Which heat styling tool is your all-time fave? Must be a flat iron, or a high-end curling wand. Because, let’s be honest, no judgments here; heat-styling has gradually become a part of routine for most of us. No matter how much we dread heat-styling our hair into submission, the end result is spectacular. You either get perfectly sleek, smooth hair, or fully defined, gorgeous curls, depending on the kind of tool you picked. However, this temptation has some hair-threatening side effects which we either do not realize, or simply choose to ignore until our hair turns into dry straw. Heat-styling has its own pros and cons, and it’s better to evaluate the consequences before throwing all the dragonflame on to your hair. Let’s take a deep dive into the science of hair and see how heat has an effect on it.
Causes Of Heat-Damaged Hair
To understand the concept of hair damage, let’s explore the hair structure first. A human hair consists of three layers: hair medulla, hair cortex, and hair cuticles. Medulla is the core of the hair surrounded by the hair cortex containing keratin, hair proteins, and other nutrients. This cortex is surrounded by a layer of hair cuticles that protect the hair cortex from potential damage. These cuticles lie flat on the hair surface like the scale of fish to protect the hair cortex. When a heated tool of 450F is directly applied onto hair, it causes the hair cuticles to rise, leaving gaps in between. This exposes the hair cortex, allowing keratin and moisture to escape and leaving the hair dry, brittle, and burnt. This is how heat damage creeps into the hair.
Levels Of Heat Damage
There are typically three levels of damage:
Level one damage affects the cuticles to the point where the hair texture begins to feel rough, brittle, and bumpy. However, the hair cortex is safe at this level, and it’s only the cuticle layer that’s taking all of the burn.
Level two damage leads to the cuticles fully raised, the hair cortex exposed to the damage to some extent. At this stage, the hair cuticles are close to breaking off and the hair feels shineless and extremely brittle with no elasticity.
Level three refers to the worst hair damage situation, where the hair cuticles begin to fall apart, fully exposing the hair cortex. The hair feels extremely vulnerable, weak, and breaks off in bulks. It has zero elasticity or shine, and appears dull and lifeless.
Signs Of Heat Damage
Heat damage isn’t difficult to detect. There are some obvious, vital signs your mane begins to show as it gets damaged. Look out for these symptoms to figure out whether your hair is on the radar of getting damaged by heat:
- Excessive Dryness
Heat-damaged hair feels super dry, and nothing seems to be working on it. The reason being, the heat applied dries out all of the moisture from hair, leaving it dehydrated and brittle.
- Uncontrollable Frizz
When the hair is dry, it runs off in different directions to look for moisture in the hair. This results in excessive frizz and hair tangles. If you heat-damage your hair too often, you might be facing this issue already.
As the heat damage dries the hair out, it affects hair elasticity and lubrication which creates friction between the hair. This friction causes the hair ends to split in half, making it vulnerable and prone to breakage.
- Hair Breakage
As the hair gets weaker, it tends to break more. Hence, if you see lots of hair breakage especially mid-shaft, your hair’s likely to be severely heat-damaged.
- Deformed Hair Texture
Heat-styling can mess with your natural hair texture, and ruin it completely. It starts melting the protein bonds in your hair which, in consequence, deforms the hair texture, and destroys your natural hair pattern.
How To Treat Heat Damaged Hair?
Hair damage, once occurred, takes a lot of time to get repaired. However, with consistency and caution, your hair health can significantly improve over time.
- Keep a low hand on heat-styling and choose to air-dry instead. The more you provide the heat, the more damaged it gets. Hence, give heat-free braids and buns a try.
- Treat your hair gently. Do not brush too often or too harshly, and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.
- Get trims every now and then to cut off dead-ends and get healthy hair instead. Remember, the hair coming out of the follicle is perfectly healthy. Hence, instead of applying more heat to tame the hair, practice on keeping it healthy instead.
- Use the hair products that go gentle on your hair and aren’t stuffed with harsh chemicals. Natural, organic, and sulfate-free products are a good choice for heat damaged hair.
- Focus on providing and retaining moisture and protein to your damaged hair. Add leave-in conditioners and hair masques to your hair care routine, and avoid chemical/color treatments for some time.
- Never heat-style your hair without applying a quality heat-protectant. Using a heat-protectant will minimize the damage caused by heat and maintain your hair health.
Best Hair Products For Heat-Damaged Hair
Heat-damaged hair is fragile and needs extra care. Below are some of the best products for maintaining, nourishing, and nurturing your damaged mane.
Owing to its nourishing ingredients, Shield Shampoo helps in hydrating your hair deeply and protects it from potential hair damage.
Pair up Shield Shampoo with Shield Conditioner for added benefits and protection. Its super-hydrating properties help retain moisture and add shine to heat-damaged hair.
Deep Conditioner Treatment
Powered with Juvexin and Jojoba Oil, Deep Conditioner Treatment rejuvenates the hair from the inside out and adds to its overall health within a few minutes.
Leave-In Conditioner Spray
Heat-damaged hair gets lots of frizz and dryness post-shower. Spray on Leave-In Conditioner Spray to combat the frizz and retain the moisture all day long.
ThermalStyleHer CreamIf you’re still fond of heat-styling, ThermalStyleHer can be the best heat protection cream for your hair. Its creamy texture and unique formula not only add extra nourishment to the hair, but also provide thermal protection up to 450F.