It’s been SO very long since I’ve written on my blog! To all my followers/subscribers–sorry for the absence! But, I’m back to discuss something that we all hate….HEAT DAMAGE.
Yes, heat damage on NATURAL HAIR to be specific. How to spot it, how to treat it, and how to know when it’s time to whip out the scissors.
What is Heat Damage?
Curls that have lost their elasticity, hanging down farther than the rest of your curls…limp and stringy.
Heat damage on natural hair is pretty easy to spot. Right? Well, yes and no. For those that follow my Instagram page (@transitioninglati) y’all know that I did my big chop in May of this year. It was SUCH a liberating experience. To finally be free of all those straight ends weighing down my curls. Yas! However, when I finally made the cut and started to wear my hair curly I noticed a few things. (1) I had severe heat damage on the front part of my hair (2) my curls were TIGHT and (3) they only got tighter and more defined the more wash and go’s I did. So, naturally, at first I was on this natural hair high! As I started to try more and more styles I started to get more discouraged because my hair was a million different lengths and too short to style in my trusty curlformers and being in the middle of yet another Bar Exam/Prep–I resorted to heat styling. I would heat style every 2-3 weeks and then bun my hair. I said I would stop but I was experiencing no heat damage and then I got my first grown up attorney job and wellll here I am…still heat styling. Within the last month I started to realize that my curl pattern had gotten slightly loose. SLIGHTLY. I couldn’t decide if it was the heat or because my hair had grown a solid 3 inches and the curl pattern was just weighed down with my thick hair. Well, it was both. Recently, however, I had to go to a Dominican salon to get a blowout. My hair was L A I D when I left. Too much so because I definitely had some heat damage. Last night when I washed my hair, the ends of my hair were loose and hanging down in a half curl….some sections didn’t want to curl…ugh a mess. So, I sprung into heat damage repair mode! Now, that I get my hair together I thought I would share some tips to repair and prevent heat damage!
How to spot heat damage?
This is pretty easy if you know your curl pattern. Limp curls that won’t’ curl up or, if it’s really bad, portions of your hair that are completely straight and refuse to revert. Brittle hair, dull lackluster hair, and split ends are also common signs of heat damage.
How to repair heat damage?
Before I delve into this, let me forewarn y’all that some heat damaged strains are just beyond repair. But, for the ones that you can save-here are some tips!
(1) Assess the Heat Damage
This tip comes with knowing your hair. When you wash your hair and realize certain parts aren’t reverting it’s normal to start panicking. Relax. Step out the shower. Part your hair and start assessing the damage. Is it really that bad? Is it merely a looser curl pattern or is the hair strand completely strand? Is this section of your hair usually a loose curl pattern? Really think about these things.
Regardless of your assessment, DO NOT PICK UP THE SCISSORS.
I know this may seem counterproductive since you’ve already stepped out the shower but this is key! Clarify your hair. When you heat style your hair, you should be using heat protectants which inevitably leads to product buildup that regular shampoos don’t completely get rid of. This could be affecting your hair’s ability to revert back to it’s curly state as well. So, take a few minutes to clarify your hair!
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil ACV Shampoo is a great clarifier or Lush Shampoo Bars
(3) PROTEIN TREATMENTS
This is so crucial. Heat damaged hair requires more than a simple DC that contains hydrolyzed protein. You’ll need something HEAVY. My go to protein treatment when my hair is in need of repair is “Aphoghee 2 Step Protein Treatment.” I used it last night to bring my hair back to life. It never fails me. It’s important to do this treatment every 8-10 weeks if you’re a big heat styler. To the naturals that usually don’t use heat, once every 3-4 months should be good with a bi-weekly protein DC or (another favorite) “Aphoghee Kertain Reconstructor.“
(4) Moisturizing DC
It’s important to follow up this heavy Protein Treatment with a super hydrating and moisturizing DC. So, use one! My personal favorite is “SheaMoisture JBCO Strengthen and Repair DC.”
(5) Reassess + Curly Styles
I’m sure you’re looking at this title like…did I miss the part where I could start trimming/cutting? Nope, you didn’t. It’s important to wait AT LEAST a week before you start trimming. I know some of you may disagree and I can understand. I will concede that if certain ends of your hair are completely bone straight….you might want to trim that off. But if you have portions of your hair that are SEMI straight and seem to be trying to curl back up, let them have their moment. STAY AWAY FROM HEAT and keep doing wash and go’s, flex rod sets, curlformers…any curly styles that allow you to train your curls again. Sometimes your hair is not so much heat damaged but just becoming accustomed to being in a straight state so while it CAN curl…it’s just not used to it anymore. Stay consistent with curly styles and you may see it perk back up again! However, if in reassessing weekly (for about 1-2 months) you see NO change…time to snip!
My Results with Last Night’s Protein Treatment!
My Favorite Products to Repair or Prevent Heat Damage