If you’re like most people, you probably use a hair dryer, curling iron, or flat iron regularly. And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably experienced heat damage. Exposure to the sun and other elements can cause heat damage. Heat damage can cause your hair to become brittle and lifeless, and it can be challenging to repair the damage once done. This article will discuss the best ways to treat heat-damaged hair. We will also provide tips for preventing heat damage in the first place!
The best ways to treat heat-damaged hair include:
- Use a Protein Treatment
- Use a Moisturizing Treatment
- Seal Moisture with Oils
- Avoid heat styling tools
- Consider air drying your hair
- Space out washes a little longer
How Does Heat Damage Hair?
Heat damage occurs when the hair loses its natural moisture.
This moisture depletion can happen when you use heat-styling tools or spend a lot of time in the sun.
When the hair loses its natural moisture, it becomes dry and brittle.
Heat damages the cuticle (hair’s protective layer), leading to split ends and frizz.
Before we discuss how to treat heat-damaged hair, it’s essential to understand a little bit about the structure of the hair.
Each strand of hair comprises three layers: the medulla, cortex, and cuticle.
- The medulla is the innermost layer of the hair strand and is composed of soft keratin.
- The cortex is the middle layer and is composed of hard keratin.
- The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair strand and comprises overlapping cells that protect the inner layers of the hair.
Heat styling tools can cause heat damage to your hair by depleting its natural moisture content or damaging the cuticle.
The heat from styling tools can cause the cuticles to lift, which allows moisture to escape.
This moisture loss can lead to dryness, frizz, and split ends. When the cuticle is damaged, it can lead to split ends and frizz.
7 Signs of Heat Damaged Hair
There are some telltale signs you can look for if you’re unsure whether heat damage has occurred.
Here are nine signs of heat-damaged hair:
1. Rough or changed hair texture
Heat damage will change the texture of your hair. If you usually have soft, smooth hair, heat damage can make it feel rough and straw-like.
If you have curly hair, heat damage can make it appear straighter than usual, even after washing it.
The change in texture is due to the heat’s alteration of your hair structure.
2. Loss of shine
Another sign of heat damage is a loss of shine.
Your hair will appear dull and lifeless when damaged by heat.
This dull appearance is because the heat has caused the cuticle to lift, which allows moisture to escape.
When the hair lacks moisture, it will appear dull and lifeless.
3. Incorrect hair colour
Heat damage can also cause your hair colour to appear incorrect.
For example, if you have blonde hair, heat damage can make it appear brassy or orange.
This colour change is because the heat has damaged the cuticle, which allows the pigment to escape.
As a result, your hair colour will appear faded or brassy.
4. Loss of hair’s usual shine
Another sign of heat damage is a loss of hair’s usual shine.
Your hair will appear dull and lifeless when damaged by heat.
This loss of shine is because the heat has caused the natural oils in your hair to evaporate.
When the natural oils are gone, your hair will appear dull.
5. A loss of elasticity
Heat-damaged hair will also lose its elasticity.
Elasticity is the ability of hair to return to its original shape after being stretched.
Heat damage will make your hair less elastic, and as a result, it will be more prone to split ends and breakage.
This weakness is because the heat has weakened the protein bonds in your hair.
As a result, your hair will be less able to withstand stress and break more easily.
Hair Elasticity Test:
To see if heat damage has caused a loss of elasticity in your hair, take a strand of hair and stretch it out.
Heat damage will likely occur if the hair breaks easily or does not return to its original shape.
Hair that is healthy and undamaged will be more elastic and return to its original shape.
6. The hair feels dry and brittle.
Heat damage can cause your hair to feel dry and brittle.
This dryness is because the heat has depleted the hair’s natural moisture content. Further, heat damages the hair cuticles, making them more porous.
High porosity hair is more susceptible to moisture loss, which can cause the hair to feel dry and brittle.
Hair Porosity Test
To test for high porosity, take a strand of your hair and place it in a glass of water.
- Low porosity: The strand will float or take a long time to sink
- Normal porosity: The strand will float somewhere in the middle of the glass
- High porosity: The strand will sink immediately
If the strand sinks immediately, heat damage has likely made your hair more porous and susceptible to moisture loss.
When the hair lacks moisture, it will appear dry and brittle.
7. Difficulties styling your hair
Heat-damaged hair is more difficult to style because it doesn’t have the same amount of bounce and elasticity.
As a result, your hair will be more likely to frizz and harder to control.
Styling heat-damaged hair can also be difficult because the heat has weakened the protein bonds in your hair.
Weaken hair bonds make heat-damaged hair more susceptible to breakage and split ends.
The Best Ways to Treat Heat Damaged Hair
Heat damage is a common problem due to exposure to the sun, using heat styling tools, or spending time in hot environments.
If you think your hair may be heat damaged, look for signs discussed above, such as rough or changed hair texture, loss of shine, and wrong hair colour.
