Hair keeps the shape in which it cools down. This is why straighteners can turn unruly curls into shiny straight strands of hair and why curling tongs can give lofty volume to limp hair. Heat styling can however become a problem for your hair. Styling devices can reach temperatures up to 220oC (428oF) and cause micro-fine damage to wet unprotected hair.
The long-term consequences are split ends, lack of lustre and breakage. This can be avoided by applying protective products before any heat styling. These products make styling easier and prevent topical overheating. Equally important is the choice of the styling device. Newer straighteners have special coatings (e.g. ceramic coatings), which ensure even and moderate heating of the hair.
Nine Tips for Gentle Heat Styling
- Beware: Hair must be dry before you use heat to reshape it. As long as hair is wet its chemical structure is altered. When heat is applied to wet hair it can permanently damage the dandruff layer and the hair structure
- Before every styling you must therefore apply styling products, which protect your hair against heat damage
- You have the choice of many heat protection products. Some are especially designed to give you straight shiny hair or springy curls and others ensure very gentle styling. You can select the optimum product for your needs. That makes styling easier and provides the best protection for your hair
- It is easier to distribute heat protection products in wet hair. To provide seamless protection for every hair you should therefore apply these products while the hair is still wet
- Use sprays from a safe distance. You find fine even mist only at a distance of at least 20 to 30 cm (about 8 to 12"). This mist will protect the hair without gumming it up or weighing it down. Consult the instructions on the product label to find out how much distance you should maintain
- Once you have applied the heat protection product you should gently comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb. This further distributes the protective product
- A weekly hair cure for dry or stressed hair prevents permanent hair damage
- Different kinds of damages to the dandruff layer do not just add up. Each damaging influence leaves the scalp more vulnerable and the impact of the next assault is therefore much greater. Heat-styled hair is therefore much more sensitive to UV rays and should not be additionally damaged through the use of metal combs or metal barrettes
- Avoid styling devices, which expose metal parts to your hair. Individual spots on such devices often get too hot. This may lead to topical damage to your hair. Styling devices with ceramic surfaces are the better alternative