Very few people roll out of bed with perfect hair. Most people have to spend a good chunk of time styling their hair with many different products, from deep conditioning hair masks and hair oils to texturizers, mousse, and anti-frizz serums. But one of the most common ways to style hair is with heat.
Heat styling allows for a temporary change in style, making coils straight for a night or adding voluminous ringlets to typically straight tresses. Even those with naturally straight hair gravitate towards heating tools to achieve smooth, camera-ready tresses.
Is Heat Bad for Your Hair?
Heat is incredibly damaging to hair. The way heat tools work is by breaking the bonds within each strand of hair on a molecular level. Heat application results in the hair losing a lot of water and protein. The result is usually temporary, with the bonds in your hair returning to normal when exposed to water.
However, if the heat is set too high and you fail to protect your hair with a thermal product, the bonds in your hair could become permanently broken. This could result in increased hair dryness, split ends, or curly hair permanently losing its curl.
On the other hand, when heat styling is done with a lower temperature, and a heat protectant is used, the damage may be minimal.
How Often Can I Use Heat?
The answer to the million-dollar question, "How often can I use heat," is it depends. Some people's hair responds to heat better than others. Stronger, healthier hair will typically do better under heat stress than hair that is already weak and damaged. Some people can use heat every day at 450 degrees without experiencing heat damage, while others suffer heat damage after one heat-styling session.
But regardless of the state of your hair, to minimize heat damage, we advise against daily heat styling. Giving your hair some time to recover between heat sessions is vital to limiting the risk of heat damage. The general rule of thumb is that you should use heat around once a week, as anything more than that can cause severe damage to your locks.
The more often you use heat, the higher your risk of heat damage. Straightening your hair once in a while isn't the end of the world. But if you do it every day, your hair will likely suffer. As long as you don't overdo it, you should be fine.
There is no question that heat styling isn't good for your hair, but it's also become a staple in many people's beauty routines. So, for best results, make sure that your hair is clean, dry, and protected, keep the heat low, and give your hair consistent breaks by limiting heat use to once a week. Remember these tips, and you should be just fine!
Author: Andrea Reyes
Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.