While utilizing specific heat protection products to protect hair from heat damage may help, if your hair is hot ironed or hot dried every day - day in and day out - products may not stop the damage. Heat protection products may slow down the damage, but none can stop it completely.
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Does that mean you should stop using leave-in conditioners and styling products with specific or general heat protection properties?
No, but what it does mean is that you need to incorporate additional safeguards to protect your hair from the cuticle breakdown which occurs with repeated hot ironing, curling, straightening and blow drying.
Steps To Take To Protect Hair From Hot Styling Heat Damage
What other steps should you take to protect your hair from heat damage?
1. Use heat protection products but use them consistently and liberally
The problem some hot iron addicted hair consumers have is that they forget to apply heat protection every single time they use hot tools. Some hair consumers believe that using heat protection products occasionally will protect their ironed tresses all the time. Not true.
Heat protection products or similar must be applied before every use of hot tools. This means that if you hot style or blow your hair more than once a day you still must reapply heat protection. In fact, think of heat protection products as a type of sunscreen for your tresses which must be applied consistently, liberally and before every single heat styling session.
2. Understand what products will protect your hair and which ones won't
Some leave-in conditioning products will work to prevent heat damage but some won't. Be sure you understand what products you are using for heat protection and make sure they really can provide protection. While a leave-in conditioner will help to some extent to protect strands, some are better than others.
3. Step away from the hot styling products
Some hair consumers feel the need to hot iron their hair every single day. This only adds to the potential damage. Studies have shown that repeated straightening causes a breakdown in the cuticle that continues until the cuticle starts to lift, become rough and the uneven surfaces exposes the cortex of the hair.
Split ends form and ultimately snake their way the length of the hair all the way to the roots causing the strands to break off. Repeated straightening causes a complete breakdown in the cuticle.
When possible try to skip a few days every week in between hot styling sessions to give your hair a break. Wear your hair pinned up or embellished with hair accessories which detract attention away from your texture concerns.
Some people only iron every 2nd or 3rd way while some don't iron or blow dry on weekends. Ultimately it would be best to only use hot styling tools for special hair events but it that's not possible at least try to cut back.
4. Turn down the heat
For safe hot tool use it’s important to turn down the heat. Some hot irons (curling and straightening) reach over 220c, which is extreme in terms of what hair can handle. Keep your curling irons and straighteners below 180c. While lower heats may take longer to work, they will also cause less long term damage.
5. Try alternative styling methods
Heat protection products do not contain magic potions. While they may reduce some of the heat damage, if hair is hot ironed or blow dried every day, even with heat protection products, the damage will still occur.
Instead of hot ironing or blow drying experiment with wet sets where hair is allowed to air dry in rollers all day or overnight. Even hood or bonnet style hair dryers are less damaging than blow dryers. If you must use a blow dryer consider buying one with a low speed/low heat setting. Even better, find one with a cool setting and dry hair with the lowest heat setting possible.
6. Be proactive about protecting hair
If you can't kick your hot iron or blow dryer addiction than be sure to be religious about visiting your professional stylist for trims and regular maintenance. Once split ends forms it's best to have them removed to prevent the hair from splitting all the way up the shaft. Be sure to schedule deep conditioning treatments which you apply to the damaged areas of your hair.
With every hair challenge there are a wide range of options to provide the best overall care for your tresses. While hot ironing and styling may be stressful and harmful to strands with the right heat protection products combined with an overall heat protection plan you can still enjoy wearing your hair the way you desire without chronic and extreme damage.
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