Many of us have heard of the dangers of using heat on our hair. For some of us, we have experienced how heat can irreparably damage our strands, leaving us to do the big chop for what feels like the umpteenth time. So what do we do??
It is unreasonable to expect that we will NEVER use heat on our hair – sometimes we just want to switch it up or explore our length. So here are a few ways to make sure you are straightening your hair safely:
Straightening Afro hair usually requires quite a lot of heat. Typically, the hair is blow dried first before straightening. All this heat can lead to a lot of moisture loss so it’s important to put that moisture deep into the hair during the preparation process. Deep conditioning will make your hair soft and pliable, giving you the perfect base to start from.
Protein treatments are essentially strengthening treatments. As I mentioned above, Straightening your hair requires a lot of manipulation and movement between the washing, combing, detangling, straightening etc. Doing a protein treatment is a great way to strengthen your hair ahead of all these movement. If your hair feels mushy or it is breaking a lot, you may want to do a protein treatment first.
I think this one goes without saying but I have definitely seen people do this! Never straighten your hair unless it is completely dry. Think about what happens when you throw water into a hot pan – it sizzles and steams. You certainly don’t want that happening to your hair AT ALL. You can choose to let your hair air dry or you can blow dry your hair before straightening. Also, if your hair is already dry, the temperature doesn’t have to be too high.
This one is non-negotiable! As the name suggests, heat protectants protect your hair from heat. They essentially form a light protective barrier on your strands to prevent your hair from being burned. There are many great heat protectants on the market so you have many to choose from.
You may not want to hear this one but it’s true! If your hair is currently very damaged, the last thing you want to do is go through the whole process of straightening, as well as applying direct heat to your hair. You don’t want to worsen the damage! So if your hair is severely damaged, focus on healing and repairing your hair first so you can straighten and enjoy your hair!
Tara is the founder and CEO of Nature’s Locks, a hair care company and information hub focused on natural hair. Her company produces hair oils, satin bonnets and satin pillowcases all made in Nigeria and you can learn more about hair care on her blog and YouTube channel.
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