Heat Damage. We’ve all been there. Ends frayed. Strands stringy. Curls not quite popping. And the more-than-normal shedding that you suspect could be outright breakage. You’ve diagnosed the problem as heat damage-- but is it? Let’s break down the causes of hair damage, how to rescue your tresses and prevent heat damage for good.
Chemical Damage vs. Mechanical Damage
Experts say there are two kinds of damage when it comes to your hair— chemical and mechanical.
Chemical damage is caused by overprocessing the hair with some type of chemical treatment such as color, lighteners, perms, or chemical straighteners. Chemical damage can be immediate (e.g., hair being burned right off from bleach or a relaxer left on too long), or can happen gradually over time.
Mechanical damage results from over-styling the hair and stripping its moisture. Culprits include heat styling, aggressive brushing, even over-shampooing. In fact, everyone suffers some type of mechanical damage from daily wear and tear. That’s why hairstylists often recommend trimming ends every six-to-eight weeks.
What is heat damage?
Heat damage falls in the category of mechanical damage. Heat damage can happen immediately, but it usually happens gradually. Some tell tale-signs of heat damage: Your hair feels dry and brittle. If hair is normally curly, it falls limp and straight. Or, you notice your hair won’t hold a style (think, wand curls that instantly fall flat).
Can I repair heat damage?
If you suspect or notice heat damage, don’t despair! The first step is to start a rescue plan at home. Use quality shampoo and conditioner (consider sulfate-free versions, to guard your hair’s moisture), and deep condition hair once a week.
Conditioners can repair hair to a point, so often the big question is, Should you just cut off damaged hair? “Not everyone is in a place where they want to chop off all their hair to a pixie cut,” says Colour founder Debra Shigley. “So you can baby it back to health. It won’t be perfect, but with regular trims every eight weeks, in six months your hair is telling a completely different story.” So be patient and gentle with yourself.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Stay tuned next week for more COLOUR tips on how to prevent heat damage.
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