How to Protect Your Hair From Heat Damage

April 10, 2022
How to Protect Your Hair From Heat Damage

Utilized improperly, heated appliances can dehydrate and damage hair to the point of breaking it. 

Here are the pro tips to bypass this and adequately protect your hair from the heat damage.

Hairdryer, straightening plates, curling iron… These very applicable tools for disciplining the most rebellious manes are often singled out for their tendency to weaken the hair. 

In reality, the problem is not so much with the heating devices themselves, but rather with the way in which they are used.

Hairdresser Hovig Etoyan, manager of the eponymous salon in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, shares his best tips for effectively protecting hair from the heat.

How to protect your hair from the heat of the hairdryer?

In an ideal hair world, it would be enough to wring out your hair with a towel (without rubbing), then let it air dry. But in winter, or just when you’re in a hurry in the morning, it must be recognized that the hairdryer is a much more practical solution. The problem is that this heat blower makes the hair thirsty and fragile… “when it is misused”, nuance Hovig Etoyan.

To make good use of it, some reflexes must therefore be adopted. Most important of all? “Systematically apply a thermo-protective treatment before drying”, affirms the hairdresser. 

Formulated with active ingredients that activate on contact with heat to retain hydration and prevent the lifting of cuticles, these products act as shields. 

In the form of a spray (ideal for not weighing down fine hair) or cream (to be reserved for thick hair), thermo-protective care is the sine qua non of preserved hair.

Heat damaged hair treatments on Amazon:

Regarding the application of the product, Hovig Etoyan advises performing this gesture upside down: “First run your fingers through your hair to loosen the roots, before spraying the product diffusely on your hair, at a distance of about 20 centimeters. 

Then crumple them by hand to evenly distribute the product”. If you use a cream, heat a dab of product between your hands and then apply all over the hair, scrunching the lengths.

Once your hair is perfectly protected, always place your hairdryer at a distance of at least 20 centimeters from your head and remain reasonable on the temperature. “We sometimes believe we save time by changing the highest power and temperature, but this excess warmth strikes the hair, sensitizes the scalp, and provokes irreversible harm in the extended term”, assures Hovig Etoyan.

To aim accurately, your hair type must be taken into account. “If your hair is thick, non-colored, and non-sensitized, you can afford to set a slightly more power into the blow-dry,” says the beautician. 

Also Read: The Best DIY Hair Mask Recipes That Work

“On the other hand, if your hair is weak or fine, it is more useful to be comfortable with a mild drying. Technically, fine, straight hair can even be dried with 75% cold air to keep its softness and volume.”

Another tip to counter the pangs of heat: wait a bit before using your hairdryer. Let your hair air dry for a few minutes first, then soak up most of the water with a microfiber towel (softer than a regular towel). “The more excess water you remove from your hair before using a heat source, the less aggressive and time-consuming it will be,” points out Hovig Etoyan.

Finally, equipping yourself with a professional quality hair dryer also helps to limit the damage. “Thanks to innovative technologies, hairdryers today distribute heat that is less directional, more diffuse, and therefore more respectful of the hair,” notes the hairstylist.

How to protect your hair from the heat of straightening and curling irons?

Even more aggressive than the hairdryer, the straightening plates and other curling irons are placed in direct contact with the hair. Used too regularly, they burn the hair fiber and dry out the scalp at the same time.

“This is why the use of these devices must remain occasional,” says Hovig Etoyan. “They can be employed in little touches, to trim the hair here and there, but not to perform it 100%”.

The problem is that we quickly become addicted to these hairdressing devices. And for good reason, they make it easy to modulate the hair, while providing shine and suppleness. “Except that in the long run, you break your hair fiber”, warns the hairdresser. 

“It’s a nasty circle: at the beginning, a single pass is sufficient to clean the hair, then over time, two or three passes are required to reach the identical effect. 

Because over time, the hair has been harmed, it has failed its initial shape and is no longer as attractive naturally. 

Effect: you see yourself pushed to use heating gadgets all the time. ”

Even when used sparingly, the application of a thermo-protective treatment remains absolutely essential. As for the temperature, the heating devices generally oscillate between 140°C and 240°C. To minimize breakage, you should never exceed 180°C (which is already quite high!). 

Of course, avoid the big gap between wet hair and excessive heat: always use these tools on perfectly dry hair so you don’t boil your hair, literally. Also, avoid going over and over the same strand so that it is perfectly smooth or impeccably curled. It would only increase the havoc tenfold.

Finally, “it is worth investing in a hair straightener with a heat regulator”, recommends Hovig Etoya. These advanced technology devices are equipped with sensors that detect the degree of humidity and sensitivity of the hair to adapt to the temperature in real-time and damage the hairless. “But that absolutely does not prevent the use of thermal protection”, insists the professional again.

How to save your hair from the heat of the sun?

On the list of potentially harmful heat sources for the hair, let’s not forget the sun. During prolonged exposure, UV rays attack the scales of the hair, weaken the hair fiber and alter keratin, this precious protein that structures the hair and makes up 90% of it. 

To make matters worse, the damaging effects of the sun often combine with those of saltwater, chlorine, and very frequent washing after the beach. As a result, the hair dries out deeply during the summer, it dulls and sometimes becomes rough and brittle.

“To sidestep the well-known ‘straw bale’ impact at the beginning of the school year, commence by wearing a hat or a scarf as soon as you step in very bright weather”, recommends Hovig Etoy. 

“On the beach, shield your hair like you protect your skin with an anti-UV spray or cream, to be reapplied often during frontage and after swimming”.

After a trip to the sea or to the swimming pool, pamper your hair using shampoo, a conditioner, and a nourishing mask to strengthen your hair fiber and compensate for the aggressions suffered during the day. This is all the more vital for naturally dry hair such as curly, curled or frizzy hair.

If you have fine hair, just be careful with the dosage: very nourishing treatments could leave your fiber heavy and sticky. Do not hesitate to apply your hair mask before shampooing to perk up your hair without weighing it down.

Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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