Jonesing for heat? Yea, it can happen to the best of us. Somehow a cute and different hairstyle (like straight hair) can turn into an overused crutch and it wouldn’t be so bad if it…wasn’t so bad! Heat styling should be used moderately and if you are way past that point, then you may be a heat junkie.
If your curls are limp, lifeless, and just not forming the way you would like them to no matter what product or technique you use, there's a good chance your hair is damaged. We get countless questions on Curly Q&A from women who have damaged their curls to the point of no return, asking how they can get their hair to curl again. The first step ladies is to put down the flat iron, step away, and submit yourself to a Heat Junkie Detox. Here's why:
The dangers of heat
Blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons all inflict extreme thermal strain on our tresses. Constant heat styling can rob your hair of its moisture, create bubble hair, and damage your hair’s protein structure. Heat damage is real and cannot be fixed or reversed. Once it’s damaged, all you can really do is cut it off and learn from the experience.
Frequent usage or high temperatures during heat styling can lead to damaged cuticles, causing it to lift from the hair shaft and create frizz. It’s almost a domino effect, so stepping away from heat even for a short time like a no-heat challenge is a good idea.
Here's what you will need to make your Heat Detox a success:
Step 1: Learn non-heat required styles
There are too many YouTube videos and blogs with tutorials for any natural to complain about not knowing what to do with her coils. Natural hair is in full swing and it seems like every day someone comes up with a new way to do a style that could be perfect for you. Twists, twist outs, braids, braid outs, wash and go, and even banding for a heatless blow out are all great styles to explore.
If you miss your straight hair...
If straighter hair is your preference, then learn alternate ways to achieve that sleeker look. Natural hair can do just about anything so check out big roller sets, Curlformers, African threading, or banding. These are are all ways to achieve straighter hair without heat and many can get your hair pretty darned straight. No it won’t be fried or slicked to your head, but the efforts and maintenance to achieve that look pose high risks anyways!
Step 2: Out of sight, out of mind
Get them out of your house! That’s what I had to do when I stopped using heat. Yea, it was that serious. I gave my curling iron and flat iron to my sister and pretty much forced myself to find other ways to style my hair. Knowing you would have to go out of your house to get your tools would stop me from relying on heat and I’m guessing it would be the same for you.
Step 3: Redefine beauty, embrace shrinkage
It may seem hard at first to fully embrace your shrinkage, but seeing shrinkage as the enemy will have you concentrating too heavily on your hair’s inabilities instead of enjoying and loving it. Honestly, shrinkage is a blessing. It’s our hair’s response to moisture and it’s great in the styling department too. Big hair is in! Haven’t you heard?
Is straight hair the only polished look? Of course not, but maybe you haven’t made the transformation from loving the relaxed looks to loving the natural looks. Natural or curly styles are way less conforming and free so if you step outside the straight-hair box you may realize that your own texture’s finesse is complementary and downright gorgeous. It’s about evolving and accepting your texture so if you take a break from heat, then check out all the beautiful, artistic styles.
This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.