Protect your curls from damage before straightening

Look from behind at women with hair of different colors lying on the bed with white tulips
Freepic diller

Why straightening damages curls?

Heat and curls are not compatible. When you flat iron your hair with curling wands and excessive blow drying, it can cause permanent damage to your hair. In fact, curly hair is drier than other types of hair, that’s why many girls face problem with treating curly hair right. Straightening your curls might be fun, but can also come with devastating side effects. There are many different reasons why straightening your curly hair can cause heat or chemical damage. One of the major reason is using tools with temperatures, which are way too high or straightening your hair with heat too often.

Additionally, holding heat on the same section of your hair way too long and failing to apply heat protector before straightening. According to experts, when you apply too much heat on your hair, the heat might completely breakdown the bonds. This applies the same way you would if you are relaxing your hair with chemical. When the bonds break they cannot be reformed, which means the damage will be permanent.

Curly blond woman
Paloma Lamadreinsperada

Although, occasional straightening of hair should not cause severe damage, when one is careful to use protective cautions. Continuous use of heat and chemicals can destroy your natural curl patterns. They can even lead to severe breakage by destroying your hair bonds structure.

According to researchers, when keratin is subjected to temperatures around 419-455 F, the alpha helix starts to melt. This is a permanent physical change, which is irreversible. Thus, your hair maintains the shape of a melted keratin at molecular level.

What are the consequences of straightening curls?

Dry hair

This is the most common side effect of straightening curls. Using heat or chemical can remove the natural oils from your hair. This causes its elasticity to reduce, which makes it fell brittle and course. According to American Academy of Dermatology, it doesn’t matter what type of hair you have, any kind of heat or chemical can destroy your hair.

Hair breakage

Curly girl walking outside, holding her boyfriend's hand
Alessio Lin

Hair breakage is inevitable once your hair becomes dry due to straightening. This rule applies to both use of heat and chemical relaxants. Straightening always weakens the hair strands, which consequently makes them easier to break. In most cases, the hair breakages usually encourage split ends, which can look very unpleasant. Excessive blow dry, over brushing, and heat treatment of wet hair might also encourage split ends.

Chronic hair fall and hair loss

Before straightening your hair the follicles are usually very strong. However, straightening damages your hair follicles, thus making them weak and detach at the roots. This means your hair loses it natural strength and start falling. This means that you will have a bigger chance of losing your hair, since the follicles are not strong enough. As a result, you may see clumps of your hair on the brush even after lightly brushing it. Additionally, consistent straightening of hair using chemicals can even kill your hair follicles. This means they will never be able to make hair again, which leaves you with a bald-head. The heat tools will not help either because it can also damage the hair follicles.

Itchy scalp

Hair straitening will also take a hit on your skin. Because heat and chemicals kill hair follicles, there is no enough oils to keep your scalp moisturized. It will, thus, feel dry, start to itch, and might even start to flake. This can also have a negative effect on the surrounding parts, like the neck or your forehead.

Split ends

If you discover one split end, you should know that an army of split ends is coming and getting rid of them might take some time. When you expose your hair to heat during straightening, this can cause split ends. The heat and chemical draw out the natural moisturizers from the hair, which in turn leads to split ends. Split ends do not only damage the hair strands, but also makes your hair follicle weak.

How can you protect hair from damage

Protect your curls from the heat before straighteningThe best way to protect yourself from hair damage is completely avoiding hair straightening. However, it seems little bit unreal today. Many ladies prefer changing the way they look and style their hair. Thus, if you must make sure you do it occasionally, make sure you take precautionary measures. Here are some ways on how you can protect yourself:

  1. Before straightening your curls, wash them with appropriate shampoo and conditioner. Products labeled smoothing are the ones that help to moisture your curls. As a result, even after being straightened, your hair will be healthy and beautiful.
  2. If you have itchy scalp, it’s better to use a mask prior to washing your hair. Best hair masks are made of oils. For instance, use castor or burr oil. Make it warm and apply on your scalp. Hold it like that for about an hour, while doing housework or cooking.
  3. Prepare your hair for flat ironing about 2 weeks beforehand if you have afro-curls. This type of curls is extremely prone to dryness. Due to this, you need to moisture and condition afro-curls 1-2 weeks prior to straightening.
  4. Choose the right tool for straightening. Moreover, use good hair straightener with possibility to regulate the temperature. Low quality straightening tools might damage your hair. Usually, cheap hairstraighteners can’t distribute the heat evenly. Besides, ensure you heat tool is below 400 degrees before straightening.
  5. Always apply a thermal protector before straightening your hair to reduce the risk of damage.
  6. After straightening your hair, use an intense protein treatment when washing your hair to help mend any splits or cracks to your hair cuticle.

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