Nothing brings your hair to life better than hair styling tools. You can instantly add volume to stick-straight hair with a blow dryer, turn fizzy unmanageable curly hairs into a smooth straight mane with hair straighteners, or get gorgeous curls with rollers or curling irons. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that with the right styling tool, you can never have a bad hair day. Heat in the styling tools temporarily reshapes the hydrogen bonds in the hair's inner core, giving you the style you desire.
How can hot styling tools damage your hair?
When compared to chemical hair treatments that permanently restructure the hair, heat styling is preferred by many men and women as the restructuring is temporary. Hair returns to its usual state and texture as soon as you shampoo them. But, heat styling also comes with side-effects. Using heating tools regularly to alter the hair eventually causes hair damage. Yes, heat from styling tools is one of the chief reasons for hair problems like hair loss, frizzy hair, split ends, dryness and hair breakage.
Continuous use of hot styling tools causes the ends of your hair to dry out and become brittle. Most heat tools including flat irons are equipped with heat settings that go up to 410 degrees F or more. With such high temperatures it only takes one use for a heating tool to burn your hair and eventually damages them to an extent that you experience problems like hair loss. Unlike in other cases, you might not notice the damage right away, but gradually you will begin to observe that your hair is becoming thinner, finer and weaker.
Fortunately, hair damage caused by styling can be reversed
Hair damage that your experience due to excessive usage of heat tools can be repaired. You can start by looking out for treatments for heat damaged hair. Most of the therapies available on the market are protein treatments that aim to restore the keratin bonds in your hair. If you are on a budget, you can try homemade therapies like egg protein treatments and dark beer rinses. Remember, you can’t repair the heat damage in just a single treatment session. It is going to take some time and the time will depend on the severity of the damage.
However, if the damage looks irreversible even after a number of protein therapies, then consider cutting or trimming the damaged hair to prevent breakages and split ends. You can either chose to chop of all the heat damage at once or trim a little at a time. If you start losing a lot of hair due to heat styling, consider using hair loss solutions such as supplements, topical therapies, laser devices or shampoos. With regular use of these products, you can stop hair loss caused by heat styling.
Tips to protect your hair from heat damage
You don’t have to completely refrain from using heating tools to protect your hair. With proper heat protection you can save your hair from damage. Here are some tips that will help:
- Use the lowest possible heat settings when using heating tools. Experts advise that a flat iron should not be hotter than 347 degrees F. For other tools, stick to about 200 degrees.
- Look for styling tools that have plates with ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium. If you can find tools that allow you to select the temperature setting, then they are worth investing in.
- Try to reduce the frequency of hair styling. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using heating tools no more than two to three times a week.
- Never style your wet hair. Make sure your hair is completely dry when you use a flat iron or curling rods on them. Avoid using a blow dryer to dry out your wet hair. Use blow dryer on damp hair. But if you are in a hurry, blow dry at cool setting.
- Always use a heat defence spray or serum before styling to protect your hair against heat damage. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to heat protection products. There are many that are especially designed to your hair type. So select the suitable product and use it whenever you style your hair.
- When using heat protection products make sure you shampoo and condition your hair frequently. Many products can cause build-up, debris, oil, and dirt in your hair, giving way for more hair problems.
- When you’re using a heat tool, make sure you don’t hold the device in one location for too long. Keep on moving slowly and steady. If you are curling your hair, then keep the hair curled around the barrel as briefly as possible. Remember the rule of the thumb, less heat exposure equals less hair damage.