African American Heat Damaged Hair: Causes and Treatment
Looking in the mirror and seeing the radiant, bouncy locks you once loved now in a state of despair can leave you feeling frustrated and hopeless. The dull, lifeless strands that characterize African American heat damaged hair can take a serious mental toll.
You’d do anything to revitalize your hair and undo the damage - and we’re here to help. This guide on how to treat heat damaged African American hair will empower you to regain the hair you once had.
You’ll discover the common causes of heat damage and telltale signs your hair needs a bit of TLC - and perhaps a break from the blow dryer, straight iron, and chemical treatments.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll feel confident in your next steps to reverse the curse of heat damage. But first - what is heat damage?
What is Heat Damaged Hair?
We often wield hot styling tools like magical wands in our quest to achieve the perfect look, transforming our natural locks into sleek styles or voluminous waves.
However, there's a price to be paid for certain hairstyles, and in this case, it's heat damage.
Heat damage is the alteration of the hair's natural structure due to excessive heat exposure. Our hair is composed of a delicate protein called keratin.
When high temperatures are applied - be it from flat irons, curling wands, or even high-powered hairdryers - the hair cuticles (the protective outer layer) can become raised or even chipped.
This leads to a loss of moisture and natural oils, causing the internal structure of the hair to be compromised.
Visible Signs of Heat Damaged Hair
Heat damage leaves evident signs on your locks. Here are some unmistakable indicators:
- Loss of Curl Pattern: One of the most heart-wrenching signs for those with naturally curly or wavy hair is the loss or loosening of your natural curl pattern. Areas exposed frequently to heat may remain stubbornly straight or wavy even when the rest of your hair curls as usual.
- Increased Frizz and Dryness: Hair begins to look parched and feels rough to the touch as it loses its natural moisture. This dehydration often manifests as unruly frizz, making the hair look unkempt.
- Split Ends and Breakage: Heat weakened hair is prone to splitting at the tips. This fragility also makes it more susceptible to breaking off with even minor tension.
- Dullness: Remember the shine your hair once boasted? Heat damage robs your hair of its luster, leaving it looking matte and lifeless.
Recognizing these signs can leave you in despair, but this is the first step in your journey to revival. The good news is you can remedy the issue with a bit of proactive care. First, though, what causes heat damaged African American hair?
Common Culprits of African American Heat Damaged Hair
We’ve touched on a few common culprits of heat damage in African American hair, but let’s uncover all of them now. After all, avoiding these common tools and techniques will be key to restoring healthy, happy hair.
Straightening and Curling Tools: Flat Irons, Hot Combs, and Blow Dryers
The allure of silky, straight hair often leads many to use flat irons and hot combs regularly. The same is true of curling tools.
But, they can instantly vaporize the little moisture African American hair holds with temperatures often exceeding 400°F, leaving it brittle.
The same is true of blow dryers to a certain extent. While they might seem harmless, especially when used on a cool setting, the constant flow of air can strip the hair of its natural moisture.
Using them frequently or on high heat accelerates the drying process and makes your hair more prone to breakage.
We have tips on how to make African American hair curly without heat and a guide discussing how to straighten African American hair without heat if you’re interested in learning more.
Chemical Processes: Relaxers and Texturizers
Chemical treatments might seem like the go-to solution for those looking to achieve a permanent straight look or a looser curl pattern.
However, these treatments break the hair's natural bonds. They can weaken the hair structure and lead to thinning and breakage if used frequently or applied incorrectly.
Commercial Salons: The Risk of Overexposure to High Heat
A salon visit should be a treat, but it can turn bitter if your stylist isn't attuned to the needs of African American hair. Over-reliance on high-heat tools or not using heat protectants can spell disaster, especially if you're a frequent salon-goer.
Environmental Factors: Sun Exposure and Humidity
The environment can be an unsuspecting villain in our hair's story. Prolonged sun exposure not only affects our skin but can also dry out and bleach our hair.
On the other hand, high humidity can cause frizz and disrupt the hair's natural pattern. Both these factors combined can escalate the damage caused by heat tools and chemicals.
Our guide on how to keep African American hair from frizzing in humidity can help you keep the environment at bay to a certain extent. But ultimately, you’ll need to be proactive in undoing the damage that exists. We’ll guide you through some steps to repair heat damaged African American hair below.
How to Repair African American Heat Damaged Hair
We’ve written a detailed guide on repairing damaged black hair in the past - but below, we’ll talk specifically about how to repair African American heat damaged hair. These tips will help you love the beautiful locks you see in the mirror once again!
Deep Conditioning Treatments: Restoring Moisture and Strength
Dehydration is one of the primary repercussions of heat damage. Thus, deep conditioning treatments are a must. These penetrate the hair shaft, replenishing lost moisture and nourishing the hair from within.
Opt for products rich in natural ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, or coconut oil to see a significant improvement in hair elasticity and overall health.
We have a guide on how to moisturize dry brittle African American hair if you’re interested in learning more about this process. A solid moisturization routine will also help you detangle severely matted African American hair while fending off dandruff in black hair.
