Hair Care

How to Repair Heat Damaged Hair

As we all get caught up in that carefree, summer feeling, we often forget that we should practise caution when we’re out playing in the sun. There’s no need to seek shelter in the shade all day, but we should protect our skin and hair from the strong rays.

Yes, it’s a nuisance having to apply sunscreen lotion just before starting a game of beach volleyball. That oily, creamy, and slippery film on your skin causing all the sand kernels to stick to you isn’t exactly pleasant. It sure beats going home looking like a lobster, though.

Or perhaps you’re worried wearing a sunhat to an early-evening stroll with your date will compromise your outfit. Then think of it this way: wouldn’t you rather have a lifetime of healthy, beautiful hair than a lifetime of broken and lifeless locks?

Whenever you’re caught between wanting to protect your hair from the sun and wanting a flawless style, don’t even give it a minutes’ thought.

Wrap that scarf around your head, buy a cool and versatile hat to go with all outfits or spend the summer seeking shade – do whatever it is you’ve got to do to keep your hair as smooth as the vibe that comes with the season, because once it’s damaged, it’s hard to revive.

If it’s not the sun but your chosen styling methods that is sizzling the life out of your hair, then perhaps it’s time to put down those straighteners, skip the relaxers and give your locks some time to cool off and bounce back.

You may even want to scrap them from your styling repertoire altogether. You can achieve beautiful styles with natural hair too, you just need to dedicate some time to experimenting with different techniques and products.

If you feel you have left it all a little too late for your hair and it feels frizzled and fried, don’t despair – there are great products and methods available to you that can help you restore and revitalize it.

Time for a Little Rest & Recuperation

Years of heat-based styling treatments and chemical dyes are bound to take their toll on your hair, just as spending all day, every day in the sun without protection would.

Add to that the daily strains we put on our hair with intricate hairstyles and poorly researched and harsh products, and signs start pointing to rehab.

Before you can begin to fully restore your hair from heat damage, no matter how moderate or severe, you will need to give it some time to rest and recuperate. You can do so by:

  • Using a t-shirt or a microfibre towel to dry your hair; this is a great alternative to terrycloth towels which can be coarse and stress dry and brittle hair, causing further breakage.
  • Always detangling your hair before washing it and never brushing it wet. Wait until it has dried then brush it gently in sections, starting from the ends, then slowly working yourself up towards the roots.
  • Wearing your hair loose or in loosely tied styles. Try to avoid too many pins or hairclips when possible, and opt for a fabric-covered elastic band, never tie your hair back with plain rubber bands.
  • Avoiding heat styling methods, harsh, chemical products and dyes.
  • Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or with your hair tied in a loose bun and wrapped in a silk scarf or bonnet.

Clarifying Shampoos & Deep Conditioners

While your hair undergoes the rest and recuperation part of the healing process, limit washing your hair to once – at the maximum, twice – per week. Use a clarifying shampoo such as Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Shampoo.

Shampoo, conditioner and a coconut

Free of sulphates and parabens, these types of clarifying shampoos infuse chemically treated and heat damaged hair with the moisture needed to restore it to its former strength and beauty. They are gentle on the scalp and remove the build up that weighs our hair down.

An all-natural alternative to clarifying shampoos is a homemade apple cyder vinegar rinse. It helps against skin irritations, fights off dandruff and removes build up.

Massage it into your hair, cover with a shower cap and let it penetrate for ten minutes; then rinse it out and follow up with a leave-in conditioner such as Cream of Nature’s Argan Oil from Morocco Strength and Shine Leave-In Conditioner.

Be sure to treat your hair to deep conditioning and hydrating hair masks such as the OSMO Intensive Deep Repair Mask regularly. This will allow all the nourishing and restorative ingredients to penetrate your hair evenly, whilst smoothing the cuticles and soothing the scalp.

You can also turn your usual deep conditioner into a hydrating hair mask by distributing it evenly throughout your hair and covering it with a t-shirt or shower cap. Leave it in for ten minutes then rinse it out.

Hit the Salon for a Refreshing Cut

Give your hair at least three months to recuperate and reap the full benefits of the gentle shampoos and conditioners you are treating it with. Once you see can see and feel that your hair is slowly healing and coming back to life, consider hitting the salon for a refreshing cut.

Woman getting a haircut at the salon

Getting a regular trim is advisable for anyone, but when you’re dealing with brittle hair, getting a more elaborate cut can often work wonders. Be brave, prepare to lose a good 5cm to 10cm of length, all in the name of growing your hair back stronger and healthier.

It’s truly amazing what a haircut can do to a formerly sad and dull mane, and the benefits are instant and tangible. Once all those dead ends and broken strands have been cut away, you’re left with nothing but silky soft hair to run your fingers through.

Combined with a restorative haircare regime using quality products, a visit to the hairdresser can be the final step to getting your locks back into tip top shape. If it makes you nervous, just see it as an exciting opportunity for a change of style!

Prevent Future Hair Tragedies

A woman on the beach wearing a sun hat

If your hair has reached a worrying state of heat damage, you know just how much of a strain it is. It affects its feel, health and overall look and it’s such a sad sight to see. And it’s definitely not an experience you’ll wish to repeat.

The only way to avoid future hair tragedies, is by taking preventative measures and practising caution when using heat-based styling methods or being exposed to the sun for long stretches of time.

There’s nothing wrong with straightening or relaxing your hair, just be sure to give your hair regular breaks between bouts of these styling methods, and always treat it to moisturizing, hydrating and heat-protectant products.

Keep your hair safe from the sun by keeping it covered and in a loose bun throughout the day and applying a nourishing mask or leave-in conditioner at night. To keep your hair hydrated, you’re going to have to keep yourself hydrated, so keep chugging on that water.

If you are sunbathing get yourself a hat to protect your hair.

And, last but not least, never underestimate the benefits of a fresh and balanced diet. Make sure you’re loading up on foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, nutrients and proteins to restore and maintain full and luscious hair.

Hati

I come from a land far, far away... and my hair is very curly, obviously! I have started this blog to share curly hair stories and what I use to manage my own hair. My other main passions are food, art and literature.

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