Thursday, August 15, 2013

What happened to my curls??

Years ago, when I had longer hair I would blow dry my hair to lengthen my twists, and sometimes straighten it with a hot comb.  I didn't think the blow drying affected my hair, but when I straightened it, I lost some of my curl. There were some spots that took months (yes months) for the curls to return. Below is an example of the blow dried twist out.
Blow dried twist out - to lengthen the twist (for more styling options)

Heat can and will affect your curl pattern.  The effects of heat damage are especially seen when blow dryers, flat irons and hot combs are used frequently.  Now, every one's hair is different and some hair can take more or less heat before "changing".  Frequent heat is also damaging for relaxed hair too.  Even with the use of products that are supposed to "protect" the hair strands.

I've spoken to a number of women who have altered their curl pattern and are attempting to get the curl back into their natural tresses.  The key to getting your curl pattern back is to STOP using heat on your hair. 

The Science of Black Hair (Papers for The Journey) provides good information on how heat can negatively affect your hair:

1. Healthy hair burns at 451 deg F (the same temperature that will burn paper).  If hair has been previously damaged it will burn at lower temperatures.  Water leaves the hair shaft between 122 to 248 deg F.  Hair proteins break down around 311 deg F and as temperature increases the keratin present begins to melt.  Damage occurring during heat styling is cumulative and the negative impact builds every time heat is introduced.

2.  Typical flat irons and blow dryers operate within 212 to 338 deg F.  This temperature range falls outside of the burning temperature range but the health of your hair will affect the maximum heat tolerance and how it responds to heat.

3. Heat can disturb the moisture balance in textured hair and adds stress to dry tresses.

4. Deep conditioning is necessary for hair that experiences regular heat styling. 

5. At the beginning of a healthy hair regime heat should be avoided all together.  Taking a break from the heat will re-establish protein and moisture levels and allow the hair to be strengthened.

So! For you ladies who are trying to regain your curls......take a HEAT BREAK.  Give your hair a rest and feed it with moisture and protein building products.  Also using protective styles gives your hair a chance to bounce back. 

Now let's take a look at a woman named Ki-Ki who does not have a relaxer, but has straightened her hair for years using blow dryers and flat irons.  Currently her curl pattern is COMPLETELY gone and she as a layered cut that makes it hard to utilize natural styles.  Here is what Ki-Ki had to say about her "Blow Out" style:

When to use:  "When there is no curl pattern, hair strands dry inconsistently, hair is different lengths, and hair cut is good."
Hopes of transitioning:  "None, and  I will not start from scratch (the big chop)."
Future hopes:  "Cease THE BLOW OUT when all hair is shoulder length and braids or cute sets (like straws or twist outs) are possible."

I think Ki-Ki should stop putting heat on her hair altogether and wear braids or even a wig to give her hair a HEAT BREAK. 
What do you think? Any advice for Ki-Ki??
Peace and blessings!