Hottest Ways To Damage Your Hair
Some people wonder if using heat protectants are worth the cost or even necessary since they cannot protect your hair entirely from heat damage.
When you use a flat or curling iron, you can transform your kinks for new looks. However, added heat introduces changes to your natural hair, and not always the good ones. Overusing heat treatments and increased heat exposure causes damage that permanently weakens and loosens curls.
When you heat your hot tools at temperatures as high as 300 degrees, you can expect to see the damage. Without proper protection and care, beware of the following: natural pigment change, excessive breakage/shedding, limp strands from ineffective keratin proteins, and dry, unmanageable hair no matter what products you use. This does not happen after one time, but over time, frequent heat usage diminishes the overall health of your natural hair.
Heat damage doesn’t only come from using electric heat. Natural heat from the sun and even extreme temperatures also take a toll on our curls. The sun’s rays alone are enough to penetrate through skin and hair, which is why you should always use protection in any way possible. The damaging effects of natural heat are similar to artificial heat, including thinning and frizzing hair.
Curly and kinky hair are among the top hair types that receive the most damage from the sun, along with light-colored hair.
How Heat Protectants Work
To minimize the amount of harm inflicted, make sure to have some sort of heat protectant necessary.
We hear mostly about heat protecting sprays, but there other ways to save your strands by including heat-protecting creams, conditioners, serums, and accessories!
Remember, the protectant will not prevent damage, but it will help to reduce it significantly with smart styling. Any product that claims it can protect hair from heat is created using silicones, proteins, oils, and more.
Have you ever wondered what actually makes up an effective heat protectant?
A synthetic ingredient, silicones are elements that bring forth the protective layers for your hair.
Silicones coat your cuticles so that moisture loss reduces and heat transfers slowly. There are different silicone formulas according to brands, but it is up to you to research to know the makeup of each. It might be difficult to remember the names of each type of silicone, but most components end in “cone,” “conol,” “col,” or “xane.” The downside occurs when you begin to rely on silicone for softer, smoother hair.
You can find silicone in a wide variety of hair products to assist with smoothing and anti-frizz. Although it gives off a moisturized, conditioned feel, you’re really just adding a plastic-like layer to your hair for artificial shine.
The different types of silicones behave the same, where they all protect against water and air, and attract more dirt. All you see is excess buildup which causes you to wash more often. And as naturalistas, we want to make sure to approach our wash days wisely.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to look for products containing lightweight silicones to produce a softness and shine with less buildup. The stronger silicones that require shampoo washes to remove are just not worth it for natural hair. Over time, the strands begin to weaken, and hair is weighed down.
This is why we encourage minimal heat use because although protectants help against one type of damage, we don’t want to introduce another.
Your curls are made up of a protein called keratin.
In general, having a sufficient amount of protein and nutrients in your diet will ensure healthy strands. Whenever you add foods or products directly to your hair for a protein treatment, it promotes excellent hair growth and health.
With the use of heat, hair is susceptible to breakage, so including a protectant with proteins helps to strengthen strands while styling. Different products may contain different types of proteins, such as keratin, milk, collagen, wheat, or soy, so you can decide what is best for your tresses.
Types of Hair Proteins
Hydrolyzed Wheat ProteinsAre used to thicken and add volume to thinning hair. Due to their low molecular weight, they can quickly absorb into the hair. Also, they report damaged hair by fortifying with proteins.
Hydrolyzed Silk ProteinsImprove the elasticity of brittle hair. The protein comes from silk which is known to be one of the most durable fibers on the planet. It can replenish the hair and infiltrate the strands. This will improve the hair's elasticity against breakage but at the same time forming a barrier on the hair. You won’t have to worry about dry hair anymore!
Hydrolyzed Soy ProteinIs a water-soluble protein derived from soy. Commonly known for strengthening and mending hair fibers, it increases your hair's ability to hold moisture while adding shine and smoothness.
Hydrolyzed Milk ProteinMilk that moisturizes, nourishes and improves the manageability of your hair.
Hydrolyzed Keratin ProteinA highly specialized fibrous protein, contained in hair, feathers, wool, and nails.
Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein
Used to temporarily bond the hair and stave off breakage when put under tension.
You can find or create heat protectants with proteins to nourish your hair. Without a sealant, moisture passes through strands and hair appears drier, resulting in frizz.
For girls with naturally curly and kinky hair, we already have naturally dry hair, so it is essential to maintain hydration and moisture. A protein imbalance can also lead to unruly hair if you are saturating your hair with products.
You want to make sure to create a simple regimen that allows you to manage your hair care for optimal health.
Creating Your Own
If you were to make your own DIY heat protectant, there’s something to consider when it comes to finding ways to include protein.
