, skip straightening all together and use that hooded dryer for a wet set.

Use the right tools. Purchase blow dryers, curling wands and flat irons that have options to adjust the heat setting (the more options the better). Use ceramic or tourmaline products designed to evenly distribute heat to your hair. Always use the lowest heat setting, and avoid running styling tools over the same sections of hair more than two to three times. If it takes more effort to achieve your style, you may want to work on perfecting your technique.

Choosing to be natural does not have to mean you can’t change up your style every now and then. The key is to be careful to maintain your hair’s natural curl pattern.

Nouri Pa Nati


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