Let's face it. Many of you will never give up heat totally even though you know you should. You're going to keep using it despite the obvious setbacks it causes you. In these instances, my role is to teach you how to effectively cut your losses. For those of you who use heat, here is how you can do just that:
1. DEEP CONDITION - Never ever skip an appointment with the deep conditioner. Deep condition on schedule every week for no less that 90 minutes.
2. CERAMIDES - Ceramides are the "glue" of hair. They are found in abundance in many oils. They have been shown to help hault the protein loss caused by excessive heat use. See my article on CERAMIDES for specific oils to use.
3. SILICONE-BASED HEAT PROTECTANT - Heat protectants that have silicone as the main ingredient have been shown to provide a temporary buffer between heat tools and strands. This buffer is NOT foolproof and can also be burned away so don't think that using heat protectant is a green light for unbridled heat use. Also beware of buildup which can eventually block moisturization.
4. TURN IT DOWN - Never use a flat iron that doesn't have a temperature control. Start at the minimum temperature and go up in small increments.
5. MOISTURIZE AND SEAL DAILY - Moisturizer and sealant also provide a buffer and aid in maintaining flexibility - something heat-damaged hair lacks.
6. ADD PROTEIN - Heat damage is essentially the breakdown of the hair's natural proteins. While these proteins cannot be replaced they can be strengthened with regular treatments.
7. GREENHOUSE - Heat damage leads to dry, straw-like, inflexible hair. Heat users should throw on a plastic cap for 20 minutes a day after moisturizing and sealing. This is essentially steaming flexibility into the hair using the body's own heat.
8. DRINK WATER - Moisturization starts on the inside. Make sure your strands are adequately hydrated from "birth" by drinking plenty of water since super-heated tools can burn away much of the moisture at the hair's core.
9. GIVE IT A BREAK - Never schedule back-to-back sessions with your flat iron. Give your hair a break from the trauma.
10. PRACTICE PROTECTIVE STYLING OFTEN - ends should be moisturized and sealed and tucked away for TLC and protection during times when you are not heat styling.