- Limit the use of daily heat- The use of direct heat should be limited to 1 - 4 times per month. Using direct heat on a daily basis will lead to less moisture retention in the hair and will certainly result in brittle / porous hair. Remember brittle hair leads to breakage and breakage equals “no length retention”. Thinness will result and eventually the hair will be extremely damaged, thin and lifeless.
- Limit blow drying to 1 -4 times per month. If you are cleansing and deep conditioning weekly, blow drying your hair weekly should not cause serious damage. Be sure that your blow dryer is ceramic and not used on the highest setting.
- Let’s address “wet to dry” flat irons. I have seen these particular flat irons sold a numerous retail markets. After shampooing and conditioning the hair, the hair is sectioned and the flat iron is used directly on wet hair. The hair dries after running the flat iron through the hair a few times. You can hear the hair sizzle and crackle as the iron runs through the hair. This process is very dangerous. Please steer clear of these types of flat irons. The results may look amazing after the first use but after using this type of flat iron over time, severe damage is the consequence. Microscopic views of the hair strand show that the hair loses significantly more tensile strength and elasticity. It also causes severe dryness. It is healthier to bring out the trusty hair dryer and take the few extra minutes to blow dry your hair safely before flat ironing.
- Temperature setting. I get this question all of the time. -> What temperature should I use to flat iron my hair? The amount of heat that the hair can take differs from person to person. If you are straightening your own hair for the very first time, start at a very low heat setting (i.e. 300-350 degrees). Then work your way up to higher temperatures after you see how your hair responds to the current setting. Increase the temperature of your flat iron only if needed.
- When using heat, be sure to only use Ceramic and or Tourmaline flat irons to straighten and or curl your hair. This will cause less damage to your hair because ceramic / tourmaline technology heats the hair from the inside to the outside and not vice versa. Be sure that the flat iron that you purchase is solid ceramic/ tourmaline and not just ceramic / tourmaline plated. The top coating of ceramic plated flat irons will wear away quickly leaving you with hot spots along the surface of the iron.
- Throw away your traditional hot combs. Hot combs can be extremely damaging because they contain hot spots along the surface. The temperature cannot be regulated and hot combs can burn the hair easily causing irreversible damage. There are some ceramic /electric hot combs available. This would be a better option.
- Use ceramic / tourmaline blow dryers. Blow dryers are available using this technology as well. For our blow drying ladies and gents out there, just know that this is a much safer alternative in comparison to traditional blow dryers. Most traditional blow dryers blow the moisture “out” of the hair resulting in dryness. You can feel the difference in your hair’s moisture levels after using a blow dryer with ceramic / tourmaline technology. As pointed out previously, ceramic / tourmaline heat is less damaging to the hair and more of the hair’s moisture will be preserved.
- Diffusers are awesome! A diffuser is a contraption that you can add to the end of your blow dryer to decrease the flow of direct heat. When blow drying the hair, a great way to minimize heat damage is to use one. It works amazingly well for wash and gos to speed up the drying process.
- Frizzy ends and the chase method. Have you ever flat ironed your hair and still suffered from frizzy ends? This is more prevalent with kinky textures. Frizzy ends can be a problem if you desire a silky smooth press from root to tip. The chase method will smooth out those frizzy ends. The process consists of taking a section of hair and running a comb through your hair simultaneously behind the flat iron. This comb will separate the hair strands which allows for a smoother press from root to tip. This method is less damaging because fewer passes of the flat iron are needed. Product recommendation: Hydratherma Naturals Flat Iron ChaseComb.
- Always use a heat protector to protect the hair from irreversible heat damage. Never use any heat utensils without using a great heat protector. This not only goes for flat irons but for blow dryers as well. Product Recommendation: Hydratherma Naturals Herbal Gloss Heat Protector
- Using heat on dirty hair is a definite NO NO! Heat should only be used on freshly cleansed hair. If not, you will be baking dirt and buildup in the hair strand causing extreme damage. Don't wait longer than 2 days after cleansing your hair to use any type of heat. Dirty hair will always burn faster leading to quick damage.
- Oil and flat ironing.
Using a very small amount of oil on the hair before flat ironing is very
safe. Adding large amounts of oil to the hair before flat ironing will
“fry” the hair. This is because oil heats up extremely fast and these
higher levels of heat can be very damaging to hair. To use oil safely,
just apply a few drops of oils to your entire head of hair and your scalp
before flat ironing. This will also keep the hair bouncy and will not give
your hair a greasy / weighed down look. Product Recommendation:
Hydratherma Naturals Hair Growth Oil
- “Heat Trained Hair”- Many women with natural hair who wear their hair straight over 90% of the time may notice that their curl pattern has slightly loosened. This is very noticeable when the hair is wet. A person who started out with a tight / kinky curl pattern may eventually end up with a looser wavy hair texture after the constant use of heat. This is commonly called “heat trained hair” but it is really a form of heat damage. If the person consistently wears their hair straight and is not experiencing breakage, it is nothing to worry about.
- How to get the bouncy look when using heat? There are 2 types of presses that I have seen. A. Hair that is weighed down, greasy and doesn’t move. B. Hair that is bouncy, movable and shiny. The big difference is dependent on how the hair was prepped before styling. The amount of product and the type of product that is used will be the determining factor. Don’t use excessive product (moisturizers, leave in conditioners and oils) before flat ironing the hair. This is a common mistake that I see regularly. If you want bouncy hair that moves, don’t apply too many heavy moisturizers and oils to the hair prior to blow drying. All it takes is a pea sized amount of moisturizer, a few drops of oil and a few sprays of the heat protectant before blow drying and flat ironing the hair. I have seen many stylists soak the hair in heat protector prior to flat ironing each section of the hair. This is so not necessary and will result in limp hair for sure. My formula is 1- 1½ pea size amount of the Hydratherma Naturals Daily Moisturizing Growth Lotion, 3-4 drops of the Hair Growth Oil and about 4 sprays of the Herbal Gloss Heat Protector before blow drying the hair. This always results in soft, bouncy and movable hair with lots of shine.