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Heat Damaged Hair Explained: How To Fix Heat Damaged Hair

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More and more people have begun to embrace their natural hair texture. It’s a combination of them gaining confidence and trying to save time on their daily hair routines. When I was in high school, I would blow dry my hair every day. Yes, I would use a heat protectant spray, but it didn’t really prevent damage. I noticed that my hair was getting dryer and frizzier as days went on. I began to put lotion or oil in my hair to make it shinier and less frizzy after the fact, but that only lasted for so long. 

Since then, I barely use any hot tools on my hair. I save it mostly for special occasions. There’s definitely something still enticing about using a hot tool to change the look of your hair. We always want what we can’t have. There are healthier ways to use hot tools just like there’s a healthy way to do most things. Heat-damaged hair has become an epidemic because of all the trends that people are trying to keep up with. The Kardashians have brought back stick straight hair and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re unsure if you’ve got heat-damaged hair, then you’ve come to the right place. Let me straighten it out for ya’.

What Is Heat Damaged Hair?

Woman with curly hair looking to the side.

Woman with curly, dry hair.

Heat-damaged hair is hair that doesn’t behave as it normally should due to a source of heat. It also can be discolored hair. The average woman and a lot of men don’t take care of their hair. They do whatever they need to do to get the style they want without thinking about the consequences of their damaging actions. When the classic hot tools are overused or misused, your tresses won’t hold up. You can easily cause heat damage to your hair with one simple swipe or curl. This doesn’t mean you need to stop using these tools, but you do need to change the way you’re using them. 

Heat usually refers to hot tools but heat can also refer to the sun. UVA and UVB rays can cause discoloration, brittle and dry locks, and thinning and frizziness. Sounds lovely, right? Light colored hair is more sensitive to sun damage than if you have thick, dark hair. If you spend most of your days outside in the sunlight, it’s best to cover up with a hat or a light scarf. The chlorination in pools doesn’t help either since it makes your hair more vulnerable. 

What Does Heat Damaged Hair Look Like?

Woman touching her dry hair.

Dry and damaged hair.

Heat-damaged hair looks like it just went through a fire. Sorry, that was a bit dramatic. Hair that usually should be shiny is turned dull when damaged by heat. It also feels coarse when you touch it. Heat-damaged hair can also have breakage and split ends. Your natural curl can even be disrupted by heat damage. Heat-damaged hair can’t actually be fully fixed but it can be improved. New, healthy hair can grow in as well. 

If you notice that you’re hair is full of split or dead ends, it’s time for a trim. You may think that the ends of your hair are not harming the rest of your hair, but they are. The ends of your hair are the oldest part of your hair and can easily be snagged and damaged by friction, lack of moisture, or breakage. If your ends are uncontrollable then it’s hard to control the rest of your hair. The best way to treat this is to cut them out completely and start fresh. Think about the little girls in your life who have never used a hot tool in your life, your hair can look like theirs if you cut back. 

How To Fix Heat Damaged Hair Naturally

1. Argan Oil 

Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil For Infections

Woman using oil.

An age-old beauty secret, argan oil deeply penetrates the hair cuticle to help repair heat-damaged hair. It’s jam-packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to help hydrate and soften your hair from root to tip. Most oils work wonders on repairing hair, but argan oil helps your hair get back to normal. It protects the hair from heat, UV damage, and chemicals. This should surely be your go-to oil if you want your hair to look softer and be more manageable. 

Argan oil can be used as many different products. It can be used as a conditioner since it’s rich in tocopherols, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. All of these nutrients help nourish and detangle your hair. It also helps prevent frizz. It can even be used as a heat-protectant spray. If you don’t want to damage your hair when blow drying, straightening, or curling, argan oil is all you need. As you may have guessed, it can be used in a hair mask too. The vitamin E smooths frayed hair and split ends. This all happens while the omega fatty acids strengthen your hair. You just need to leave the mask on for 15-30 minutes to reap its benefits. It can also reduce scalp inflammation that would usually lead to scalp issues like dandruff and itchiness. 

2. Jojoba Oil

For damaged and dry hair, jojoba oil can be its new best friend. It can be easily found at health food stores, herbal shops, beauty supply stores, and fancy grocery stores. It works great when used as a leave-in treatment. For heat-damaged hair, you’ll want to do the treatment once a week. For lesser problems, you can probably get away with doing a treatment every two to three weeks. 

To start with the jojoba oil, massage the oil into your scalp with your fingers. You can either dip your fingers into the oil or pour some directly onto your head. Don’t forget to cover your entire scalp which includes the nape of your neck and the spots behind your ears. It’s easier to reach your roots if you bend forward. Once you’ve completely saturated your scalp with the oil, cover the rest of your hair with it. The amount of jojoba oil you need will depend on your hair’s length and thickness.

