There is nothing I love more than a great blow-out on my natural hair. My hair is fuller than my relaxed hair days and the shine is amazing. However, in 2016 I am giving up my love for the flat iron and going heatless for a whole year. Why? Heat damage.  

The initial damage occurred in early 2015.  After a routine trim and blow-out I noticed the back, left side of my hair was permanently straight post wash day a week later. Although precautions with deep conditioning and heat protectants were used, the particular flat ironed used was simply too hot for my fine texture. Finely textured hair is delicate, more prone to breakage and does not require a lot of heat to become straight. Depending on your hair’s texture, width, and elasticity, certain tools, even with precautions, can still cause heat damage if the temperature is too hot.

After eight months of being fed up with trying to style my heat damaged curls, spending extra time getting the damaged strands to mimic my healthy curls, I finally cut the remaining pieces in January 2016. This officially started my year of no heat. I launched the #NoHeatChallenge2016 on social media with other women to build a community of support and surprisingly the response has been amazing! There were so many other women who also wanted to reduce the use of heat styling on their hair but felt lost or nervous to do so.

What exactly is considered no heat?

  • No flat ironing
  • No blow-outs, unless otherwise noted by a professional for trims
  • No curling irons or curling wands

What do I hope to get from this challenge?

  • Healthier, thicker hair
  • Enhanced curl definition   
  • A new arsenal of hairstyling options. From twisted updos, crown braids, buns, and cute head wraps I plan to have a ton of fun styling this year. 

5 Rules to Minimize Heat Damage

If a giving up heat for complete year is not an option for you, here are five cardinal rules to help minimize your exposure to heat damage.

Be smart about heat styling options
All flat irons are not created equal. The heat distribution between a ceramic and titanium flat iron differs and could result in damage if not used correctly depending on your texture. Limit daily heat styling. If you are wearing a sew-in to transition, opt for using a scarf and edge control to lay down your edges versus heat.  
Always start with a clean slate

Clean moisturized hair is the first step to combating heat damaged hair. The hair should be washed thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo to remove all buildup, which will allow for a quick smooth pass when straightening. 

Focus on conditioners with protein

These will to help bring a healthy level of elasticity back to your curls. Healthy, strong strands require a balance of protein and moisture. The absence of either will produce weak strands that snap easily. Hydrolyzed proteins are the best at attaching to the hair shaft for strengthening.

Read more: 6 Proteins that Must Be Hydrolyzed...If You Want Them to Work

Use heat protectant labeled products

Although natural oils work wonders for conditioning and moisturizing your hair not all natural oils protect the inner cortex of the hair cuticle from heat. A high smoke point of a natural oil does make it a heat protectant. Heat protectants contain silicone ingredients like amodimethicone that create a thin barrier to minimize the damage of heat due to the silicone’s low thermal conductivity.

Read more: Heat Protectants: The Buildup that Actually Saves Your Hair and Why Oil Doesn't Work As a Heat Protectant

Maintain consistency!

Consistently deep condition, consistently moisturize, etc. Overall, you have to train your curls all over again. Naturally curly hair loves moisture so give your hair what it needs.

Want to join give up heat and join the #NoHeat2016Challenge with me? Visit here for more info!