Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heat Damage!!!

For those naturals who like to press their hair every once in a while (including myself)....brace yourself....heat damage is REAL!! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.

Of course I've always known this, but I have never actually seen the damage in the flesh, that is until last week. SHORT STORY: My sister in law to be wears her hair natural but she's still in transition and currently wears a partial weave while it grows out. The natural hair that she leaves out to cover the extension wefts, she presses and flat-irons daily. We washed it not too long ago and to my SURPRISE, HER HAIR DIDNT REVERT BACK!!!! "OMG, YOUR HAIR IS STRAIGHT!", I said. No curls poppin anywhere. However, a couple of protein treatments and washes later, the curls began to form...whew!

Okay, so after my mini panic attack, I came up with a plan of action or tips (if you will) to prevent this from happening again. PLEASE READ so this doesn't happen to you my friends.

This is your healthy hair cuticle.

This is your hair's cuticle layer on drugs...(i.e. heat damage)
SO, what is the cuticle and why do we care about it? The cuticle layer is the outermost layer of the hair that serves as a protective barrier against the innermost layers (i.e. the cortex and the medulla). The cuticle, when healthy, will emit shine and will allow the hair to feel soft and bounce freely. When damaged, the hair will tangle and break easily and appear very dull.
The blowdryer

The Flat iron

The pressing comb

-Use a heat protectant cream: This is a must. If you insist on pressing/flat ironing those curlies straight, you have to protect them. Use a serum like Mizani's ThermaSmooththat smoothes and protects the cuticle layer in your hair, which helps prevent thermal damage. One of the active ingredients in this heat protectant serum is Coconut oil (which I LOVE), which serves to "infuse moisture into each strand and help guard against breakage from mechanical damage resulting from hair straightening" so look out for that ingredient in your bottles!
Glycerin is another great ingredient because it is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture in the hair!
-Alcohols are a no-no: Don't use products with alcohols as they will strip your hair. There are good moisturizing alcohols like Cetyl Alcohol and ceatearyl alchol that actually help maintain moisture in the hair.

I haven't found a highly natural alternative to these creams yet, but I'm working on one so stay tuned.
-Don't heat style everyday. Constant heat breaks down the cuticle layer in the hair causing major breakage and overall damage. To maintain your straight style for the next day, wrap your hair in a silk scarf over night.
-USE PROTEIN TREATMENTS. Protein treatments will rebuild your hair's structure and prevent it from breaking. Many people swear by Aphogee, but judging by the ingredients, I just can't recommend it. Lookout for products that contain hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed oat protein or silk amino acids. For many, protein can make add sheen to the hair since it helps rebuild the hair's structure and smooth the cuticle layer. There are many warnings out there about using too much protein as it can make the hair hard for those who have a "sensitivity" to protein. Simply use a moisturizer after doing a protein treatment if your hair feels hard as a result.
-JUST DON'T DO IT- The reality is, we don't NEED to wear our hair straight. We can rock it curly because hey, that's how God made it. BUT, the straight look can be so much fun sometimes, so I know this probably is unrealistic for some, including myself. What can I say, I like options. I have to admit, my natural curls are so much more fun!

Stay tuned for more great tips next week! Hope this helps.


Ayanna said...

Love the blog! I have been having this struggle between natural and permed for the last 3yrs. And I have definitley seen the damages of processed hair 1st hand. My mother has locks and she wants me to lock it up but like you I love my choices. Anyway your blog is 100% helpful Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Great Post! What are your thoughts about FHI's new heat sauce. I think that's the name of the product. I think that it is a cream and doesn't contain any cones...I'm not sure, but I've heard so many good things about it.Love to hear your opinion.

Anonymous said...

just discovered this blog. very helpful indeed.

As a natural I only use heat for special occassions or when i feel like going for a different look, generally my hair hates heat so its pointless spending hours straightening it when it just reverts back within an hour.

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iHEARTmyhair said...

I agree cold heartedly... we do not need to wear our hair staight at all. We need to learn to love the hair we're in.

Anonymous said...

This is very helpful. Thank you so much! My natural hair is shoulder length, and I have minor heat damage. I was ready to cut the straight strands off until I read this blog. Thank you for saving me from another disaster!

Anonymous said...


I have a goal to promote natural hair growth and I loved your blog on the Rock it natural post. Could I use that picture and link people to your blog from Facebook?


Tarsha said...

Please give protein treatments and process used to restore her hair. This just happened to me yesterday!!!!!!!!!!! OMG the curls in front are GONE, GONE, GONE. (In my Justin Timberlake voice) HELP ME!

Anonymous said...

Please give protein treatments and process used to restore her hair. This just happened to me yesterday!!!!!!!!!!! OMG the curls in front are GONE, GONE, GONE. (In my Justin Timberlake voice) HELP ME!

LaTonya said...

ok i have natural 4b hair. I wear a sew in and leave some of my hair out which i press. I am so confused because i use a heat protectant when pressing and coconut oil. I workout every single day, so i have to press often. I really don't want to wear my hair in a afro because i think i look horrible ( just me, some girls look nice, i dont). I have no idea what to do!!! I just say a little breakage in a part of my hair. I am freaking out!!!!

samantha said...

I'm so late, but I found this article so helpful! I think I have heat damage on a small section on the left side of my head... For awhile I thought my curl pattern was different, but I starting to realize that there is none! *sobs* lol. This has been going on for awhile, so my question is: "If it's been a couple months since I noticed the damage, is it too late for a protein treatment to fix it?"

Thank you!

Sexylegs said...

OMFriggingGoodness! I am 100% natural and let an old stylist straighten my hair with heat. She is old school and still uses the oven with those curlers, not a ceramic flatiron (Chi or HAI) that I normally use. Today I washed my hair and now my 4a/b curls now are loose and I have straight ends. I was ready to get some braids in and slowly cut this damaged hair off. 1 year off growth lost...until I saw this blog! Thank you. I only wish you added how many times per week or month that your sis in law used protein treatments. I just did a Nexxus Emergencee treatment and now I am about to do a deep condition to add some moisture. I hope protein treatments is the key. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I bc'd a few weeks ago and decided to get my hair flat ironed for my dads graduation this past Friday.....big mistake....the chick had the heat too high and damged the front and back of my hair because when I washed it the curls did not bounce back in the areas where my hair is damged. Thanks for this blog because I had no clue what to do!!!!! Soooo tempted to discard my heat appliances.