Recovering From Heat Damage : My Story

How do you recover your hair from heat damage?

                You don’t!

It is as good as gone and that’s the truth.  It has to be cut. Now, you may think your letting go of length but you’re really not. That hair is dead, it no longer responds like the rest of your hair. If you can muster up the strength to let it go – your hair will be healthy, uniform, and as a result your styles will come out way better.

Signs of heat damage can include: parts of your wet hair do not return to their natural state, compromised and loose curl pattern, exceptionally dry and brittle ends, extreme breakage all as a result of using heat excessively.

I suffered from heat damage by way of straightening my hair every other week. I would go to the Dominican Hair salon to get my hair done or on some occasions do it myself at home. When I went to the salon I would undergo three sources of heat.

Thinking about it now that was an intense amount of heat.

They would put my natural hair on rollers and sit me under the dryer for about an hour. My ears burned and this was the worst part. After taking out the rollers my hair would be mostly straight but my roots would still be curly and frizzy. This led to a round of blow drying with a brush, the air was so hot it was burn my scalp when the air came too close. Then finally the hairdresser would flat iron my hair from root to tip. Thinking about it now that was an intense amount of heat. BUT my hair was so popping, it grew so fast and it actually stayed thick for the most part! When I straightened it on my own at home it didn’t come out as straight as I only blow dried and straightened it.  I did this process, whether it was at the salon or home, for about 2-3 years.

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When I wanted to wear my hair in its natural state, my hair was literally lifeless.

My curls became looser, some parts of my hair wouldn’t curl up at all and my ends stayed straight. As soon as I passed a blow drier through my hair it was practically straight.  Eventually my hair started to break and become thin. I decided in 2012 I would stop straightening my hair so often.

The funny thing is I went “natural” with the purpose being I wanted my hair to look better when it was straightened! But I never went back.

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I had so much heat damage on the crown of my head , the front of my head and my ends. I tried all types of treatments I found on YouTube and online to get my hair to curl back up. The one thing that worked a small bit for me was Aphogee Curl Reconstructor. Other than that I was doing tons of protein treatments and black tea rinses to make my hair strong and revert back. Noting helped but it was not that these treatments were not working. The fact just remained that heat damage does cannot be fixed. You can either hold on to it for “length” or get the scissors.

At first my plan was to cut it off little by little, cut of an inch because my hair grows about an inch every month. Balance right? I got so impatient and frustrated that I started cutting huge chunks of my hair! In the picture below you can see how loose the curls were. They were very limp and lifeless.

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I just wanted it out and to start my healthy hair journey for real.

I never did a big chop but I did do about 3 big cuts. After w while I couldn’t stand my hair not being 100% healthy and natural and I wanted to shed anything that wasn’t serving me. (message!) Now I straighten my hair about once a year professionally. It still looks great but it is not heat trained like it used to be, meaning it’s a bit tougher to get it to be straight and sleek. That is when I get my trims and it lasts me about 2-3 weeks.

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I am not anti-heat at all but I only use it occasionally because of the horrible effect it has on my hair. Some say that using heat makes you “less natural” but that is not true at all. However my advice is be weary of how much heat your using on your hair if you do prefer it straight. Personally I work hard keep my hair healthy and I am not willing to sacrifice its health for any temporary style.

If you’ve experienced heat damage, how have you dealt with it and transitioned into making your hair healthy?

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