Honestly, one of the best ways to ensure your hair has enough nourishment is through your food intake. You can find proteins in lean meats, seafood, eggs, spinach, broccoli, legumes, and more. However, if you enjoy protein treatments or similar, just be sure the proteins come hydrolyzed.
Hydrolysis is the process of breaking substances down with water. Many women try to create their products including protein-rich foods, but the truth is, there are minimal benefits since the protein in foods has to break down before absorbing into the hair shaft.
There is a considerable difference between purchasing hair products and creating your own. Products you buy come designed in labs with the ability to generate highly functional ingredients. However, if you are keen on using 100% natural-only products, then there’s nothing wrong with it. It is just that no amount of mixing or blending will break down protein molecules the way hydrolysis will.
But never forget to do what your hair likes best - if it works for you as is, then more power to you!
I’m sure you’ve heard of the girls who use only oils for heat protection.
Although many have claimed it works for them, it is up to you to decide how to manage your hair styling. Each type of oil has a smoke point, meaning when it reaches that temperature or higher, then you are in for more harm than good.
Oils work marvelously for natural hair, but it has to used correctly. Ultimately, using oil as a protectant results in drier, weaker strands. It doesn’t protect against moisture, and overheated oil can create toxins in your environment. So, if you must, use at lower temperatures and less frequently.
Although some oils behave similarly to silicones, the best thing you can do is combine natural and synthetic ingredients for better, more natural results. As the silicone works as the sealant, the oils benefit in protecting against damage by providing vitamins and minerals. Along with the proteins, your hair is in need of other nutrients to maintain length and strength.
You can find other ingredients listed on heat protectants. No need to worry about any chemicals used inside that damages your hair. Some are used to active others and become inactive, although present.
Remember, all the work done in the lab is to ensure that you can benefit as much as you can since protectants can’t fully take away the damages of heat usage.
Deciding What Type of Protection You Need
So, when I say deciding what type of protection you’ll need, it depends on your situation.
Looking for a protectant against hot tools? I suggest a spray, cream, or serum. Need protection against the sun? If you live in a warm, sunny area, then protect daily with accessories such as headscarves or hats.
Direct heat requires direct heat protectants. The only difference between different types of products is the ingredients to create consistency and nutrients. It doesn’t matter if you use a spray or cream, regardless, if you apply enough, it will all serve the same purpose when applying heat.
Some come as a 2-in-1 heat protectant and leave-in conditioner, which helps with the softness and feel. It’s the ingredients within that you have to know what they do, to see if there’s enough protection for you. Find the ones with the best parts according to your hair’s needs and watch as your hair’s behavior challenges the heat.
The goal of a heat protectant is to keep from excess moisture from being stripped from your strands, resulting in dry, weak hair. If your hair is natural, it is already among the driest hair textures that require hydration.
Heat protectants decrease the porosity level of your natural hair, making it less likely to revert to curly hair, especially if caught in bad weather. After using, your hair will appear smoother, moisture intact, and lower temperatures help prevent heat damage.
You can avoid using hot tools all you want, but you can never prevent natural heat damage from the sun if you don’t take the necessary precautions:
Cover it up!Protect from the sun’s rays directly by wearing stylish hats, or stepping up your headwrap game. It’s the most comfortable, unnoticeable way of keeping sensitive hair types safe.
Sunscreen, but for hair
Zinc has incorporated for natural healing for centuries.
Zinc oxide is a key component found in many sunscreens used to protect and improve the skin. Anyone suffering from hair loss or thinning can help the weaker sections of the hair by applying a sunblock cream with zinc oxide on the affected areas. If you want to use a little throughout your strands as well, it won’t be an issue.
You can do the same with natural oils that protect the scalp. Some favorite carrier oils to apply to your crown before you step outside include:
- Grape seed oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
Taking Care of Your Tresses
You never want to rely on using hot tools for your go-to styles.
Some stylists have recommended to only trust experts when styling with heat and doing so as often as twice a year. For girls with natural hair, the best thing you can do is try your best to save those styles for special occasions.
It’s always so refreshing to see someone look like a whole new person when they get the chance to dress up and change their everyday look. If you love those heat-producing styles so much, consider wigs or weaves to be able to wear the same look without any damage to your real hair.
There’s nothing wrong at all with using heat once in a while, but overusing hot tools and too much heat exposure will be the end of your natural hair if you’re not careful. This shows the major importance of heat protectants.
There’s a lot you can do to your hair, as black hair is the most versatile type of hair, so you don’t need to always resort to straightening your hair. If your hair is relaxed or chemically altered, then protectants will be your friend.
It is critical to use heat protectants to ensure that your strands are not being fried off!