Breakage and Damaged Hair
Heat styling: Tips for African hair
11 December 2018
Why does heat styling on natural African hair get such a bad rap? Simply because of the number of heat styling horror stories out there and the fact that, yes, heat damage cannot be undone! To add to this, a little too much heat styling can also lead to hot comb alopecia, hair breakage, hair fall and permanent heat damage which can only be grown out.
Despite this, there’s no need to develop thermophobia when it comes to heat styling natural hair! There are many ways and means to heat style with just a few simple dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
The don’ts of heat styling:
If there were three cardinal rules to keep in mind when it comes to heat styling African hair, these would be them:
1. Don’t assume all hair types respond the same way to heat
The best heat protectant for natural hair? Understanding that different hair types respond differently to heat and learning how your hair will react. Not all hair types are made equal – tight African curls are generally far more fragile because of their texture; therefore, they need to be treated with extra care when it comes to heat.
2. Don’t assume relaxed hair is less prone to heat damage
If you’ve had your hair relaxed, this doesn’t give you a pink ticket to irresponsible or copious amounts of heat styling. Keep in mind that relaxed hair is, in fact, prone to heat damage due to the chemicals used to relax your curls. Fragile hair is prone to hair damage- no matter your current hairstyle.
3. Don’t forget heat protectant oils before heat styling
Finally, the most important cardinal rule of heat styling is to use a good heat protectant for natural hair, such as the Mizani 25 Miracle Milk protectant spray, or a hair serum for black hair. Prepping your hair is incredibly important as this works to protect fragile hair fibres. Look for a heat protection spray for natural hair which contains jojoba oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil to prevent damage.
There’s no need to develop thermophobia when it comes to heat styling natural hair!
The dos of heat styling:
1. Choose to blow dry rather than straighten
If you heat style your hair on a regular basis, choose to use a blow dryer instead of a straightening iron as the heat is not being directly applied to your hair. Hairdryers usually have heat settings, so you’re also able to adjust the heat to be less harsh on your locks. Always use a cool to warm setting for blow-drying. Alternatively, salon steam treatments are also a good way of styling fragile curls with minimal heat exposure.
2. Limit heat exposure at all costs
If you do choose to straighten your hair in the comfort of your own home, it’s important to limit heat damage exposure as much as possible. Always use the best hot tools on the market – the cheap and nasty kinds are a quick, sure-fire route to hair damage! Make sure to adjust the temperature so that it’s not too hot (no more than 200 degrees Celsius!) and always coat your hair with a heat styling protectant spray or serum beforehand. You can also place a light cotton handkerchief between your hair and flat iron for added protection.
3. Always opt for styling tools with a temperature gauge
As we mentioned, don’t ever go for a styling tool that doesn’t allow you to adjust the temperature setting. This will help to reduce instances of hair singeing by keeping the temperature moderate and suitable for delicate, fragile curl strands.
When it comes to natural kinky hair, the best rule-of-thumb is the less heat, the better! It has been proven that minimal heat styling helps natural hair to grow thicker, longer and faster without damage, achieving the same results as a blowout anyway!
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