Skip to content

how to avoid damage while heat styling curly hair?

If you have curly or coily hair, you know that gorgeous ringlets come with their own set of challenges. Our curly tresses are more fragile and susceptible to damage, especially from the high heat of blow dryers, flat irons, and other styling tools. Because of the unique curvy shape, curly strands tend to be drier and more prone to breakage. The tight curl pattern prevents natural oils from traveling easily down the hair shaft, leaving curls thirsty for moisture. I’ve learned the hard way that applying high heat to already dry curls is a recipe for disaster.

is curly hair more prone to heat damage?

There are a few reasons why curly and coily hair is more vulnerable to heat damage compared to straight hair types. For one, the curved shape of our strands causes more friction and roughness along the hair’s outer cuticle layer from normal brushing and manipulation. This outer layer acts as the hair’s protector, so any roughness makes it easier for damage to occur. Additionally, the proteins that make up the hair’s structure can actually become brittle and damaged when exposed to high heat repeatedly over time. Couple that with curly hair’s inherent dryness and lack of lubricating oils, and you’ve got a recipe for heat damage disaster.

Signs your curls are suffering from heat damage

Have you noticed your usually bouncy spirals looking a bit lackluster lately? Dryness, frizz, and lack of definition could be signs that your curls are suffering from heat damage. When hot tools like blow dryers and flat irons are overused on curly hair, the high heat actually causes the hair’s outer cuticle layer to roughen and lift. This cuticle damage allows precious moisture to seep out, leaving curls dry, brittle, and prone to snapping and breakage. I definitely noticed my curls looking dull and feeling straw-like after a period of daily heat styling.

alternatives to Minimize Heat Damage on Curly Hair

1. Go for lower heat settings or good old air-drying

One of the best ways I’ve found to prevent heat damage on my curls is to simply minimize my use of hot tools as much as possible. These days I let my hair air dry whenever I can, avoiding the blow dryer altogether.

If I do need to use a diffuser or blow dryer, I always go for the cool air setting to prevent overdrying and cuticle roughening. Giving your curls a few days per week with absolutely no high heat exposure can go a long way in maintaining their health and vitality. My curls always look and feel more hydrated after I skip the hot tools for a few days.

2. Use thermal protectants and deep conditioning

When I do need to use hot tools, taking preventative measures is key to minimizing any potential heat damage. Before picking up that blow dryer or flat iron, I always apply a thermal protectant cream or serum made specifically for curly hair.

Look for products containing silicones and plant-derived ceramides, which help coat the hair and create a barrier against high heat.

I also make sure to deep condition my curls at least once per week with a super moisturizing hair mask or hot oil treatment. This routine of frequent moisture replenishment helps my curls stay strong in the face of some inevitable hot tool usage.

3. Embrace your natural texture more often

Ultimately, the best way to avoid heat damage on curls is to embrace and work with your hair’s natural texture more often. I’ve gradually been transitioning to wearing my natural curls out more, skipping the hot tools and diffusing instead for more volume and definition when needed.

Taking a break from daily heat styling gave my poor curls some much-needed rest and allowed their natural pattern to bounce back. I now have a whole new appreciation for my natural curl pattern after years of trying to fight against it with damaging heat.

4. alternative styling tools and techniques for your curls

If you just can’t kick the habit of daily heat styling, there are still some alternative methods for stretching or styling curls that don’t require direct high heat exposure.

I’ve recently been experimenting with curlformers, twist-outs, and banding techniques to get elongated, stretched curls without cooking them. Even throwbacks like rag curls and roller sets can give great curly definition without excessive heat. Getting creative with lower-heat styling has allowed me to minimize the damage while still getting looks I love.

Curly hair may require some extra touch-up, but taking steps to avoid excessive heat exposure is so worth it for the long-term health of those beautiful ringlets. With a few small adjustments you can have gorgeous, defined curls that are also strong and thriving.

Gwenda Harmon

Gwenda Harmon

Gwenda Harmon, our esteemed hair stylist and resident beauty expert at Power Your Curls, boasts over a decade of experience. Her specialization lies in dispensing invaluable advice on hair care, styling, and beauty techniques. Frequently featured in reputable publications such as Yahoo!, VEGAMOUR, BestLife Online, and more, Gwenda is dedicated to helping individuals attain healthy, beautiful hair by sharing her wealth of knowledge in effective hair care practices.