I've been getting a lot of questions about heat styling since I posted my blow drying tutorial on YouTube so I decided to dedicate an entire post help those of you who are interested in regular heat styling, or even occassional heat styling.
I heavily advise against regular, consistent heat usage under all circumstances. I CERTAINLY do not believe in using heat to make your new growth more "managable" while relaxer stretching or transitioning. Direct heat is not good to use consistently if you want your hair to grow to optimal lengths, no matter what the texture of your hair is. Of course there are exceptions, but those are the minority...
In my Top 10 Black Hair Growth Tips, I described how direct heat can compromise the integrity of your hair. Direct heat damages your hair by robbing your hair of moisture and weakening the protein structure of your hair. The combination of these two things really make your hair weak and much more susceptible to breakage. And we all know that
BREAKAGE = NO HAIR GROWTH RETENTION!
So, now that I've scared you off from using direct heat to style your hair, I'm done!
As I briefly explained in my blow dry tutorial video, I know that the process of heat straightening my hair causes a lot of tension and stress on my hair. In order to help combat the negative effects of the heat styling process, I arm my hair with as much protein and moisture as possible since these are the two main points of damage when using heat styling appliances.
Here's what you can do to help make sure your hair is ready for heat styling!
- Avoid straightening your hair on the spur of the moment! Plan a date giving yourself at least 2 weeks to start getting your hair prepped for the heat straightening process. If you don't do so already, perform at least 3 moisturizing deep conditioning treatments with heat and weekly light protein treatments during the 2 weeks leading up to your straightening.
- Up your moisturzing game 2 weeks before you straighten your hair.
- On the day you straighten, try a protein/moisture pre-shampoo treatment! Do not do this treatment under heat. I do mine by dampening my hair with water and generously coating my strands with an egg-olive oil mixture.
- Don't skip your weekly protein treatment on straightening day!
- Follow your cleansing and protein treatment with a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment. For maximum penetratrion, use heat for at least 25 minutes.
- Prior to using any heat appliances, use a product that is designed to protect your hair from heat. You will know because it will either say it right on the label or in the directions.
- Avoid touch ups! After you go through the entire straightening process, try not to touch up your style. Maintain your style by wraping your hair, tucking it under a satin bonnet or rolling it on large rollers.
So there you have it! There is really no way to straighten your hair and not get damage. But you CAN minimize these affects with a little planning. Use heat moderately (like no more than 3-4 times per year) and arm your strands for battle!
Don't know what to use for heat protecting?
Most products formulated as heat protectants are loaded with silicones for a reason. The silicones coat your hair and act as a barrier between your hair and the heating appliance. The silicones in these products also help to lock in moisture and aid in conditioning. Plus, they leave your hair incredibly shiny!
Does that mean your heat protectant HAS to be a product specifically designed as such?
Nope. Any product that conditions your hair while styling will do. But do refrain from using any oils other than coconut and olive as a "heat protectant" and use those sparingly since using too much oil can actually fry you hair.