How To Wean Yourself Off Heat Styling Your Hair

I love Jeniffer Anniston, but at this stage her hair was so damaged it hurts to look at it. Now she seems to be taking better care of it, but the healthiest it's been is in the old 1997 brunette photos.

While styling healthy hair with heat once in a while doesn't do much damage, regular use -- especially hair that is already weakened  -- is the single biggest cause of damaged hair. However if you have been heat styling regularly, it's really hard to stop cold turkey because the hair looks very damaged. I often see celebrities with straightened hair where, if you look closer, you can see that the hair is in very bad shape.
Today I'll be talking about why heat is damaging and how to wean your hair off heat styling.

First, you might be thinking: but my hair looks so poufy / blah / damaged without heat styling! Well, that's because your hair is damaged, and if you keep on heat styling, you'll keep on having damaged hair. 

Weaning yourself off heat-styling and taking good care of your hair will completely transform it. Once the damaged hair has grown out and is replaced by healthy hair, you won't need to do that much with it, it will look good and it will be easy to care for. Hair that hasn't been damaged by heat doesn't need taming with heat.

Heat dries the hair out. Also most styling tools are much too hot, and cause "bubble hair":

"Bubble hair is a sign of thermal injury. Hair dryers operating at 175°C or more can cause bubble hair. The use of hair curling tongs operating at 125°C and applied to the hair for one minute can also induce bubbles in hair fiber. All hair fibers contain air-filled spaces called vacuoles. These spaces can also become filled with water when the hair is wet. Too much heat vaporizes the water in the hair fibre into steam. This vaporization of the water may force the spaces in the hair to expand, eventually turning the hair into a sponge-like structure. These damaged hairs are weak and brittle as the bubbles destroy the integrity of the fiber."

If you can't go cold turkey, first try limiting heat styling to special occasions. Or at least take a break every other day, and skip the weekends entirely. Wash your hair less often to stretch-out a straightening session, use dry shampoo to keep the hair fresh. However if you can go cold-turkey, that's the best!

Find a couple of good transitional styles. There are a million of braid and bun tutorials out there, you'll never get bored. Add accessories like headbands, barrettes, clips -- they are in right now and range from cute to sleek. Or use a scarf, turban, hat or beret or cap. 
When you do heat style, use good equipment with temperature regulation and use the lowest temperature possible. Don't ever use heat on soaking wet hair, let it dry a bit first. If heat-drying, stop when the hair is still slightly moist, to prevent over-drying. If using a flat iron, move the flat iron down each section of hair only once, and fairly rapidly.
Get a good haircut. Firstly, your ends are probably fried and split, splits can travel further up the hair shaft if you let them be. Cutting of the damage will free your hair, because the less damaged parts won't need that much taming with heat to make them look good. Secondly a good cut can make hair look ten times better.

Then you'll need to create a solid hair care routine. Damaged hair is usually high-porousity and very dry (though the scalp might be oily). At least once a week do a hair mask or oil your hair, and use a conditioner after every wash. Once in a while try a protein treatment.
Avoid all other ways of damaging your hair. Treat you hair as it were expensive old Chantilly lace. Minimise any kind of mechanical damage. Protect it from the sun.

Consider the reason why you heat style, and how you can get the same results in more hair-friendly ways. If you are after volume, washing with rye flour followed by flaxseed gel (leave it in) will give you more volume than you know what to do. If you are after smoothing or frizz control, try a few drops of oil. If your hair is naturally curly or very wavy and is often hard to manage, you might looks into the curly-girl method to help you work with your natural hair texture rather than against it. The curly-girl method is a life saver for very kinky curls, black women hair and anyone whose hair is frizzy because it's trying to be curly. If you really don't like your curly hair, look into no-heat straightening methods such as the wrapping method or using very large rollers on hair overnights. Also henna reduces the curl pattern (colourless henna, if you don't want it to dye the hair). If you want waves, there are tons of heatless ways to do that too, my favourite on is to do a twist-bun on the top of my head -- instant beach waves.
Patience. The first 2-6 weeks are the hardest, after that you will start seeing results. Stick to your routine. In a couple of months everyone will be seeing your results, and in a year or two your hair will be completely transformed. 

Finally, I suggest looking though the hair transformation stories on Anwen's blog. You can use google translate, but I think that the photos speak for themselves. Most of the girl went from chemically damaged and heat damaged hair to beautiful healthy locks through a good hair-care routine.

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