It’s a vicious cycle. You use heated appliances to control your unpredictable and unruly hair, but the more you use them, the more brittle and uncontrollable your hair becomes. Even though it’s widely acknowledged that repeatedly overheating the hair shaft will make it weak and damaged, we still batter our locks with hairdryers, straighteners, heated rollers and tongs.
If this describes you, step away from the appliances and take a good look at your hair. Chances are that you use heat to make drying more efficient, to define curls, to flatten frizz, or to boost volume. There are so many alternatives to consider, and a few small changes can really make a difference to your hair…
Want Healthy Hair Drying?
You should never use a hairdryer when your hair is sopping wet – it will boil the water that has been retained inside the cuticle, which will inevitably damage the hair shaft. Instead, towel dry your hair until it is just slightly damp and then give it a rough blast with your hairdryer on a very low setting.
Heated rollers not only excessively heat your hair, but also run the risk of damaging hair through excessive traction. Pulling your hair into rollers is damaging if not done with care, and can really weaken the hair shaft. Instead, use volumising products that will lift hair from the roots and increase the diameter of the hair shaft.
Volumising products come in all sorts of formats – shampoo, conditioner, mousse, gel, thickening spray – and when layered up will build up enviable volume without an overdose of heat. Some products are heat activated, and will require the use of a hairdryer in order to fulfil their volumising potential. If this is the case, keep the heat evenly spread and don’t use the highest temperature setting.
Need to Fight the Frizz?
The next time you start to straighten out your frizz from damaging flat irons, stop – there is a comprehensive range of products available to smooth and straighten hair without heat-related trauma. From straightening shampoos, conditioners and leave-in treatments to de-frizzing balms, serums and sprays, there’s no need to reach for straighteners every day. Instead, blow dry your hair straight; the diffused heat is far less damaging, and will give you more of a natural-looking straight style.
Desiring Defined Curls?
When you have curly hair, it can be hard to get your locks to behave. Rather than blow drying and tonging it into submission, go back to basics and work with your hair. Wash it with a moisturising shampoo and conditioner, but make sure that you wash it all out properly – you want your curls to be light and bouncy, not over-burdened and crispy. When your locks are still damp, scrunch in a styling crème or gel and define your curls with your fingers. Leave to air dry, and enjoy your gorgeous, frizz-free curls.
Still Craving Your Appliances?
If you really can’t stay away from the heat, invest in a really good thermal protector that will shield hair from the worst of the damage. Lots of styling products now come with some degree of built-in thermal protection, whilst others are dedicated solely to defending the hair shaft from heat.
Follow the instructions on the product carefully; some can be worked into hair following washing, whilst others need to be applied section by section before straighteners are used. Make sure that you’re well protected before using any kind of heat protection, or your hair will become dry, brittle and lacklustre.