Stop The Heat


For those of you who love wearing your hair straight, whether you achieve the look through a relaxer, a hot comb, or weaves, the summer heat could become your biggest foe in the attempt to maintain straight tresses. All of a sudden, you find yourself pulling out your blow dryer, hot comb and flat iron more than usual. The slightest exposure to humidity and moisture in the air can turn your straight hair to curly, creating a look you weren’t going for. While you have gotten used to applying the heat, and understand that no matter what you do, daily heat application may be the only solution, you must consider the ultimate damage you are incurring on your locks. Constant heat application is extremely damaging to your hair, and we are here to tell you how.

What is heat damage?

Heat damage occurs when you apply too much heat on your hair damaging your hair cuticles. This could permanently alter the chemical structure of your hair, making what should be curly locks appear straight.

Have you ever experienced it?

Take for example a woman who wears weaves as a protective hair style, but leaves the front of her hair out, constantly blending her left out hair with the straight textured weaved hair. Chances are she is using heat to blend her hair with her extensions. Over time she will experience a difference in structure between her left out hair and her tucked away hair. This heat damage will result in split ends, dry hair and ultimately hair loss. Now, imagine if all of the hair on your hair experienced the same damaging effects, because you chose to flat iron your hair several times a week.

Stop the Heat!

The best way to prevent hair damage as a result of excessive heat use is to stop using heat on your hair. Flat irons and blow dryers can be extremely detrimental to your hair, especially if used on high temperatures or too frequently. Twist-outs, braid outs, and roller sets, are great styles that create texture and versatility without the heat.

If you MUST use heat, do so sparingly; we suggest less that 2 or 3 times a month. Use high quality flat irons that are coated and durable. Also use heat protectors before using any heated styling appliance. Heat protectors form heat-absorbing polymers around the hair, thus preventing serious heat damage.

Ultimately, if you want healthy, beautiful, growing hair, the excessive heat use has got to stop. Start showing your hair some love, and stop the heat!

-Chelsey Wilkins

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  • Robbie

    @Nila You can take care of your hair and indeed tust the wrong person to take care of it with lasting consequences. Today, I do my hair myself. Occasionaly, I get it braided or ask a friend to do it for me.

    How I care for my hair will not be the same way a hairdresser for example will care for it. If there is one thing that I have learned is that my hair is very sensitive to heat. I stay away from it . If I ever decide to use heat, I would make sure this time around to find someone that knows what he /she is doing as stated in my previous comment. As you said, you have to speak up and not take the word of someone for what it is.

    There are so many horror stories about women getting their mane destroyed by an hairstylist and it was not because the hair was already damaged, it was because they were naive. I was that person. Not anymore.

    Now that I am more knowledgeable about hair and know how to care for mine, I stay away from beauty salons and most of all from the wrong hands.

  • LeAnna

    It’s all about how you take care of your hair. I probably use a flat iron (CHI or FHI) everyday, but I wear my hair short and go to the stylist to get it cut and trimmed. It is really about how you take care of your hair. If you use the flat iron everyday without the proper care, then of course you will have heat damage.

    I think that the beautiful thing is that there is so much variety in the styles you can wear. Whether it’s relaxed, natural, or weaved up. Find what works for you!

    • Nila

      I agree! And Clutch deleted my previous reply which is annoying! You just stated exactly how I feel. The natural hair movement is a wonderful thing but not everyone wants to rock braids and twist-outs. That is not a necessity when it comes to achieving healthy thick hair. You can get the same results with whatever style you choose as long as you give your tresses the right amount of TLC.

  • E.M.S.

    I think the reaction to this comes from the fact that Clutch DOES write quite a bit on natural hair, there’s very little discussion for care and maintenance of straightened hair, braids, extensions, or weaves/wigs etc.. There does appear to be a slight bias, whether it’s intended or not.

    Personally, I prefer my hair straight, I think it’s the best look on me, and it is the least hassle for me. I used to perm my hair until that began stunting the growth, now it’s pressed on a regular basis. I find that if I’m careful not to curl or blow dry it too much in between presses, my hair remains quite healthy.

    This article does not take into account that everyone’s hair is different. Some people CAN get away with all that heat and there’s little effect on the health of their hair. Others, you could very well go bald. Take it with a grain of salt and think about how your hair reacts to heat if that is what you choose.

    • ChaCha1 (C)

      I think that people are so used to straight hair–whether relaxed or just flat ironed–being more popular for black women, that they question it when a website talks about natural hair more often. If there were more articles on relaxed hair (like many, many magazines and websites, especially in the past), I wonder how many people would feel like they were being pushed to relax.

    • E.M.S.

      Valid point indeed. It would be nice to have a mix so we can all feel like our hair choices and needs are taken into consideration :)

    • Nila

      Very well said! That is the point I was trying to get across. Not everyone wants to wear or looks good with twist-outs and braids. Find out what works and be responsible for the care of your hair. I am sure we are all capable of figuring out what the limits are. We don’t have to rely on natural styles to guarantee healthy hair.

  • Shay

    Too much heat isn’t good for anyone’s hair-natural, relaxed, store bought, etc..

  • I got sense!

    Hair is dead. Can’t be healthy or unhealthy. Having said that, it’s not that serious, use heat or don’t use heat. It’s your hair and it grows back. I use heat every 2-4 weeks and I have NO STRAIGHT PIECES. Doesn’t mean everyone else will get the same results though.