If you have naturally curly hair, heat damage can be your mortal enemy. Fortunately, there are ways you can minimize the damage to your hair in the first place and repair damage that's already done.
Here's what you need to know:
What Causes Heat Damage to Curly Hair?
Honestly, even environmental factors can damage your curls if you're trying to keep them pristine, shiny, and popping. Natural exposure to the heat of the sun and humidity in the air can be major issues for the curly-haired.
However, the real damage from heat exposure comes when curly-haired people use blow dryers and straightening irons to achieve a silky-smooth look for a special event or a change of pace. You can also damage your hair by adding to your curls (using a curling rod to tighten existing waves into actual curls) or just relaxing them (using a wide roller to turn springy curls into soft waves).
How Do You Avoid Extra Heat Damage to Curly Hair?
First, let it dry naturally as often as possible before you start styling it. That will help you avoid having to resort to blow-drying, eliminating a major source of damage.
Second, try to skip a few days between heat treatments. Make use of ponytails, buns, wraps, or braids to achieve dramatic or casual looks — whichever you desire — that don't need heat treatments.
Finally, moisturize your hair. Hydrating treatments restore moisture to your hair the same way that lotion restores hydration to dry skin. Invest in a quality hair conditioner and moisturizer to protect your hair as much as possible.
How Do You Recognize Heat-Damaged Hair?
No matter what the cause, you will suddenly realize that you've laid on the heat a little too long when you wash your hair and let it dry naturally and find that your normally pristine curls are now frizzy. If the damage is serious, you may find some strands of hair falling limply from root to tip, with hardly a trace of wave left in them.
At this point, your smartest move is to head to a hair salon for professional treatment. More than likely, you will need a quick trim to chop off any split ends (which can make heat damage appear worse) and special hydrating treatment to restore as much moisture as possible to your hair. Your stylist can also let you know exactly how bad the damage is and provide more information on how to avoid further problems.
Your mane is worth the care you take of it, so don't hesitate to ask for help from the nearest hair salon!