We all know that heat is bad for our hair – it’s just that it’s a necessary evil we succumb to. Despite knowing full well that our straighteners are doing damage to our hair every single day, we continue to use them. In a perfect world, we would all wake up with flawless hair that we loved. It would never lose its shape, bounce, or sheen. Until then, we have things that hair straighteners, curling irons, blow dryers, and hot rollers that can make our locks look how we want them to look. Unfortunately, we’re hurting our hair.
Now, I know that *not* using a hot tool isn’t exactly an option for some girls. Winter is coming (eventually – fall literally just got here) and walking out of your house with a wet mop of hair isn’t exactly healthy for anyone. There’s no shame in using hot tools as needed, but when I heard the recommended usage be restricted to once or twice a week I couldn’t believe it. This had to be a joke.
I can see why no-heat methods for everything have popped up on Pinterest so much: It’s all in the name of having healthier hair! Still, no-heat methods are typically intended for overnight use or take several hours, and to be honest, we all don’t have the luxury of time more often than not. If you have to use hot tools, or even if you just like them, always remember to use heat protectant spray before you apply heat to your hair. Deep condition your hair with a leave in conditioner or a mask to keep the moisture in instead of having it zapped away by your hot tools. Hot tools can really do some big damage to your hair if left untreated or even with frequent improper use. Don’t believe me? These are eight ways your hot tools are seriously damaging your hair every day.
Heat Gives You Bubble HairBubble hair is a lot less cute than it sounds. When you use a hot tool and heat it to over 212 degrees fahrenheit, which is the temperature at which water boils, it turns the inner most layer of your hair strand into steam, making the shaft puff out in tiny hair bubbles. You can visually see the damage bubble hair does under a microscope, but physically, you can feel how much more brittle it makes you hair. Untreated bubble hair can lead to breakage and eventual hair loss over time. Most hair tools only do their best work over 212 degrees farenheit, so the key to avoiding damage here is keeping the hot tool in motion and not letting it sit in one place for a long time at a very high temperature. Source: iStock
Staying In The Same Area Burns Your HairAdding onto that last thought: It's really important to keep your curling iron moving! Same goes for flat irons, hair wands, whatever you're using. We all remember the girl who burned her hair off with a hot tool, right? Yikes. Don't want that to happen! As needed, hold your hot tool in the area you're working on for ten seconds max. Anything beyond that, you're risking some serious damage. Adjust the temperature you need to fit your hair; it's better to do something really hot very quickly as opposed to letting it sit in medium heat forever. Source: iStock
Heat Takes Away Your Hair's Natural MoistureHot tools use your hair's natural moisture to make the new shape you're trying to put it in, however, it totally zaps your hair of its moisture in the process. Science class has taught us all that heat + water = evaporation. Well, the same thing goes for your hair. Our bodies are 90 percent water, it stores itself everywhere you could think humans need moisture, including inside every strand of hair we have. Your hair losing it's natural moisture can make it look dull over time. This goes double if you chemically treat your hair with dyes, bleach, or any other process you routinely get done at the hair salon. So, while having moisturized hair is important to your hot tools functionality, it's also slowly killing your hair in the process. It's a catch 22!Source: iStock
Heat Gives You Split EndsWe all know that hot tools can burn your hair, but what does that mean, exactly? Split ends, broken strands, and the eventual loss of your hair's shape and style. Yay! (Sarcasm). In terms of your hair being dead cells growing out of your scalp, your ends are going to reflect damage the most because they're the least connected to your hair's follicle aka they're the most "dead." This can easily be fixed with a trim, but you don't want to keep putting damage on top of more damage, do you? Split ends are a natural result of hair growth, but putting a constant amount of unnatural heat on it can only expedite this process.Source: iStock
Heat Damages Hair FolliclesDamage to the hair shaft, cuticle, or or fiber can be fixed with hair cuts, trims, and usually resolve themselves with the "virgin" hair growth that comes out of your scalp. Damaged hair follicles mean that the hair coming out of your head is damaged from the get go. Ooph. Your scalp is a sensitive area of skin and bringing an unreal amount of heat so close to it so often can't be good, can it? Follicle damage happens in the long term and is usually a result of combining heat with other chemicals like amonia for bleaching your hair, so if that's the case for you, be sure to be careful with your hair tools to avoid follicle damage. It can also lead to thinning hair and hair loss, so let's all be diligent with our tools, shall we? Source: iStock
Tight Hot Rollers Cause Hair LossIf you use hot rollers to create vintage inspired looks - or just because it frees up your hands to do other stuff - know that rolling them too tight can cause hair damage and hair loss. They use a lower heat setting over a longer period of time, which causes less damage to your hair because they pretty much start cooling once you put them on, but if wound too tight, can actually do more harm than good. They basically have the same effect of pulling your hair back too tight over an extended period of time... plus heat. You can see how this can get really harmful, right? Especially if you use them very frequently.Source: iStock
They Bake Grease And Dirt On To Unwashed HairHot tools work best on clean, dry hair. Applying heat to dirty or greasy hair bakes the debris in to your hair and causes more damage (in addition to the relative damage from using heat). I heard hair stylists actually recommend using hot tools the day after you wash your hair instead of right after BECAUSE your hair grease was supposed to help with the style. While that may be true, it's ultimately taking that grease and fusing it on to your hair strands via heat whcih can't be good, can it? Source: iStock
Hair Dryers Cause All The DamageHair dyers use flash drying, which dries out the water attached to your hair (to be expected) as well as the water bound to your hair for moisture in the long term (hey, we needed that). It dries out your hair cuticles which over time, and can lead to damage, breakage, split ends, and more. Now, I know that the option to not blow dry your hair isn't exactly realistic for some people. Thick haired girls and anyone living anywhere with fall/winter fast approaching, I feel you on this. But, if you use a lower heat setting and just take your time, it'll be much healthier for your hair.Source: iStock
How often do you use heat on your hair? Would you ever cut down? Is that realistic (it’s totally understandable if it’s not!)? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.