January 10, 2010
(Note this is a draft from last year. Things have changed for me but I feel the information is still valuable, so I am posting it anyway :)
Hello, Hello, Hello!
I don't know about anyone else, but I love my hair to be bone straight! I can usually only achieve that very straight look I am going for within the first few weeks of a fresh relaxer AND a flat iron. After that inital glow of the fresh relaxer I have flat ironed my hair to keep it as straight as possible and probably the whole reason I started my Hair Care journey is because I was looking on YouTube to find tips on how to do a better job.
I ran across Ateeya and her change Smuve Complexions and I was hooked..
Everyone talks about the things to stay away from...Heat...chemicals...sulfates...alcohols. The things you should do are like stretch between relaxers...low manipulation...protective styles...moisturize and seal...low to no heat!
Low to no heat?! Give up my flat iron? No, say it isn't so...there must be, there just has to be another way. So I tried only flat ironing my hair once a week. If you read previous post my hair nightmare are my ends. They look terrible. I do not like them at all. The only thing that I feel makes them look half decent is to flat iron them into submission.
That should have been the key. What is heat damage exactly? Heat applied to the hair breaks or reshapes the bond in the inner core of the hair shaft and relaxes the curl. The problem that occurs is that when to much heat is applied the protective cuticle of your hair is damaged. The resulting roughness of the hair shaft makes you apply more heat to achieve the same look! You have now become a heat addict.
You are at even more risk of heat damage if your hair has been chemically treated. This is because you basically already dinged your cuticle and the heat if to much just breaks it all to bits.
However, like most things in my opinion there is a place for everything.
It has been about 4 weeks since I last flat iron my hair. Yay me! I decided about 4 or 5 months ago that I would for the most part abstain from direct heat. I sit under the hood dryer for deep conditioning and such.
Do not however think that this is a departure from my love of my flat iron. I do think that some heat is not bad. Moderate use of heat in the right temperature zone for my hair type could be safely or at least the damaged could be mitagated if I had healthy hair. See the key is healthy hair. Hair is a tough bugger and it can stand a ding or too and keep on trucking. I figured that if I can forgo the flat iron until my hair is much healthier that I can add heat to my hair without destroying all the work I put into it. Hence get nice strong hair and use heat moderately and I think I will come out with healthy hair that I am happy with.
I like straight hair though and over the last few weeks I have wanted to flat iron my hair just because I am sick of this semi curly mess I deal with everyday. I airdry. So I went back to YouTube last night and saw someone talking about heat treating your hair. She used a 400 degree flat iron on her new growth in varying intervals. Once a week, twice a month watever she thought was best. Now she made a strong argument about why that worked for her. I personally think that it probably worked for her because she was natural. I think if she had a relaxer, the state of her hair would have been way different.
Anyway, I had almost rationalized myself back to the flat iron despite my convictions to abstain as much as possible until my hair was ready, I did say you become a heat addict didn't I? I talked to my Husband who didn't help at all, and I decided to sleep on it and do some more research.
To much heat is bad. That's what I found out. It doesn't matter what you use, which styling tool or your technique. To much heat is bad. The kicker is, how much is to much?
(Update: I lasted about a full 10 week stretch with no heat. What did I notice? Not much. I still had split ends and on top of that I hadn't been able to wear my hair down at all because of it. I don't do curly hair very well. I did the braid out thing and can't stand them. I think it's beautiful and I am sure I would like it, if my hair was much longer. At it's current length it makes me feel bald :( Anyway, I now flat iron my hair once a week and feel that it smooths the cuticles which keeps it from snagging on stuff)