Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Heat Damage

I'm afraid....I straightened my hair for the first time in a year and I'm afraid to wash it for fear of heat damage.  Previously, I was the flat iron queen!  Religiously I would get my hair flat ironed every two weeks so I'm very familiar with heat damage.  My hair has been straight for 12 days and the time has come to wash it.  So let's discuss heat damage.

A strand of hair is made up of cuticle, cortex, and medulla.  The cuticle is the outermost layer which protects the cortex.  During heat styling, if the cuticle is completely removed it leaves the cortex exposed.  The cortex is made of keratin (a protein).  When heat is applied to a protein it changes the structure thus resulting in heat damage.

Causes of heat damage
- Frequent heat styling
- Use of heat styling tools with a very high temperature - hair burns at 233C (451.4F)
- Not using a heat protectant (be mindful you can still experience heat damage while using a protectant)

Signs of heat damage
- After washing your natural curl pattern does not return
- Excessive split ends and breakage
- Limp and dull hair

Here is a picture of my straight hair.  Check back next week for the results of my heat damage check and tips on how to prevent heat damage.


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