10 Tips for Using Heat Safely on Natural Hair

Sunday, May 28, 2017

10 Tips for using heat safely on natural hair | FroBunni

For the last few months, I've been using heat to dry my hair. I prefer it since my hair takes at least two days to dry, and I hate walking around with wet hair. I've been getting a lot of questions about this and if it's safe for natural hair. The simple answer is yes, the more complex answer is why I'm writing this blog post.

Heat is quite a fickle topic in the natural hair community. Some women demonize it, and others swear by it. Personally, I don't judge either way, but using heat will depend on you. I cannot flat iron my hair, not even a little bit. The direct and high heat is too much for my hair, and I've detailed this before. So instead of using a flat iron, I rely on a blow dryer and use low heat. This is how I can use heat consistently and keep my hair healthy.

Most of my tips will be based on my personal experience with heat, but you will probably have to try a few things to find what's right for you, but use extreme caution. All it takes is one time to get irreparable heat damage, and it doesn't even have to be high heat either.
  1. Shampoo Your Hair: If you plan to use heat regularly, you will want to wash with a good shampoo. Dirty hair will dry or straighten unevenly, making you more prone to heat damage.
  2. And Use a Moisturizing Shampoo Too: Use a moisturizing shampoo if you're going to use heat more often. Even though I'm using low heat, the process of quickly drying my hair can still be damaging, so my hair still needs as much moisture as possible.
  3. Condition and Deep Condition: Again, the simple process of quickly drying hair, even if there's no heat present, can still be drying and damaging, so you will want to find every place possible to add extra moisture to hair. 
  4. Deep Condition With Heat Every Wash Day: One of the biggest game changers in my regimen has been deep conditioning with heat. I bought the Hot Heat Thermal Microwavable Deep Conditioning Cap almost a year ago, and it's awesome. Deep conditioners penetrate the hair more effectively, nourishing and strengthening hair from the inside out. It helps prevent breakage and damage, and makes hair softer and shiner. If you are going to use heat regularly, this step will help you keep your hair healthy.
  5. Do Protein Treatments More Often: I use to do protein treatments every month, and now I do them every three weeks to keep my hair strong. If you use high heat, you may want to use heat every other week, or even use it weekly and follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner. This will, of course, make your wash days significantly longer, but the benefit will pay off in the long run.
  6. Use a Heat Protectant: Use a heat protectant and use a real one. I even created an infographic to drive this home. And, let's get one thing clear, oil is not a heat protectant. I don't care if you have an anecdotal story about how you can use grapeseed oil and your hair doesn't burn. That's great, but it's still not a heat protectant. The reason this extremely incorrect belief came about is because someone misinterpreted the term "heat point," which is the temperature that an oil must reach to burn. This heat point is completely irrelevant if, for example, it's cooking chicken. A chicken will cook in 300 degree oil regardless of if it's olive oil, peanut oil, or canola oil, and it can burn just the same. So get a heat protectant!
  7. Blow-Dry Hair with a Hood Dryer: If you can, use a hooded dryer. The indirect heat is safer for hair, helping to prevent heat damage. 
  8. Be Okay with Texture: When I decided not to flat iron my hair again, I knew that meant my hair would never be bone straight. I can get my hair to 90% of it's full length using other stretching methods, and I'm okay with this. For those that also have highly textured hair, you may not get your hair straight without high heat and a lot of manipulation, which could mean a lot of damage.
  9. Limit Heat to Once a Week (At Least): I use heat on wash day (or the day after if I'm too lazy to dry it the same day). You risk damage when you use it every day or even every other day. Keeping hair stretched (like doing a perm rod set) is a good way to keep hair straight and limit heat. 
  10. Give Your Hair a Break: Give yourself a break every so often. Whether that's once every month, once every two months, or even once every three months. Let the hair do its own thing every once in awhile, even if it means your hair will be wet for a few days.
7 Heat Protectants for Natural Hair | FroBunni

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