Hot tools like flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons are great for trying out different hairstyles and achieving a stylish and polished look.
However, the high temperatures these tools use can impact your hair health in the long run. Most people like to achieve the best results by using the highest temperature settings, which can go as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Applying so much heat to the hair can damage the hair cuticle, whose function is to protect the inner hair cortex. When the inner cortex gets compromised, it results in hair that is weak and susceptible to breakage.
Sometimes, when hair has been severely damaged, cutting it off seems like the only option. However, you can restore the strength and shine of your hair. In the following sections, we will explore the tips and tricks for reviving heat-damaged hair. We will also take a look at five great products for targeting heat-damaged hair.
Table of contents:
- How does heat damage hair
- Signs of Heat Damaged Hair
- Tips for Managing Heat Damaged hair
- Ingredients that can help revive heat damaged hair
- 5 Great Products for Reviving Heat Damaged Hair
How does heat damage hair
If you use any kind of heat styler, you must be familiar with the concept of heat damage. Even though the aesthetic benefits of using heat stylers are many, the high temperatures in these tools can cause the cuticle to:
- Change its shape
- Lie flat
- Release its natural moisture and natural curl pattern
To understand heat-damaged hair better, we’ll explore the ways heat can cause hair damage.
The cuticle consists of protein scales that overlap each other, very much like the shingles on a roof. This allows the hair strand to retain its moisture.
When the hair is subjected to heat styling or harsh chemical treatments, it raises the cuticle layer. Then the moisture escapes easily, and it becomes easier for harmful substances to enter the hair strand. Once the cuticles are lifted, the cortex becomes exposed to environmental elements.
Since the cortex provides elasticity and strength to hair, it results in damaged and extremely porous hair. The final result is extremely damaged, dry hair that looks choppy.
Signs of Heat Damaged Hair
Here are some of the major signs of heat damage in hair:
1. Dull and dry hair
The cuticles impart the necessary shine to your hair. When the cuticle layer gets damaged, the hair starts losing its shine, appearing dull and lifeless. A damaged cuticle layer also reduces the hair’s ability to retain moisture. This results in dehydrated tresses that are prone to breakage.
2. Split ends
Exposure to heat on a regular basis reduces the hair’s ability to retain moisture, and, as a result, hair loses its elasticity. Dehydrated hair becomes stiffer and more difficult to manage, which results in the formation of split ends. The split usually happens at the ends of the hair strands, but sometimes it can happen higher up as well. The split can either be a basic, multiple, or a cuticle split, in which the cuticle is lost, but the cortex remains.
3. Prone to breakage
With increased split ends, the structure of your hair becomes weaker, which makes hair prone to breakage. The risk of breakage further increases because heat damage also reduces the elasticity of the hair. If you are able to see a few short strands of hair that stick up, it is because they have broken off in the middle.
The hair breakage and split ends together contribute to giving a frizzy appearance to the hair. The hair sticks up in various places and is not able to lie flat. Whether you have straight or curly hair, frizziness is a problem that can affect all types of hair that have been damaged.
Heat stylers essentially strip the necessary moisture from the hair strands, which leaves the cuticle layer compromised. As a result, hair has difficulty lying flat. The appearance of flyaways increases as the hair starts breaking off from the roots. Flyaways are particularly difficult to manage as they affect the overall look of your hair.
6. Change in texture
Heat damage can also change the texture of your hair. To determine a change in texture, all you have to do is run your fingers through your hair. If your hair is curly, it can end up losing its spring and bounce. Straight hair, on the other hand, no longer feels silky and smooth after excessive heat damage. They feel coarse and rough and also look singed or frayed at the tips.
7. Tangles and knots
The hair's cuticle layer is made of protein scales that lie in the form of shingles. When all the shingles lie flat, the hair appears healthy. Heat damage raises the cuticles, as a result of which shingles start sticking out. Hair starts forming knots easily with other hair strands, and combing/brushing leads to hair breakage. You will notice a more significant appearance of tangles and knots, especially when the hair is wet or when it’s windy.