It is not always possible to reverse heat damage, but some treatments can help to restore heat-damaged hair.
Here are some of the best ways to treat heat-damaged hair:
Use a Protein Treatment
Protein treatments can help to repair heat-damaged hair by strengthening the protein bonds in your hair.
The protein molecules fill in the gaps in heat-damaged hair, making it stronger and less susceptible to breakage.
You can use a protein treatment at home by using a protein-rich conditioner or by applying a DIY hair mask.
For example, eggs are high in protein and can help repair heat-damaged hair when used as a mask.
Many protein treatments are available on the market, so choose one specifically designed for heat-damaged hair.
You can find protein treatments at most drugstores or beauty supply stores.
Use a Moisturizing Treatment
Moisturizing treatments such as deep conditioners penetrate the hair shaft and help replenish moisture in heat-damaged hair.
Moisture is essential because heat damage can cause the hair to become dry and brittle.
Look out for moisturizing ingredients such as:
- Aloe vera: A natural plant that has hydrating properties
- Glycerin: A type of alcohol that helps the hair to retain moisture
- Honey: A natural humectant that attracts and retains moisture
- Oils: Natural oils such as olive oil or coconut oil can help heat damaged hair to retain moisture
- Panthenol: An alcohol derivative of pantothenic acid that acts as a humectant and emollient
You can find moisturizing treatments and deep conditioners at most drugstores or beauty supply stores.
Aim to do a moisturizing treatment at least once a week to help heat-damaged hair regain its moisture balance.
Seal Moisture in with Oils
After moisturizing, oils can help to seal moisture in heat-damaged hair and prevent it from becoming dry and brittle.
While moisturizing oils penetrate the hair shaft, sealing oils form a protective layer on the hair’s surface.
This protective layer helps lock in moisture and prevent moisture loss.
Some good sealing oils for heat-damaged hair include:
- Jojoba oil: A plant oil that is similar to the natural sebum produced by our scalp
- Coconut oil: A natural oil that known to help heat damaged hair
- Olive oil: A type of oil that is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants
- Avocado oil: A type of oil that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats
You can find these oils at most drugstores, beauty supply stores, or online.
Avoid heat-styling tools.
One of the best ways to prevent heat damage is to avoid heat styling tools.
If you must use heat styling tools, use a heat protectant product before applying heat to your hair.
Heat protectant products create a barrier between your hair and the heat, which can help prevent heat damage.
There are many different heat protectant products available in the market.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the heat protectant product to ensure that it is applied correctly.
Choose high-quality hot tools with adjustable heat settings if you must use heat.
Using quality tools will help prevent accidental heat damage.
Consider air drying your hair.
Air drying your hair is an excellent way to avoid heat damage. It is simply letting your hair dry naturally without using heat styling tools.
If you are in a hurry, you can towel dry your hair to remove excess moisture and let it air dry.
Avoid rubbing your hair with the towel, as this can cause friction and breakage.
Use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt to squeeze out excess moisture from your hair gently.
Space out washes a little longer
One of the best ways to avoid heat damage is to wash your hair less often.
Shampooing strips the hair of its natural oils, making it dry, brittle and susceptible to further heat damage.
If you have heat-damaged hair, aim to shampoo your hair no more than once or twice a week.
When you do shampoo, be sure to use a sulphate-free shampoo as this can help to avoid further drying out your heat-damaged hair.
There are many sulphate-free shampoos available on the market. Be sure to select one that is suitable for your hair type.
FAQs on Heat Damaged Hair
Can you reverse heat damage on hair?
Unfortunately, heat damage is often irreversible. However, some treatments can help restore heat-damaged hair. Protein treatments and moisturizing treatments can help to repair heat-damaged hair.
How do you know if your hair is heat damaged?
There are a few signs that can indicate heat damage. These include rough or changed hair texture, loss of shine, and incorrect hair colour. Look for these signs if your hair may be heat damaged.
How can I prevent heat damage to my hair?
The best way to prevent heat damage is to avoid exposure to the sun, heat styling tools, and hot environments. If you must use heat styling tools, use a heat protectant spray. And be sure not to use these tools too often. Heat-damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage, so it is essential to take care of it.
How often should I use a protein treatment on heat-damaged hair?
You can use protein treatments weekly or as needed. You may need to use them more often if your heat-damaged hair is severely damaged.
Heat-damaged hair can be challenging to treat, and sometimes it is even irreversible.
However, some treatments can help restore heat-damaged hair.
Be sure to take extra care of heat-damaged hair to prevent further damage.
If you have heat-damaged hair, use a protein and moisturizing treatment to help repair heat-damaged hair. And be sure not to use heat styling tools too often.
Heat-damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage, so it is vital to take care of it.
With some effort and the right products, you can help to restore heat-damaged hair.