It’s always better to apply too much than not enough in this situation. You can let the oil soak in your hair for twenty minutes or overnight, whatever floats your boat. If you do decide to keep it in overnight, make sure you wear a shower cap as the oil can easily stain your sheets. Wash out the oil normally. You may have to shampoo twice to fully cleanse your hair. 

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar.

This vinegar may seem too stinky to put in your hair, but ACV is perfect for preventing summer-damaged hair. The acidity won’t mess with any hair dye like you might suspect it to. It actually helps remove heavy metals that end up in your hair from chlorine. It smooths your hair out, leaving it with a glossy finish. The vinegar helps close the cuticle and balance out the pH level. Typical hair care products affect the pH level of your hair, apple cider vinegar brings it back to where it should be. A closed cuticle layer makes for shinier and less frizzy hair. 

You should not pour it straight from the bottle onto your head. It needs to be diluted first. Raw apple cider vinegar is the by-product of fermented apples. Since apples are full of potassium, calcium, malic acid, and pectin, the vinegar is extremely beneficial. This is also why raw is better than pasteurized apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar contains natural alpha-hydroxy acid. This helps it exfoliate your scalp and hair, which helps remove dead skin cells and build up that’s caused by typical hair products and sweat. Its antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties alone should be reason enough to add it to your hair regime. 

DIY Heat Damage Repair Mask Recipe

Woman sleeping surrounded by flowers.

Nourish your hair with botanicals.

We can’t all be blessed with celebrity hair, which is why we feel obligated to do whatever is necessary to make our hair look and feel healthy, shiny, and smooth. But all that styling to resemble our favorite celebrities can cause a lot of heat damage.

Therefore, a DIY heat damage repair mask recipe is a must. Hair masks can give you some relief from the damage and can leave your hair extra soft and shiny. Many have their favorite hair mask for damaged hair that they buy in a store, but I’m telling you that DIY is the better way to go. A DIY hair mask is more affordable and suitable for most hair types, unlike the ones you buy in drug stores. With any hair mask, it’s best if you apply it once or twice a week and wear a shower cap after to let all the benefits soak up. 

I personally like the coconut and olive oil mask. Oils are full of nutrients and proteins. These provide your hair with extra strength and overall health. Oils are great for deep conditioning and repair damaged hair. All this recipe takes is a mixture of equal parts of olive oil and coconut oil. Massage it into the scalp and pay special attention to the ends of your hair. After you applied to oil thoroughly throughout your hair, wrap it in a towel that was soaked in lukewarm water. After an hour, wash out the mask with shampoo and condition your hair as usual. Doing this treatment over time will greatly improve the look and feel of your hair. 

How To Prevent Heat Damage To Hair

If you want to prevent any future heat damage to your hair, you should avoid using relaxers, hair dye, and bleach. Using a straightening iron is bad but made even worse when used on treated hair. You don’t want to have to worry about treating chemically-damaged hair in addition to heat-damaged hair. If you want to dye your hair, you should use semi-permanent ones since they cause less damage. If it wasn’t clear, you should also avoid using hot tools to style your hair. When you just can’t help yourself, limit it to twice a week, never use it on wet hair, and, lower the temperature. 

You should also avoid any products that cause dryness. Parabens, silicones, and sulfates all fall under this category. Sulfates and parabens will cause your hair to be brittle and dry. You can’t even use heat on already dry hair. It won’t be able to do anything. If you can’t avoid these ingredients, at least make sure that they are at the bottom of the list. This means that they don’t have such a high content. You can also avoid heat-damaged hair by covering your hair when you’re in the sunlight. Going on a long walk on the beach and forgetting to cover your hair can be very damaging. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wear a hat or scarf. There are also hair products that have UV protection. 

Conclusion

Women with textured or curly hair know the struggle of heat-damage more than anyone else. That’s because everyone else has hair that’s straight or just more manageable. Heat is a curl killer. Once you decide to use heat, it’s hard to go back to wearing your hair natural. Your once perfectly-defined bouncy curl now looks like a pattern-less line that was just zapped. Heat damage is unpredictable as well as spotty. You never know when it’s going to pop up. It’s hard to prevent the damage when you can’t manage the heat. A blow dryer and hot comb don’t have any dial and therefore can’t be kept below hair damaging levels. 

Unfortunately, heat damaged hair is way more common than you think. As I said earlier, it just takes one swipe to cause damage. If you’ve gone too heavy on the heat, you’re now well-equipped with the knowledge of what to do. You can decide to ignore your heat-damaged hair, but I guarantee that you’ll be better and more confident if you work to get rid of all the damage. It’s true that the best way to actually get rid of it is to chop it off, but as you can see there are plenty of other options. Natural is always the way to go.