Heat Damage To Hair© Unsplash

Everything You Need To Know About Heat Damage To Hair

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

A heat styling tool like your blow dryer or a straightener can come in handy if you want your hair to look put together with little effort but it can also damage your hair in a number of ways.

If you’re someone who regularly relies on these tools to style your hair, then keep on reading as we dive deep into everything that you should know about the damage you might be causing to your hair and the ways to prevent it…

How does heat damage hair?

Blowdrying hair©Pexels

While using heat styling tools once a while will not damage your hair, regularly using heat to style hair can harm your hair. “Heat-damaged hair occurs when you blow dry your hair, or use a flat iron, or curler at the highest temperature settings over an extended period while styling your hair,” says Jamien Lim, Senior Hair Research Scientist from Dyson, “Most hot tools reach temperatures of more than 400°F, which affect all types of hair types starting from pin straight to tightly curled.”

Due to heat, your hair strands can start to split at the ends where the hair is oldest and has experienced the most damage. According to Lim, those splits can move up the hair shaft splitting multiple times, making the damage worse. “Because the hair has lost its elasticity, the strands are more susceptible to breakage. When the hair becomes too weak, the ends will snap off, which will eventually lead to flyaways.”

What are some signs of heat damage to hair?

There are a few sure signs that you can look out for if you want to know whether your hair has been damaged by heat. Most common signs include dryness and dullness of hair, split ends, breakage, flyaways, rough texture, knots and tangles, and hair loss. Colour also shows up differently on damaged hair. You can also notice heat-damaged hair growing slower than regular hair.

hair care©GettyImages

Is heat damage to hair reversible?

Unfortunately, heat-damaged hair cannot be reversed back to its former healthy glory. “Once the protein bonds are broken and the hair cuticles are cracked, the inner cortex is exposed to all types of damage which makes it weaker and less pliable,” says Lim.

How can you treat heat damage to hair?

While cutting off the damaged part of your hair can be a solution, it won’t be viable if the damage is apparent on the whole hair length or if you do not want to part with even an inch of your hair (damaged or not!). There are ways in which you can manage to various signs of heat damage to hair, like frizziness or rough textured hair.

treat heat damage to hair©Unsplash

1) Go for gentle and suphate-free shampoos and conditioner.

2) Use a microfiber towel or an old cotton T-shirt to gently dry your hair after a wash.

3) Apply hair oils and masks to hair frequently.

4) Avoid heat styling tools as much as possible (should go without saying!)

5) If you absolutely have to use a heat styling tool like a blow dryer, use heat protectant on hair and make sure to put the dryer on its cool air supply setting.