Before grappling with the question of whether heat is bad for your hair, it’s important to distinguish the types of heat as well as the level of danger. Hair will burn at 450F, which is unarguably bad. But applying heat, like a hair straightener, or even prolonged sun-tanning, though risky to certain extents, is not inherently bad.
Applying heat, to a reasonable extent and not for excessive amounts of time, is not bad for your hair immediately or in the short-term. It is, however, important to apply a combination of precautions and products to protect hair from long-term damage, as consistent and unregulated heat can have lasting impacts on hair quality.
Provided you act in accordance with the following guidelines and facts, heat is not bad for your hair:
Respond to damaged hair
There seems to be this myth circulating the beauty world which says that once hair is damaged, it is irreparable. Not only is this just blatantly untrue, because of the nature of cells and our bodies’ remarkable ability to repair itself, but it is also a fallacy which causes further hair damage.
Simply, there are plenty of hair masks which will work to repair damaged hair, and leaving it damaged under the misinformation that it’s irreversible is a rookie error which makes it harder to fix in the long run. Of course, this is not to encourage damaging your hair, and methods should be employed to avoid heat damage, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to respond immediately and restoratively if an accident occurs.
However, it is important to note that if your hair is already damaged, reducing heat application wherever you can is important until it has returned to its normal, healthy self. If you’re in this situation, here’s an alternative to heat-drying your hair while you treat it:
Apply heat protectant
As mentioned previously: heat isn’t inherently bad for your hair, so while avoiding excessive heat-use is always a great way to stay on the safe side, it isn’t strictly necessary to ensure healthy, protected hair.
Applying heat protectant to your hair prior to applying the heat itself should be the Golden Rule when it comes to using heat in a way that enhances rather than damages your hair.
From sprays to oils, there are a wealth of products on the market for this. The difficulty is less whether or not to use them (because you should), but rather which to go for. A great way to weigh up your options is through research, reviews, and vloggers such as The Salon Guy.
Quality Of Your Tools
You need to be selective of the quality of tools you use to apply heat to your hair. It’s extremely important that you are purchasing high-quality tested products rather than the cheapest tools on the market.
Low-grade hair straighteners, for instance, will snap your hair, and the top of the range products have controllable temperature, meaning you can match the temperature to your hair’s fragility and needs.
For hair dryers, straighteners, curlers and any other heat-based hair-beauty products, you can always trust ghd. Though they sometimes seem to be overpriced in comparison to their market counterparts, their value shines through in how long they last, and the longevity of your hair in their care. My ghd straighteners have lasted me 8 years – through thick and thin.
When To Use Your Tools
When it comes to being selective about what’s necessary, this is important and circumstantial.
You need to use your own judgment and be logical where you can. If you are not planning to leave the house and nobody is going to see you, consider letting your hair air-dry.
If you intend on straightening your hair, and have the time: consider air-drying it, and then applying the straightener, rather than doing both.
This is, of course, time-dependent, and why your own judgment is critical. Stick to the general mantra of, “if I can go without, do”.
Using heat on your hair is not bad provided you are:
- Keeping an eye out for damage, and remedying it if it occurs
- Using heat protectants before applying heat
- Not overdoing it