If you’re a natural who has heat damaged hair and aren’t ready to trim off the damage, you can certainly maintain it. At some point, you will have to trim off the heat damage in order to have completely healthy hair. You can do this gradually or all at once. I personally went on a heat damage recovery journey because I wasn’t ready to hack off half of my hair when it became heat damaged. I grew my heat damage out for about a year back in 2013 before finally trimming off all of my heat damaged ends in December 2013. I maintained my hair mostly by wearing box braids and Senegalese twists, but there are a range of other protective and stretched styles that you can try, too.
1. Put down the flat iron
The most important step in transitioning from heat damage is staying away from heat. This will be integral to getting your hair back to a healthy state! You must stop the habits that have gotten you to this point. I went cold turkey in 2013 and didn’t allow myself any excuses to use heat. No more of “just this one time” or “Well, I’ll just do one pass.” Kiss your blow dryer and flat iron goodbye for 6-12 months and I promise you, your hair will thank you. It can seem daunting at first, especially if you’re used to using heat often like I was, but in due time you’ll see your hair prospering and you won’t want to ruin it.
2. Use protein twice a month
Boost the strength of your hair by using a deep conditioner that has protein in it at least twice a month. This won’t reverse the damage that has already been done, but it will help prevent any further breakage by fortifying strands that have been weakened by the overuse of heat. For this, I like to use the Naat Brazilian Keratin Intensive Hair Mask by nuNAAT, which promises to “reconstruct hair for strength, shine, and softness.” Keratin is great for natural hair because healthy hair is made up of 90% of keratin, which is protein. Using heat consistently breaks down these protein bonds in your hair, so using a deep conditioner that has keratin in it helps revitalize your hair’s strength and resistance to damage.
Read more: Top 20 Protein Rich Products
3. Learn heatless styles
Once I got beyond the fact that straight hair was no longer an option, I started trying out all sorts of different styles and I discovered that heat wasn’t really much of an interest anymore because my hair looked so good without using it! We have an array of styles that you can check out here on BlackNaps. Styling heat damaged hair is much like styling transitioning hair so you’ll want to be extra careful when washing, detangling, and styling because your hair is in a fragile state. For some styles such as twist outs or braid outs, you may have to wrap a perm rod or roller around the ends of your hair if you have heat damaged ends to create a more uniform curl pattern.
In this video, CharyJay demonstrates how she does a flexi rod set on her friend’s heat damaged hair.
Remember, hair grows! Don’t think that it’s the end of the world if you’ve had a natural hair setback. Good hair is healthy hair so take good care of your tresses.