People often ask me if heat damage can be reversed. I’ve heard so many tips and tricks on how to possibly reverse heat damage from using beer on your hair to protein treatments to revert your curls. To answer your questions, we spoke with one of my favorite stylists, Nadling Pollard of Salon Pressure in Chicago, to ask her all about heat damage.
What causes heat damage?
Pollard: “Heat damage is caused when a person uses heat styling tools that are either too hot or repeatedly uses heat styling tools on the same section of hair. If you use very high heat settings such as 400-450 degrees, then you should only press the hair a maximum of two times. Thermal styling your hair midweek can also cause heat damage, which is why it should be avoided. I advise my clients that if they need to use heat again during the week, pick one day midweek when they feel they need to look a particular way or style to use heat and don’t do it again. Using minimal to no heat during the week will help to avoid heat damage while styling at home.”
Can heat damage be reversed?
Pollard: “Heat damage can be addressed if it’s not too severe. When the cuticle layer of the hair strand is scorched or overdressed, it won’t curl up as if it were untouched. Some of the curls can be revived if the over processing is minimal. This can be done through professional protein treatments, but know that this process may not fix your hair completely. If you still have stringy bits of hair that won’t curl, then you will eventually have to cut them off.”
What is “heat training?”
Pollard: “Heat training” can happen without scorching or singeing the hair but must be done by a very thoughtful and careful stylist. Heat training is the loosening of one’s natural curl pattern through the regular application of heat. It will require some consecutive visits to your local professional and you should take a break by getting a set style to renew your curl pattern.”
Loosening the curl pattern by repeatedly using heat is just another form of heat damage, even if the popular term is "heat training." I have never tried it, but everyone is different and some curly girls have done this and liked the results.
Have you experienced heat damage? Did you consult with a stylist to revive your hair?
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