For many of us, it is just not an option to go heat free if you want a straight style, not using heat for a week (or for some people even a month!) and be able to keep silky straight hair is a dream for a lot of people. I am one of them, The longest I have been able to go without flat ironing my hair when I am going for a straight look is 3 to 4 days. I like my hair in natural styles but I love straight hair, I don't want heat damage while achieving this look or while I maintain it. Below are the steps that I take to avoid heat damage while frequently using heat on my hair. The best part of this is that the majority of the products mentioned can be found for $5.00 or less! If you are interested keep reading!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional, this is just what has worked for me and I cannot guarantee the same results for you.
1.Avoid Shampoos with Sulfate
Please try your hardest to avoid shampoo at all cost, I am sure you have heard this before and there is a reason for it. 9 times out of 10 a shampoo with sulfate is going to dry your hair out, that means in addition to the heat you'll be using (which increases your chance of breakage) you will also be using a shampoo that is more likely to cause breakage. I rarely use shampoo anymore (just about once a month I use Pantene's clarifying shampoo from their truly natural line, it has sulfate but it is more gentle than a lot of other shampoos) I either use cleansing conditioners or just a regular conditioner. My favorite cleansing conditioners are Pantene's Truly Natural Co-Wash and Hair One Cleansing Conditioner for Dry Hair (Dupe of Wen). My favorite conditioners to wash my hair with are Tresemme's Moisture Rich Conditioner, Pantene's Smooth and Sleek conditioner with argan oil and, V05's Shea Butter conditioner. These conditoners are effective and should work on just about any budget, the most expensive one is the Hair One cleansing conditioner, $13.00 and the cheapest is the V05 and that is under $1.00 at most places.
2. Before You Wash Your Hair Do A Hot Oil Treatment
This step is a bit messy but very beneficial if you have dry hair, I like to saturate my hair in oil and cover it with a plastic cap, how long you leave it in is up to you but I never go less than 30 minutes with mines. My favorite oil for this is Africa's Best Herbal Oil, the oil can also be used for oiling the scalp outside of hot oil treatments. A hot oil treatment is just that, DO NOT BOIL THE OIL!
3. After You Shampoo, Give Yourself A Deep Conditioning Treatment
This may seem a bit excessive but if you are like me you will need as much moisture as possible! Depending on the instructions on the conditioner, I put a plastic cap on and apply heat with my blow dryer. I love Organic Root Stimulator's Hair Mayonnaise or Africa's Best Hair Mayonnaise. Coconut milk that has been refrigerated for at least 24 hours also works well, it will be a bit messy, a plastic cap can help with that.
4.Avoid Combining Heat
When I say this I mean don't blow dry and flat iron or don't flat iron and curl your hair using a curling iron or wand back to back, give your hair at least a day to rest. If you need to stretch your hair, detangle it with a wide tooth comb, then section it into far parts, and put each section into a small little bun. When it comes time to flat iron your hair it should be easier to comb through and flat iron.
5. I Think This One Comes Without Saying but USE HEAT PROTECTANT
Some people say that deep conditioning is enough to protect their hair from heat but I think it is still a bad idea to put heat on the hair without any sort of protection other than a deep conditioner. Remember, we are looking to give our hair as much protection as possible, especially if you are heat styling at least once a week. My favorite heat protectants are as follows. ic Fantasia Hair Polisher Heat Protector Straightening Serum, Varies in price but is usually $7.00 and some change. One 'n Only Argan Oil Treatment, varies in price based upon size, the smallest size they offer is $9.99. Suave Keratin Infusion Heat Defense Leave-In Conditioner, $3.00 and Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 BB Creme Beauty Balm for Hair, $7.00
6.When Using The Flat Iron, Try Not To Leave Out of The 300 degree zone
What I mean by this is that you want to try not to leave the 300's, that is the rule I follow because I quickly discovered that my hair does not like anything above 375 degrees. What I do is get a small section of hair (about a 1/2 inch section and not too thick) comb through it with a wide tooth comb, run the flat iron through it slowly but constantly moving it. After the first pass of the flat iron I gently and slowly comb through the section with a rat tail comb, pass the flat iron again, repeat the rat tail comb step, and flat iron that section for the last time. I rarely ever go past 3 passes on one section, If you have coarser hair than I do, you might be able to get away with a higher heat.
7. Last But Not Least, Use A Night Treatment
I typically put this in my hair at least 2 nights out of the week, mainly because I don't want to cause unnecessary frizziness which creams often cause. To keep frizziness away when using a cream product, I brush my hair with a paddle brush and put it into a tight bun with a rubberband. Or I will part my hair into two sections and put one pump onto one side of my hair, French braid it, and repeat it on the other side. For the bun, I always take it down after I am certain that the product has absorbed into my hair and that it is completely dry, for me that takes about 30 minutes. For a creamy, serum like product I like L'Oreal's EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify System Overnight Repair Treatment, $9.00. If you want something that requires a little less time or you just want to alternate between a treatment like the one mentioned and an oil, try Organix Extra Penetrating Oil - argan oil of Morocco, $6.00. This one is technically not an overnight treatment but I notice that after I use it, my hair is so much softer the next day, it can also be used as a heat protectant.
Well that is all for now, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me, I will be happy to help you! And just about every product that is mentioned is on my Luvocracy page, the link to that is on the right side of this page.
Thank you for reading and be beautiful! (^_^)