Okay, so here’s what happened when I blew out my hair…you might read this article and think to yourself: “I’m never putting heat on my hair again”. GUESS WHAT, I’m here to reassure you that it’s possible to use heat and minimize damage! I can’t lie, heat is damaging to your curls, no matter how little you may use it.
In all of my 9 months of being natural, the one time that I applied minimal heat to my hair was my most recent blowout. The crazy thing is, I actually contemplated doing this for quite a few days before I finally decided to just go for it. But just like any journey, all things encountered are learning experiences. I’m grateful I did this because now I know how to prep and treat my hair better if I chose to do heat-styled my hair again in the future to prevent the damage I suffered.
NOT WORTH THE DAMAGE
Let’s be real. We get lazy. Maintaining naturally curly hair is hard work. Sometimes I just really miss having straight hair, it’s just so much easier to deal with. Plus, it adds versatility and mixes things up. However, straight hair ALL the time is just not worth the damage. I wanted to cut down on time and do Bantu knots on stretched hair for a cute holiday style (which came out so cute but I didn’t take pics UGH). Instead of using cool air (which is what most of the research and advice out there speaks of) I alternated between hot/cool air during my blow out and gave myself a much-needed trim afterward.
I thought I did everything right. However, when I went through wash day about a week later, I immediately noticed my curls had lost elasticity and strength. My hair was limp, there were pieces that refused to curl back to their normal pattern and my overall texture was looser. Guys, I absolutely had a meltdown. I was so angry with myself. I was terrified that I had suffered irreversible heat damage and that 9 months of hard work had just gone down the drain.
HEAT DAMAGE CAN BE REVERSIBLE
I researched for hours and finally came to the conclusion that I needed to deep condition, treat my hair with protein and seal in moisture with oils. Here are the pros to this situation: heat damage is reversible, as long as it’s minimal. Heat applied to the hair above a certain temperature causes the protein structures to break down and lose their shape, which is a permanent chemical change. If the damage reaches this point, it is then irreversible and the only way to treat is to cut the damage off. After a couple of washes, increased deep conditioning, and protein treatments, my hair is bouncing back slowly but surely.
Next time I decide to heat style my hair, I will first do a protein treatment, followed by deep conditioning BEFORE applying heat and will make sure that I have the proper heat protectant products. Heat styling is a once-a-year thing for me, it’s already been decided. Don’t let me scare you, some people have hair that is more resilient to heat damage. However, It’s best to not take the chance!
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I’m Gabriella! I’m 26 years old and I currently live in a small town called Winchester in VA. I am a graduate of VCU with a B.S. in Psychology and I am currently working on getting into grad school in hopes of becoming a physician assistant. I am a natural hair enthusiast and I’ve been on my own personal hair journey for 6 months. My purpose of joining Kinky Hair Rocks is to be a source of information and motivation to others that are going natural!