The blow dryer, curling iron, and flat iron are invaluable tools for creating beautiful hairstyles, but the damage they can do to your hair can leave you cold. With minimal effort, you can help your hair withstand heat damage while still maintaining sleek, stylish and beautiful locks.
There is a veritable army of products available to help protect your hair from heat and styling damage. Shampoos and conditioners will repair and moisturize damaged hair. Serums, sprays, and gels use silicone to coat the hair, and offer specific protection against heat. Monthly clarifying or hot oil treatments restore shine and repair previous damage.
Try not to use a heated device or blow dryer every day. Letting your hair air dry or investing in a microfiber wrap to speed up drying time will give your hair the much needed rest it deserves. Also, refrain from washing your hair daily. This can dry out your hair, making it more vulnerable to damage and breakage.
Next time you visit your hair stylist, ask for helpful tips or advice. Your stylist not only knows how to best style your locks, but also how to protect and strengthen them. The hair salon is the perfect source to learn techniques or shortcuts for maintaining healthy hair and preventing heat damage.
Choosing the right styling tool is essential. Inexpensive brands may seem better for hair because they don’t reach as high of temperatures, but prolonged contact with hair strands does just as much damage as the high heat. Thick, curly, or wavy hair requires a high-quality straightener for optimal results, while straight or slightly wavy hair requires less heat. Your tools should have heat settings for easy adjustment. Blow drying your hair on a cooler setting may lengthen your morning routine, but your hair will be healthier for it!
The more direct the heat contact, the better potential for heat damage. When straightening hair with an iron, decrease tension as you move down the hair shaft. This will protect the hair where it is most vulnerable. Hold blow dryers 6 to 10 inches away from your head and direct the air down the hair shaft instead of at the scalp. Use a diffuser attachment to allow for more even heat distribution.
Eating healthy is another way to maintain beautiful, strong hair. Biotin, found in foods such as bananas and salmon, has been proven to strengthen hair. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in eggs and spinach, give hair luster and shine. Protein is a building block for hair, so try to eat more lean meats and nuts. Broccoli and carrots contain Vitamin A, which conditions the scalp. Foods high in zinc, such as green beans and cashews, also strengthen hair.
You don’t have to sacrifice style to have healthy locks. Blow drying, curling, and straightening—accompanied with some common sense and healthy choices—can result in healthy, fabulous hair no matter what your style.
Dana Baker works at Barbar Hair Tools, providing durable and eco-friendly hair products since 2000.