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Dianne Austin
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Dianne Austin

Dianne is the co-founder of Natural Haircare News and Coils To Locs.com. She's been blogging about natural hair ever since she made the decision to break free of the creamy crack in 2012.
Dianne Austin
Follow NHCN!

Should You Ever Use Heat On Natural Hair?Direct heat styling has always been viewed as taboo when it comes to our natural hair. We all know that natural hair is by nature very fragile; and heat, even when carefully applied can cause irreparable damage.

Add to this equation that some naturals are made to feel guilty by natural hair purists for even wanting to occasionally straighten their natural coils and curls and you have women feeling reluctant and leery about using heat on their hair.

The bottom line is that exposing hair that is already fragile to direct heat on a regular basis damages the protein structure of hair. Once the damage is done, there isn’t a product on the market today that can make your hair healthy again.

Heat damaged natural hair doesn’t curl or coil and looks perpetually frizzy and dry. When hair is extremely damaged to this point, the only viable solution is to do the big chop and start all over.

But, there are times when using heat on natural curls is okay – but you have to be extremely careful and not overuse heating products.

Here are some tips that will help you to safely use heat on your hair:

  • If you want to change your look by smoothing or straightening your natural hair, opt for roller or flexi-rod sets.  Wash and condition as usual and then gently comb and smooth your hair around your roller of choice, then sit under a dryer until your hair is completely dry.
  • If you love wash and go’s or twist out and braid out’s but hate the time that it takes for your hair to dry, sit under the dryer but be sure to condition your hair well before applying heat.
  • If you’d prefer to blow dry, use a diffuser attachment and use low to medium heat on well conditioned hair.
  • When choosing to flat iron or use a curling iron, use the lowest setting possible to achieve the look that you want.
  • Get rid of heating appliances that don’t allow you to regulate the heat by degrees. Heat setting dials that are limited to low, medium, and high as the only heating options are recipes for disaster.  You need to be able to control how much heat that you apply to the hair by having the option of regulating the temperature.  Some of the best heating appliances allow for an optional temperature range from 150 degrees and higher.  A setting of 150 degrees is considered low and 350 degrees and higher is a very hot setting.
  • Respect your hair by purchasing high quality heating appliances. A $15 dollar flat iron from a drugstore is not a bargain if it causes damage to your hair because of the material that the iron is made of.  Look for words like “ceramic”, ‘tourmaline”, and “ionic” and be sure that you can regulate the heat based on degrees and not only based on “low”, “medium”, and “high” settings. With careful research, you can find a high quality appliance that doesn’t break the bank.

Limit how often you use heat on your hair in cases where you are blow drying, or using a flat iron or curling iron.  Excessive use of these appliances will damage the cuticle of your hair and you will not be able to get your curls and coils back until you cut off the damaged hair and your hair grows out.

Author: Dianne

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural.

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