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How To Deal With Heat Damaged Hair Without Big Chopping
Photo: Krystal Curls Youtube Heat Damage Big Chop

“I wore sew-ins with a natural part while I transitioned for a couple of months. I did not know I was damaging my hair every time I used a flat iron to blend my natural hair with the extensions. When I cut my permed ends I was extremely disappointed to see that I had a ‘T’ shape patch of wavy hair in front of my head and tight curls in the back. Through the disappointment I learned to deal with the two different hair textures for a year. Now I would like to experience my hair naturally curly but I don’t want to do the big chop. I have tried so hard to find another option for transitioning from heat damage to natural but ended up with nothing. I don’t feel comfortable doing the big chop because the heat damage seems to go all the way to my root. I think I would have to go extremely low cut. Do you think it would be a good idea to perm my hair again and start over doing the transitioning from perm to natural hair process? Please Help!!”

I empathize with your hair situation. I can only imagine your devastation to learn that the heat used to blend your hair to the texture of the weave has resulted in some permanent damage. Whether we use excessive heat or chemical straighteners, the end result is always the same – the processes break the bonds of the hair and denature or weaken it. The two processes just accomplish this damage in a different way. To help you get back on a path to healthy hair and help you deal with heat damaged hair without big chopping, I am happy to offer you some options that don’t involve a big chop or another relaxer.

TRY TWISTED STYLES:

Twist or braid or bantu knot set the patch of hair or your whole head to blend the straight pieces as best you can until it grows out enough to cut to a length you are comfortable with all over. Or you can just live with the damage if it blends well enough.

GO THE WEAVE ROUTE:

Install a curly or kinky textured weave or braids or twists until the hair grows out to a length you are comfortable with all over to and then trim off the damaged hair. Hair grows about 6″ a year and many of us keep about 4″ to 5″ of this new hair after trims and cuts, so keep this in mind as you plan out the growing out process.

I want you to really search yourself for your reasons for deciding to wear your hair natural and if they are strong enough, hold tight to them while enduring this styling conundrum. I understand your concern about possibly relaxing your hair again, but please be sure to fully think through your decision.

I can’t tell you what to do, but I want to encourage you to explore why you when natural in the first place despite this situation.

If you do decide to continue using heat in the future after you have restored your hair, make sure you are always using the flatiron at a temperature lower than 400 degrees (325-375 is high enough to straighten even the kinkiest hair textures when done in small sections) and for maximum protection, use a heat protectant spray (some of our favorites below) on your hair during both the blow drying and flat ironing process. Though they cannot totally stop heat damage if heat is misused, the use of a heat protectant spray is great in helping to prevent damage when you use heat safely and moderately on your curls.

Best of healthy hair success to you!

— Amena

Amena BelledeSoleil is an Aveda certified cosmetologist and owner Hair Polish Natural Hair Studio in Los Angeles. Book an appointment with her and find her on Facebook.

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