8. Affects hair color
Heat-damaged hair has difficulty retaining its color. This is because heat damage increases the hair’s porosity. As a result, it starts absorbing too much of the hair dye. That’s why the new hair color may be darker than intended. Since the cuticle layer is open, the color also fades away quickly after a couple of washes.
9. Hair loss
The average number of hair strands on our scalp is around 80,000 to 120,000. The growth cycle of the hair is roughly two to six years, and it is normal for some hair shedding to take place. However, heat damage weakens the hair strand quicker. As a result, you might notice more hair loss.
Tips for Managing Heat Damaged hair
A proper hair routine and steps for maintenance before and after you expose your hair to the heat can make it look healthier than ever. Let’s take a look at some protective heat styling tips:
1. Deep condition frequently
Heat-damaged hair can be dehydrated and dull, which is why you need to supply the hair strands with the necessary moisture through good hair care products. A deep conditioning mask treatment is the best way to provide the necessary hydration to dry hair.
2. Detangle before washing
Detangling your hair before washing it will help in preventing breakage. This is because hair breaks easily when wet. Even after drying, it can form tangles, which can be challenging to work through, leading to more breakage. A detangling lotion or simply finger detangling your hair before a shower can save your hair from a lot of damage.
This is the most important hair care tip when it comes to heat styling. If you are thinking of treating your hair with heat in any capacity, you should first apply a heat protectant. Heat protectant mists and lotions are designed to protect your hair from heat (up to 450 degrees).
4. Use professional heat stylers
You can save your hair from a lot of damage just by switching to a professional hair styler. Investing in a professional hair styler, according to your budget, will help you save money in the long run. Besides this, you will also be able to see enhanced results in your hairstyles.
5. Use low heat setting to style
The common mistake made by most people is styling their hair with the highest heat setting. This can lead to irreparable damage in some cases. It is always best to style your hair using minimal heat. Never raise your temperature above 350 degrees.
6. Make protective hairstyles at night
When you toss and turn during sleep, your hair can form tangles and knots easily. It is thus important to wrap your hair at night or make protective hairstyles to prevent damage during sleeping. You can also use silk pillowcases to reduce friction.
7. Trim your hair frequently
To get rid of damaged hair for good, it is important to get your hair trimmed frequently by a professional stylist. While you are taking preventative steps to protect the new hair from damage, cutting off the damaged ends will make the hair appear healthier.
Ingredients that can help revive heat damaged hair
Here is a list of ingredients that you should look out for when selecting products for repairing heat damaged hair:
Avocados are rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals that can work wonders for heat-damaged hair. It not only helps in repairing heat damage but also restores the natural luster of the hair. It has been found that the minerals in avocado oil help in sealing the cuticle layer of the hair. This can make the hair look smoother and shinier, and it also prevents breakage.
- Olive Oil
This ingredient essentially works as a natural conditioner for the hair. Olive oil can help in treating many of your hair care troubles, especially when it comes to the damage caused by heat stylers. It is known to strengthen the hair follicle, which can increase the life span of each hair strand. It can also help in reducing split ends and making the hair shaft stronger.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV is another great ingredient for fighting hair care troubles. Enriched with minerals and vitamins, apple cider vinegar is great for repairing damaged hair. It helps in strengthening the hair and smoothening the hair cuticles. It also improves the natural hair luster by lowering the pH level of the hair and scalp.
- Aloe Vera
The soothing effects of aloe vera gel make it great for repairing heat-damaged hair. The active ingredients in aloe vera are known to strengthen the hair. It also contains anti-inflammatory agents, which can help in reducing scalp itchiness and irritation.
- Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used for thousands of years for hair care troubles. It is known to be an excellent ingredient for moisturizing the hair, and it also helps keep the hair shiny and strong. Regular application of castor oil can repair brittle and damaged hair, enhancing the overall health of the hair.
5 Great Products for Reviving Heat Damaged Hair
Heat damage is a common problem among the people who use a lot of tools to style their hair. With the tips and tricks provided in this article, you can certainly nip the issue of heat damage in the bud. By taking preventative steps and building a good hair care routine, you will be able to keep your hair healthy and shiny-looking.
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