“Snap, crackle, pop” aren’t exactly the sounds you want to hear in the bathroom—especially while heat styling your hair. Unfortunately, excessive heat damage can take a toll on your hair leaving behind lackluster curls, fried ends and parched strands. But no need to fret, you won’t have to permanently retire your beloved flatiron, curling iron or blow-dryer thanks to a few expert pointers. Who knows, you might even be able to bring back your delicate follicles to their glory days.
Decipher Your Damage
“Some of the telltale signs of heat damage include split ends, hair breakage, high porosity, or hair that is severely dry and/or brittle,” shares Sedu Brand Manager, Jazmin Brunson. “Although these [issues] can come specifically from heat damage, they’re also just general signs of mismanaged hair.” Other telltale signs? An increase in frizz concentrated at the ends or lower portion of the hair shaft.
The Most Dangerous Weapon
“Flat irons that have metal plates or fixed heat temperatures—plus those not made with ceramic or titanium—will cause the most damage,” explains Lisa Marie Garcia, VP of Education and Show for Farouk Systems. “Blow dryers are next [on the list] if they don’t have ionic or moisture maintenance technology to protect the hair.”
Scale Back The Heat
“Most hair tools don’t go above 450 degrees, but each person has a unique hair texture which affects the temperature at which tools should be used,” says Brunson. “Typically if a person has fine, thin hair, they should select a cooler temperature below 360 degrees. Those with medium hair thickness [assuming hair isn’t extremely dry or oily] should select a temperature around 360 to 380 degrees. Thicker or course hair will require higher temperatures of 360 to 410 degrees at times.”
Daily Use Isn’t Out of The Question
“You can use hot styling tools daily, however there are a few things you must take into consideration,” explains Garcia. “Most importantly, make the investment in good styling tools that have ceramic, far-infrared, ionic or titanium technology. This will help protect your hair in the long run, along with using a thermal protectant (like CHI 44 Iron Guard) every use.”
Keep Your Texture In Mind
“Everyone uses hair tools differently, depending on the look they want to achieve and the type of hair they have,” explains Brunson. “Some people use hot tools daily because they wash their hair every day, while others just use hot tools to touch-up stray strands. What’s important is to find a tool that has an adjustable temperature so you have control of the level of heat you’re putting on your hair. There’s a difference between first day and ‘next day’ hair—if you didn’t wash in between, you may not need to set the temperature as high.”
Burn Baby, Burn
“[If you burned your hair] the first thing is to make an appointment with your stylist to banish burnt ends. Next, incorporate a weekly deep conditioner treatment (like CHI Argan Oil Rejuvenating Masque) to hydrate, nourish and condition depleted hair. Masques are ideal for dry or damaged hair that requires extra moisture and conditioning. Finally, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and nuts will help to rejuvenate new hair from the inside out.”
Yes, Excessive Heat Styling Hinders Curls
“When you [excessively] straighten your hair, you’re basically training it to act a certain way,” explains Brunson. “By consistently straightening it over time, you’re essentially teaching your hair how to be straight. The best way to bring back your curls is to mix up your routine and use a flat iron less frequently.” Another tip? “Look for products such as Sedu Moisturizing Conditioner that nourish the hair with Vitamin A and E along with strengthening proteins.” You can also prevent damage before it starts with pre-styling products like Sedu Anti-Frizz Treatment or Sedu Thermal Primer.
Infrared Technology is Worth Exploring
“Far Infrared (FIR) rays are electro-magnetic waves of energy, totally invisible to the naked eye, capable of penetrating deep into the human body, including the hair shaft,” explains Garcia. “It dries the hair from the inside out—meaning more moisture remains in the hair shaft resulting in less damage to individual strands. Ceramic counterparts also have benefits like distributing heat across the entire surface evenly, retaining heat more efficiently, and eliminating damaged hot spots.”