Hair damage is one of those inevitable things because the simplest of things harms our hair; from style manipulation to natural elements like the sun. Heat is one of the leading causes of damaged hair. Here is more information about heat damage and what you can do to reverse it.

What is heat damage?

Heat damage is when the protein bonds in your hair are permanently altered to the point that your hair struggles to retain moisture and fails to return to its natural curl pattern.

Heat damage is caused by three major factors:

Chemicals – using relaxers, perms, colours and bleaching agents.
Artificial heat – using hot tools like blow dryer, flat and curling irons.
Natural elements – the natural weather elements like sun and extreme heat.

How can I tell I have heat damage?

Hair suffering from heat damage loses its natural bounce and elasticity. It usually looks frizzy and dull grey and can barely hold a curl or soak up moisture. The hair strands are also very weak and easily snap under pressure, not forgetting the abundance of Y-shaped split ends.

How can I reduce heat damage?

Use heat protectants: Applied before use of heat, they are formulated with oils and silicones that coat and protect the hair from extreme heat and reduce the potential for damage.

Avoid unnecessary heat altogether: If you are looking to straighten your hair, choose half blow dry rather than a full blow dry – especially if you are going to be braiding or weaving after drying. If you are looking for a sleek look, be keen to control the temperature on the blow dryer, flat iron or dryer and let your
hairdresser know.

What can I do to rectify heat damage?

Clarify your hair: To clarify means to deep cleanse your hair and scalp to remove any buildup of dirt, oils and hair products. Like all dirt, there are some special detergents used to really work through stubborn grease. For your hair, look for a shampoo that says “clarifying” or “deep-cleansing” to thoroughly cleanse your hair stands and scalp.

Use a protein treatment: Damaged hair is usually low in protein. A protein treatment will help patch up and reconstruct cracks and breakage in the cuticle. It also encourages the return of your natural texture.

Use a deep conditioner: In repairing your hair, moisture plays an integral role. Heat usually removes moisture from the hair leaving it dry and frizzy. A deep conditioner restores moisture balance and leaves the hair healthy and shinny.

When all else fails, chop it: Sometimes hair has suffered so much damage that it becomes irreparable. At this point, it is time to think of going for an aggressive professional trim or maybe a big chop to start afresh.