This issue mainly is a huge problem for those who flat iron their hair. It is heat damage. When you say heat damage to people it does not trigger in them that they have heat damage, although their hair does not curl, they just believe that that is the texture of their hair. If you are an African decent person and your hair does not curl, that is not natural. If your hair does not curl, it is a definite sign that you have heat damage.
Our hair has layers, 3 to be exact, when you see the hair you only see the outside, the hair cuticle. but just as an onion, so is our hair. The hair cuticle is what protects the hair from damage, and when that is gone, damage has set in and if you do not remedy it fast, it will be a continuous cycle of hair breakage. The thing is, this damage can be to only certain parts of the hair, and at certain lengths. Where one person hair can only grow to the shoulders, yours may only grow to your ears. Although ones hair may be longer, both experience the same issue.
This is a common problem to the African American community. Our hair is already fine, meaning that we have the smallest diameter for our hair strand, making it more prone to break easily. And since we were not taught properly and did not have the products readily available to us, which inadvertently created a miseducation on how to take care of our hair, our hair seemed to be the shortest compared to other nationalities. The myth that our hair can’t grow long was and is simply not true. It can grow to great lengths, it just takes proper knowledge. To know something is to love something. You cannot love something you do not know. So let's get to know our hair.
Things we need to know whether you straighten or wear it natural that will damage the hair cuticle:
1. Heat is not your friend.
- Temperature should be at 325 degrees or lower
- Air dry hair before blowing it out.
- Always use heat protectant for blow drying and flat ironing.
- Always test back of hair when flat ironing to see if it is too hot.
- If burnt smell occurs, flat irons are too hot.
- Use heat only on wash day
2. Do not over manipulate hair.
- Combs and brushes should be use sparingly. Brushes should almost never be used.
- Combs should only be used if hair is wet and have product in it.
- Never manipulate hair while it is dry, too much tension.
- Always use ouchless ponytail holders.
- Never go to bed with hair pulled back in a ponytail, you or child.
- Do protective styles at a minimum, hair needs air and sunlight to grow. Protective styles put a lot of stress on the hair. Children ages 10 and under should never wear weave.
- Use sulfate, paraben, mineral oil, dye, silicone free products. These products take moisture out or prevent moisture from getting into the hair.
- Always deep condition
- If straightening, always perform protein and hot oil treatments. Twice a month.
- Use a daily moisturizer
- Oil the scalp with natural oils and not grease. Grease prevents moisture from getting in, clogging the scalp pores, which causes dandruff, and other scalp issues. This will in turn prevent hair from growing.
- Relaxers should never be given on anyone, adult or child. The real issue is not that you want straight hair, the issue are the chemicals that are going into your body, and what the chemical is doing to your hair. As mentioned, the first layer of the hair is the cuticle and once that is gone, damage has set in. The relaxer kills that first layer. You really have to kick your regimen up 4 gears to maintain healthy hair with a relaxer, which to me is an oxymoron, because it really isn’t healthy when performing a relaxer. The harsh chemicals is a health hazard to the hair and body.
- Color treatments are fun but are not safe either. Regardless of the matter people will still get color, it is fun and a way to spruce your look up, but what color does is strip your hair of its natural protein and moisture and you're left with dead hair. Again, making sure protein treatments and moisture treatments are done on a regular is a must. You definitely cannot slack when it comes to taking care of chemical treated hair.
Fixing anything that has already occurred can be a long tedious process. It took time to get in the mess you’re in, so it will take time to get out, but it is worth it. What can you do if you have severe damage, be it from heat, using the wrong products, over manipulation, or chemical treatments gone bad?
- Cut it off, and start new. So this is harder to do than what it sounds, but if you already have short hair cause it just will not get past your ear, or chin, it will be a whole lot easier if you start brand new and work with fresh hair than trying to revitalize damaged hair.
- Start a healthy hair regimen today! So if cutting it off just isn't an option then let’s get started on a healthy hair regimen. This will be brief, because we don't want to make this too long, but it will get you started on the right track.
- Throw out all old products unless you have been using natural products, and lets start new. What you will need...
- Gentle/moisturizing Natural Cleanser. If you start right it will be right. If your cleanser is stripping all of your moisture out, the conditioners will only help for a while, but eventually you will start to see the results of that drying cleanser.
- Strengthening Deep Conditioner. You should deep condition every week, or as often as you wash your hair. Make sure it has protein in it.
- Leave in. If you wear your hair straight using a water based leave in will help and if you are natrual either or is good, it is just your preference. Leave ins help you to retain more moisture.
- Daily Moisturizer. Always apply a moisturizer at night before going to bed and apply a satin scarf for protection.
- Protein treatment. Repairs the strand inside out.
- Hot oil treatment. Works hand in hand with protein, if you have protein, you need moisture.
- Scissors. You have to cut the damaged hair as you go, and cut the damaged ends. Make a habit with cutting your hair every 4 weeks to slowly get rid of the damaged hair.
- Rollers. Instead of using heat, start doing heatless styles. Rollers are the best thing if you cannot perform twist or braid outs