As a new natural or maybe somewhere in between your journey, you have probably seen others who start their natural hair journey transitioning from relaxers. But what about those of us who have never had a relaxer, but still have the damage? Depending on the severity, heat damage can often cause straight-end strands as well. It is important to keep in mind that eventually the damaged pieces will have to be cut off though, as they will not revert back.
The hair damage can either be cut off with a big chop or gradually grown out and trimmed periodically. If you’re not quite ready to make the commitment of a big chop, transitioning from heat damaged strands to healthy natural hair can be done.
Here is how to transition from heat damage without the big chop:
1) Moisturize your hair often
Hair that has been damaged by heat is typically highly porous, meaning it has difficulty retaining moisture as the hair cuticle is in a more raised state. The result is often times excessively dry, frizzy hair. One way to combat this excessive dryness is with co-washing. Co-washing, or washing your hair using a conditioner only, cleanses your hair with a restoration of moisture in the process.
Additionally, keeping your hair nourished with moisture will aid in improving overall manageability, promote hair growth, and maintain good hair health. Try the L.O.C. or L.C.O. methods after washing your hair to help retain moisture.
2) Incorporate routine deep conditioning in your regimen
Deep conditioning helps to restore moisture, softness, and shine back into your hair while additionally helping to smooth the hair cuticle. Deep conditioners are infused with multiple hydrating and soothing ingredients that gradually help to improve the health of your strands.
As you incorporate deep conditioning into your hair regimen routinely, you will notice a steady change in the strength of your hair. A prolonged use of heat tools gradually weakens the protein structure throughout the hair shaft, causing your hair to be more easily prone to breakage and snapping. The ingredients found in deep conditioners help to fill these gaps and alleviate certain problem areas.
3) Try getting layers cut
If you’re not quite ready to do the big chop but don’t really like the look of heat damaged strands, try getting layers cut. Getting layers cut in your hair will help to preserve more of your length but still gets rid of a good amount of damage. Not to mention you now have a cute shaped style! This can also make the transition from heat damage much easier with improved manageability. Detangling is much easier, as well as styling the hair with tangle-free ends.
4) Complete protein treatments once a month
Our hair strands are made of a protein called keratin. Repeated use of heat tools damages the protein / keratin bonds of the hair. This causes gaps and other damage throughout the hair cuticle, altering the overall structure and health of your hair strands. Your hair is then more prone to breaking and snapping off due to a weaker elasticity. Completing a protein treatment once a month during your transition from heat damage will help to bring your natural curl pattern back to life. Within protein treatments are essential amino acids that help bind to and alleviate damage on the hair cuticle over time. They provide a great boost of help and health to your strands as you gradually grow them out and trim.
5) Try getting a trim at least every 3-4 months
Because heat damage is irreversible, it is going to eventually have to be cut since it is essentially dead hair. While on your transition from heat damage without the big chop, getting a trim at least every 3 months will get rid of the damage and make room for healthy new growth. It is also important to get regular trims during your transition from heat damage since damaged hair is typically more prone to splitting throughout the shaft. This causes the “frayed” ends appearance and can lead to further splitting up the hair shaft.
6) Avoid using heat and hot water
If you want your hair to return to its natural healthy state and bring back your curl pattern, you are going to have to limit / eliminate the use of heat styling tools. This can cause further damage to your hair and reverse your progress. If you do decide to use heat styling stools, try deep conditioning beforehand and applying a heat protectant.
Additionally, try to avoid using hot water when washing your hair. Hot water further lifts the hair cuticle, which can cause frizzy dried hair since the hair cuticle is already in a lifted state due to damage.
What is your advice for naturals who are dealing with hair damage?