Using Heat on Natural Hair
Clean and well conditioned hair will fair better than hair that hasn’t been properly cleansed and conditioned when it comes to blow drying the hair and reducing the chance of causing heat damage.
Start off by using a moisturizing shampoo and a protein and moisture balanced conditioner.
Although the hair is most fragile when it is wet the moisture in your hair acts as a buffer against heat damage. Apply a heat protector on your wet hair to seal in the moisture and to keep that buffer in place. This is when silicones are your friend. Silicone based products help seal in the moisture and protects the hair from heat damage.
Note: I typically add a butter or oil to the hair before adding the silicone(s). Butters and oils typically penetrate the shaft of the hair. By adding the silicone last the nutrients are sealed in along with moisture. I like to use a little bit of coconut oil or olive oil before applying the silicone(s).
Here’s a link to a list of silicones and ingredients in cleansing agents that will help remove the silicone from your hair.
***A silicone that is not water soluble cannot simply be washed away with water.
Although silicones help protect the hair by coating the shaft not properly washing the silicone out of your hair can cause build-up. This build-up will make it nearly impossible for the nutrients that your hair will need to stay healthy penetrate the shaft.
Your Tools Matter
Using a quality blow dryer will make a difference. Your dryer should have different heat settings and motor speeds.
How to Choose a Blow Dryer – http://4chairchick.com/blow-dryer-recommendations-4c-hair/
Dealing with the Damage
Sometimes we don’t know better so we don’t make good choices, but that doesn’t mean that you are a bad person and that the damage cannot be corrected. Here are some tips on restoring your hair back to its healthy state.
Step Away from the Heat!!!!!
Protein – It is nearly impossible to restore the damaged hair back to its original state but there are products that you can use that may fill in the damaged areas of your hair and mimic its original state. Using a moisture and protein rich product may help reduce breakage and split ends while you are growing out the damaged hair.
Trimming – Big chops are not always necessary – slowly trimming the hair while treating it may be all that you need. But the key is in the care.
Protective Styling – Roller and rod sets, twists, braids, braid/ twist extensions (when properly done) and wigs can protect your hair while you are growing it out. Reducing the friction and tension placed on the hair can help reduce breakage and split ends.
Long term use of heat is not recommended for those that choose to wear their hair in non-straightened/ natural styles.
I hope you find these tips helpful.