You’ve probably been told that using heat on your hair is a big no-no. And for the most part, this is true: heat can be very damaging to curly hair. But there are times when it can be ok to use heat – if you use it correctly and with proper care. Let’s discuss when it’s safe to use heat on curly hair, and how to do it without causing damage.
Why are we told not to use heat?
When you use heat on curly hair, you are more likely to cause damage and dryness than on straight hair. Curly hair can be dry by nature and therefore it is more likely to suffer damage.
Why heat can lead to damaged hair
When hair is exposed to high temperatures, the proteins in the hair shaft are damaged and weakened. This can cause the hair to become brittle and break off. High temperatures will also cause permanent damage and can affect your hair’s curl pattern.
Why heat can lead to dry hair
The high temperatures from hair tools can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dry and damaged hair. Over-heating your locks can also cause split ends and frizziness.
These are the different temperatures to be aware of:
185C / 365F ideal maximum temperature for styling without causing damage
223C / 451F hair burns resulting in permanent damage
The temperature of hairdryers (diffusers) can vary greatly and will depend on the setting. This is why it’s best to use a low heat setting whenever possible!
Should we just air-dry our hair?
Air drying your hair is the best way to avoid damage from heat. However, there are times when you might want to use a hairdryer with a diffuser attachment. Diffusing can increase volume and definition. It is important to use a low heat and speed setting in this case.
Which tools are too hot?
Some tools, like straightening irons and curling wands, can reach very high temperatures and can cause damage to your hair. If you’re going to use one of these tools, make sure to use a heat protector product first. This will help to shield your hair from the heat and will prevent it from becoming damaged.
What about heat protection products?
Using a heat protection product is a good way to help safeguard your hair against the damaging effects of heat styling. These products coat your hair with a layer of protection, which helps to prevent the heat from penetrating the hair shaft and causing damage. Often these products use silicones to protect from heat, but it is possible to find silicone-free ones! I’ve included a few below..
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Imbue Curl Defending Heat Protection Mist
Lightweight heat protection spray for curly hair. Free from alcohol and Curly girl Method approved!
Here are some tips for using heat on curly hair:
– Always use a heat protectant product before applying any heat to your hair. This will help to prevent damage.
– Use the lowest setting possible when using heat styling tools. The higher the heat, the more damage it can cause.
– Don’t use heat every day. Give your hair a break in between heat styling to allow it to recover.
– Be extra careful if you have colour-treated hair as it will be more vulnerable to damage.
I hope that this helps when you next consider using heat on your curls.
Keep it low!