Protein Treatments: Rebuilding Hair's Natural Structure
Hair is primarily made up of proteins. It loses this essential component when damaged. Protein treatments come to the rescue by filling in these gaps, effectively strengthening the hair.
However, it's a delicate balance. Too much protein can make hair brittle, so always follow up with a moisturizing treatment as we just discussed.
Temporary Fixes: Hair Masks, Oils, and Serums
While they may not reverse damage, these products act as a band-aid, providing temporary relief.
Natural oils like argan or jojoba oil can lock in moisture, and serums can give your hair a smooth finish, reducing the appearance of frizz and breakage. We’ll introduce you to a quality hair serum you can trust later on.
Taking Breaks: Letting Your Hair Rest and Recover
Sometimes, the best remedy is simply giving your hair a break. Steer clear of heat tools, chemical processes, and tight hairstyles for a while. Embrace your natural texture and let your hair heal organically.
When to Cut: Recognizing When It’s Time to Let Go of Damaged Ends
Severely damaged ends can hinder the overall health of your hair. The best solution is to trim these ends in some cases. It not only promotes healthier hair growth but also gives your hair a fresh, rejuvenated appearance. Discover the best days to cut hair for growth in our blog.
More Tips on Improving Your Hair Care Routine and Avoiding Damage in the First Place
We’ve walked you through how to repair African American heat damaged hair. But as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Once you get your hair back to normal here are some tips on maintaining the healthy, luscious locks you’ve worked hard for and avoiding heat damage in the first place.
Using Heat Protectants
These products are a must-have for anyone using heat on their hair regularly. They form a protective shield around the hair shaft, reducing moisture loss and potential heat damage.
Moreover, these protectants maintain the hair's integrity and ensure it remains resilient and vibrant by locking in moisture and repelling excessive heat.
Choosing the Right Temperature Settings
Every black hair type has its unique structure and threshold. African American hair has a tighter coil and more vulnerability to heat, so avoiding ultra-high temperatures is crucial.
It's a misconception that higher heat equals sleeker hair. In reality, it often translates to more damage. A temperature range of 250-350°F is typically adequate for most African American hair types.
Proper Techniques for Blow-Drying and Straightening
It's not just about the tools you use, but also how you use them. Instead of aggressively pulling your hair with a brush while blow-drying, opt for a gentle approach, using your fingers to detangle and style.
Ensure the hair is bone dry when straightening. Passing a flat iron over damp hair can literally cause the water within to boil, damaging the hair from the inside out.
While the idea of cutting your hair might seem counterproductive, especially if you're aiming for length, it’s one of the most effective ways to keep your hair healthy.
Regular trims remove damaged ends, preventing splits from traveling up the hair shaft and causing more extensive damage.
Embrace styles that shield the oldest and most vulnerable part of your hair, the ends, from exposure and tension.
From elegant updos to fun braids and twists, protective styles minimize damage from environmental factors, while also allowing your hair to rest.
Nighttime can be quite harsh on hair. Hair rubs against the pillow as we move during sleep, leading to potential breakage. Wrapping your hair or using silk pillowcases can drastically reduce this friction.
Incorporating Natural Oils into Your Hair Care Routine
The secret to lustrous, resilient hair often lies in nature's bountiful arsenal. Natural oils have been an integral part of hair care regimens across civilizations, playing a vital role in nourishing, hydrating, and protecting hair.
They are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. They penetrate the hair shaft to repair damage, seal in moisture, and provide a protective barrier against environmental aggressors.
But, not all products are made equal. Your hair deserves the best, and that’s exactly what we have to offer at Allurium Beauty. Our serum unlocks effortless healthy African American hair growth through a meticulously formulated blend of ancient herbs and oils.
Every drop of Allurium is packed with nature's goodness, ensuring your hair receives comprehensive care. From rejuvenating the scalp, promoting black hair growth, to adding that enviable sheen, Allurium is designed to be a one-stop solution for all your hair care needs.
The solution has helped countless African American women regrow bald patches, address a receding hairline, or even just encourage more length. It’s one of the best-kept African American hair growth secrets.
So, why not discover firsthand what makes our serum the best hair growth products for black women? We’re confident you won’t be disappointed and offer a 90-day money-back guarantee so you’ve got nothing to lose.
Final Thoughts on Heat Damaged African American Hair
There are few things more discouraging and frustrating than dealing with African American heat damaged hair. You just want to love who you see in the mirror again, making those dry, brittle, lifeless strands a distant memory of the past.
And now, you can. Armed with this knowledge you can feel confident and capable of righting the ship and breathing fresh life into your hair.
It's essential to understand the root causes, adopt preventive measures, and embrace restorative treatments tailored to the unique needs of African American hair. Remember, short-term allure of heated tools doesn't outweigh the long-term beauty of healthy, natural hair.
Our blog has additional resources on topics like how to dye African American hair without damaging it, how fast does black hair grow, how often to wash African American hair for growth, how is black hair different from white hair, dry flaky scalp African American hair, scalp eczema black hair, and a whole lot more.
So, take charge of your hair's health. Dive into a transformative journey with Allurium today and witness the magic unfold as you overcome African American heat damaged hair for good!