Last week I had one of those, ‘man you look like crap moments’ and even though that might sound a little depressing really it was just my way of finding the perfect excuse to spend a little money to get my hair done.
It took me all of five minutes to call James (my stylist extraordinaire) and make it to the salon to get my hair pampered and bone straight.
After about two hours, lots of laughs, and a couple of Taylor Swift renditions later my hair was done and I, according to James, was ‘high snap’ ‘low snap’ ‘Gone With the Wind’ fabulous. My hair looked amazing and I have every intention of enjoying this flat iron* thing for the next 3 weeks.
With all that said I was clearly biased when I pondered on the question, could low heat styling be the next big thing in black hair care? I immediately thought, geez I sure hope so.
Heat gets such a bad rap, it is always on the list of things not to do if you want to have healthy long hair that doesn’t break or get dry.
There are a couple other things that are on the ‘bad list’ too. For instance conditioning too much can lead to hair that is too elastic, mushy and prone to breakage. Sulfate shampoos and clarifying causes dryness, breakage and in some extreme cases, excessive shedding. Silicones, relaxers, braiding your hair tightly, brushes, combs, cotton, hygral fatigue, mineral oil*, too much tension, friction the list goes on and on.
The point is if you do not know what you are doing almost anything can cause damage to your hair including heat, why? Because hair is dead, yes world, there is no life there! As we go about our hair care practices what we are essentially doing is trying to preserve a biologically unresponsive fiber and any wrong move will ruin all our efforts.
How Heat Styling Affects Hair
It is difficult to talk about low heat styling without talking about how heat affects your hair generally. Hair is made up of four bonds and of the four the hydrogen bonds are the ones that are most affected by heat. Applying heat to your hair breaks the hydrogen bonds and allows your hair to straighten, likewise when we add water the hydrogen bonds allows your hair to return to its original state.
In situations where hair does not return to its original pattern your hair is said to be heat damaged which means that the very structure of your hair strand is destroyed causing it to be permanently straight.
Some women choose to permanently straighten their hair for ease of styling, and though controversial these days they seem to be perfectly happy with straight looking ‘curls’.