Once your hair has endured enough heat damage (from flat irons, blow dryers, curling irons, etc.), it is nearly impossible to restore the health of severely damaged strands. As a result, it is in your best interest to use heat as wisely as possible when drying and styling your hair. Here are my top five tips to avoid extreme heat damage:
- Avoid multiple swipes with a flat iron:
One of the best things you can do is invest in a high-quality flat iron with ceramic plates and a temperature-control function (e.g., Babyliss or Chi Flat Irons). Section your hair off into small enough pieces where one thorough swipe of the flat iron is enough to straighten the hair. If your hair needs several swipes to get a small section straight, your hair is enduring several swipes of high heat, resulting in possible immediate damage. You are better off taking your time swiping through one section once and getting it straight then swiping through several times.
- Never blow dry 100% wet hair: Allow your hair to dry for a while (up to about 70% dry) before using a blow dryer. In WebMD's article "Expensive Hair Dryers: Are They Worth It," (by Maria Ricapito), Audrey Kunun M.D. suggests that you "let hair dry naturally for several minutes or use a special towel, like those manufactured by Aquis [microfiber fabric towel], that helps wick away excess water to trim dryer time." Why shouldn't you apply a blow dryer on 100% wet hair? According to WebMD, high heat is only good for a short period of time. "When you continue to dry hair, you boil the water inside the shaft and get a condition known as bubble shaft,” says Zoe Draelos, MD, consulting professor of dermatology at Duke University School of Medicine. According to Dr. Draelos, "this is as bad as it sounds -- hair bursts from the steam. The result: Weakened, damaged hair that's more likely to break when combed."
- Use the blow dryer's "cold shot" when possible: Take advantage of your blow dryer's cold shot when possible. Although it won't dry your hair as fast as the hotter temperatures will, it will still dry it and decrease the amount of damage on your tresses.
- Concentrate nozzle on one area at a time: Ms. Ricapito recommends that you "always use the nozzle attachment on your [blow]dryer unless you're diffusing curls. This concentrates heat for a quicker result."
- Consider bonnet or hood drying rather than blow drying: Bonnet/hood drying diffuses the heat over a large area of your hair rather than concentrating high heat on a specific area. If your hair is really sensitive to high heat (especially if you have relaxed hair that is easily prone to breakage), you may want to opt for using rollers and a bonnet or a hood dryer as opposed to blow drying your tresses.
-Written by: Cafe Belle's Healthy Hair Barista