It seems with summer coming, the heat questions are building up. I guess the weather must be better for straight styles. So I have decided to mish mash a selection of your heat questions. Does heat really damage hair? Yes, heat really does damage hair to an extent. To put some perspective into this, the so-called good things we do to our hair can also damage it for example
1. Combing can have the same effect as chopping your hair off (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, pg 886-888,2006)
2. Shampooing can lead to removal of protein from your hair weakening the hair (Colloids and Surfaces B:Biointerfaces,pg 7-14, 2005 )
3. Surfactants in conditioner can cause the hair cuticle to rise and therefore be more likely to chip and break off (Chemical and Physical Behaviour of Hair by Clarence Robbins).
I state all these because combing, shampooing and conditioning can actually all be good things to do to maintain and your hair. However, you have to do them correctly to be beneficial. If you want to just see the bad side, then this is easily done too.
Is heat really that bad for natural hair? (Will I lose my napps?)
I don't buy into unresearched and unproven 'theories'..............show me the scientist who wrote that paper ;) . I don't really think that one pass of a flat iron at moderate heat will destroy your napps forever. However high heat and 20 passes, then yes it is likely that you can destroy your curls or lose your hair.
It is really a matter of opinion as to how 'bad' you think heat is. It is a cosmetic and temporary effect. I don't particularly advocate it but I am not opposed to occassional responsible use (and I mean occassional AND responsible!). I think we all get to an age when we can make our own decisions which suit our aesthetics and lifestyle.
Hey ma, I used to get dominican blowouts when I was relaxed, can I still do this natural? (I liked the 'Hey Ma' bit so I put it in:))
I have never seen a dominican blowout but I did catch a video on trusty ol' youtube and I had nightmares of my styling ventures as a kid. The smoke, the hair pulling......oh lord! The lady in the video did look comfortable, I constantly flinched because the heat was too high. I honestly did not like what I saw.
I do however think that if your hair survived the process when it was relaxed, it is mechanically stronger natural and therefore also likely to survive. I think an element of protectionism with natural hair appears because we gain a sense of pride and attachment to the hair. Bear in mind that your hair is the strongest it has ever been in a natural state (provided you are keeping it well moisturised, might I add).
Can I prevent damage to my hair when flat ironing?
Any heat process will damage your hair to some extent. However, you can reduce this damage by
1. Never apply direct heat to dripping wet hair. Wet hair plus heat means bubble hair. As the name suggests, bubbles form in your hair due to heating up the internal shaft and the steam trying to get out...........terrible stuff.
2. Always use a heat protection product. Polymers and surfactants within these products do reduce damage to the hair strand. Silicone has also been shown to protect from thermal damage (Journal of Cosmetic Science, pg 245-256 1998 and ip.com)
3. A personal tip from me for the super extra curly luscious haired ladies - Don't aim for poker straight, a little bit of texture is great for volume and it means that you don't focus too much heat on those kinks which are the weakest part of our hair.
Is heat ever beneficial? What is the worst thing that could happen?
Yes actually some say low heat from a blow dryer for 5 minutes allows better penetration of coconut oil.......and we all know how wonderful this stuff is right? ( Journal of Cosmetic Science, pg 283-295,2005)
The worst case scenario is hair loss for example bubble hair does cause alopecia (International journal of dermatology, pg1319-1320, 2006.).
Are you going to flat iron this summer? Are you not going to flat iron this summer? Why or Why not, let us know!!