Do you remember back in the day when you used to get your hair hot combed by your Mama? You know what I’m talking about—the pressing comb that would leave your hair looking smooth but was causing major damage to your tresses. Oh, I sometimes laugh at those days. We just did not know quite as much about hair as we do now. Just like with all products that use heat to style the hair, a major problem faced with using a pressing comb or any other straightening tool is the possibility of heat damage occurring.
While natural hair is highly versatile, you have to use caution when dealing with heat products. It only takes one time of doing it wrong before you can end up with scraggly hair. Out of fear of causing all that hard work of growing out your natural hair to be in vain, many naturals opt to refrain from heat at all costs. However, who says that out beautiful head full of curls have to be sacrificed just because we want to wear them straight every now and then? Luckily, you never have to worry about heat damage again when you want to press your own hair. We’re going to provide you with the proper way to press natural hair without heat damage and also give you a few tips that can help you to prevent hair damage from heat styling products in general.
- You want to make sure that your hair is completely clean and free from any extra products. Leftover product can both weigh the hair down and also cause it to have a smoky smell to it. You don’t want that. Use a good clarifying shampoo and then deep condition the hair. Deep conditioning helps your hair to hold on to the moisture.
- After deep conditioning, apply a leave in conditioner and then prepare to detangle, starting from the tips with a wide tooth comb and working your way to the root. Do not do this on dripping wet hair because breakage is almost sure to follow! Also, you should go ahead and spray some heat protectant in your hair at this point. After detangling, you want to prepare the hair for stretching. Stretching is essential to getting the hair smooth and limiting the amount of heat that you will need to get it straight. You have a few options for stretching including rollers, twists, or even big braids. From here you can either sit under a hooded dryer until the hair dries or allow it to air dry. Be forewarned, air drying may cause excess frizz. For best results and if you’re rushed for time, you shoulld blow dry your hair. Blow drying should be done with caution, because blow drying on high heat can and will damage the hair as well. Part hair in sections and blow dry on medium to low heat. Keep that blow dryer moving as you start drying your hair. You don’t want to concentrate on one spot too long and fry your tresses. Do not use high heat to hurry up and get it done quickly. The goal is to maintain healthy hair, not fry it!
- Once the hair is dry, now you’re ready to begin the pressing or flat ironing in this case. Add a bit more heat protectant and proceed to part the hair into small sections. Make sure your flat iron is on a lower temperature and proceed to slowly straighten your hair, making sure to not pass through the hair more than 1 or 2 times. If it takes more than 2 times to get it straight, you may need to increase the heat. The thicker the strands, the more that you will need to get it straight; however, do not let it get past 400 degrees. That’s dangerous territory. Feel free to use a fine-tooth comb and enact the “comb-chase” method if you’re coordinated enough. All you do is run the comb through the section of hair prior to flat ironing—you will need both of your hands at the same time to do it. Apply a dime sized amount of Shedavi Elixir for added sheen to your tresses once you finish.
- Once you finish straightening the hair, we recommend going old school and wrapping your hair up duby-style, then applying plastic wrap or saran wrap tightly to your hair. Sit under a hooded dryer for about ten minutes and then remove the wrap.Your hair will look flawless and you won’t have to worry about any heat damage because you took good care of your hair beforehand!
There you have it! The steps to get a guilt-free press right in the comfort of your home. The best part? You don’t have to worry about your curls not reverting. It’s a win-win situation. So, now that you know the basics, here are a few tips for preventing heat damage on natural hair in general.
Never try to apply heat on wet hair
We touched on this earlier, but we really need you to take heed. Water + electric heat= burnt to a crisp hair. It’s that simple, and you don’t want to have to deal with it. Make sure your hair is 100% dry before putting any type of heat to it.
Go ahead a cough up a few extra dollars
As much as we hate to say it, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to heat styling products. You need appliances that contain manual heat settings, ionic properties, and ceramic plates. The cheap ones that you find at dollar stores probably won’t cut it. Do not be afraid to invest in your hair’s health. Trust us when we say that it will thank you later. If you can’t afford one that has all the bells and whistles, at least make sure that you can control the temperature on it.
Bring down the heat on that temperature
Okay so you many do not realize that hair burns at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, it is a 95% chance that if you straighten your hair on that temperature, it will get damaged. The easy way to fix this is to turn the temp down on your flat iron. Now, just because it says 450 doesn’t mean that you should fool with the 425-degree range. Be smart about your hair. If your hair can get straight at 325 degrees, then keep it on 325 degrees. Only use what you need.
Try not to overdo the process
The final tip to prevent hair damage from heat products is to limit the amount of time that the heat is on the hair. Hence why we say only do a max of 3 passes to your hair. The first pass should be fairly steady, but the next two passes should be much quicker. Remember, we’re not trying to cook the hair, we just want it to be straight without any damage. While the Shedavi Elixir can work miracles in even the most damaged hair, we don’t want it to have to go into overtime just to fix ours.
Do you press your natural hair? Comment some tips below on how you prevent heat damage on your tresses.
Authored by Bianca Scott