Direct heat tools or appliances can cause the cuticles of your strands to be stripped off or break away from the surrounding fibers.
The explanation for this is because heat tools or appliances can literally instantly drain the moisture from your hair which can cause the outer layer to expand and release moisture of your strands that were trapped in.
So basically, if you are one of those naturals who straighten your hair very often, you have a really high chance of heat damage, or changing your natural hair pattern so much so that it is visibly different than the rest of your curls.
However, just because you straighten your hair, doesn’t mean you will get heat damage. There are ways you can protect your hair from the heat, such as not using a high setting on the flat iron or blowdryer.
You should use heat protectors, lotions, or sprays whenever you do straighten your hair. Also, product buildup can increase the heat temperatures when you do straighten your hair.
My stylist said that when you get your hair straighted, as a natural, you should be sure to wrap it every night but do not straighten it again. When your hair starts to get frizzy, just let it get frizzy.
Daily straightening is not good, and not recommended. That, along with the fact that many naturals don’t like to wear their hair in natural styles or with their natural curl pattern, so they straighten every week, is the main reason a lot get heat damage.
Preventative measures are always the most logical, because once your hair is damaged, it’s really hard to come back from it without a cut. One thing my stylist mentioned is to get in the habit of air drying your hair, versus using a blowdryer.
Yes, air drying it typically takes longer but if you are going to be inthe house anyways, or if it’s hot outside, then why not. I like to diffuse my hair for a few minutes after air drying it 90%.
Also, if you just have to have your hair straightened, then do it maybe once a month, if not even less. Straight hair is a treat for you, not your hair.
Lastly, If you do have heat damage you should purchase and use conditioners that have high moisture retention abilities. Also hot oil treatments that can be left in over night and then washed out in the morning. Depending on the severity of the damage, it could be irreversible, and in that case you will have to cut it.
Even though I know that straightening my hair once or twice probably won’t damage my hair, I simply don’t want to get into the habit of it. Honestly, I’ve worn my hair straight most of my life so I am really enjoying and embracing my natural curl pattern!