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4 Ways to Rehabilitate Natural Hair After Using Heat

• Sep 12, 2013
Woke up this morning feeling hecka thugged out and un-fk-wittable. What do thugs do when they're at their thuggiest? Work out. So off I go! #gym #talkingish #goodmorning

 

Before I get any further in this piece, let me make one thing abundantly clear:
If your hair is heat damaged, nothing, I repeat, nothing I mention after this sentence is going to help restore your curl pattern. Damage is damage is damage. Trust me. I know from experience.

Moving right along…

If you follow me on Instagram (why do I feel like 87% of my articles start that way now? But I digress…), then you know I spent the better part of a week with straight‐esque hair. I flat ironed my hair after a 4 month hiatus from heat, and I was semi‐pleased with the results. On the plus side, my hair was thick as all get‐out. On the down side, I experimented with a Redken product at the recommendation of someone from Ulta and I HATED it. Like, nothing redeeming about the product. Somewhere in the middle of the road, I’m toying with the notion that I’ll likely never see that super sleek and straight hair again…unless I find a hairdresser that can flat iron the crap out of my hair without damaging it (highly unlikely). All that aside, I am always happy to report successfully straightening my hair and being able to bounce back without a curl out of whack. Of course, I still have the same heat damage I’ve always had, but nothing new. How? Well, there are two steps:
Step 1: Prevent it in the first place. Click here to read about how I prevent heat damage when flat ironing.
Step 2: Rehabilitate those curls and coils.

We’re here to talk about step 2. Luckily, step 2 only consists of 4 really easy parts, which you  probably do in some form or fashion already. But to rehab the hair, kick each one up a notch.
Ready? Let’s explore.

Part I: Water‐Based Pre‐poo.

Bye bye straight hair! Pre-poo and detangle featuring @qredew and @soultanicals Knot Sauce. #detangling #prepoo #naturalhair #transitioner #QRedew #Soultanicals #vegan #haircare #supportsmallbusiness

There are a million reasons why the pre‐poo is important  to natural and transitioning hair. But in the process of reversion, it is an integral step. When hair is straightened, we tend to avoid water or water‐based anything to prevent hair from reverting to its natural state. That’s all well and good, until we start talking moisture. There’s only so much serums (many of which are silicone‐based anyway), oils, and butter whips can do. Our hair needs and craves true moisture from water. So to stave off breakage and prepare the hair to return to normal, a water‐based pre‐poo is in order. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated, your favorite conditioner will do just fine. Right now, my personal pre‐poo preferences are Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment and Soultanicals Knot Sauce. Both are super duper slippy, and contain amazing ingredients. Don’t worry, an in‐depth review is coming soon. Whatever product you choose, make sure it is water (or aloe vera juice) based. As an added bonus, if you’re able to steam the hair then do so. Pack in as much moisture as you can! I personally whip out the Q‐Redew for pre‐pooing, but you can find a list of alternative ways to get your steam on here.

Part II: Really Clean Your Hair
Post straightening stint is really not the time for a cowash. Let’s face it: you’ve got buildup. If you’re anything like me, you probably used 2–3 products to protect and straighten, added oils and serums throughout the week to maintain softness, and sweated to high heaven at the gym. With all that going on, a cowash is not going to cut it. At the very least, you need a diluted shampoo or shampoo bar. Something that will produce some sort of lather, and lift up everything you’ve put down. For this step, I personally enjoyed using Obia Natural Hair Care’s Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar or Soultanicals Honey I Shrunk the Frizz Strand Poo Bar. Gentle, effective cleansing without drying the hair. Of course, Soultanicals review coming soon!

Cleansed with @soultanicals Honey I Shrunk the Frizz Strand Poo Bar. Deep conditioning with @team_aton Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner. #operationcurlrehab #nomoreheatdamage #Soultanicals #AllThingsONatural #naturalhair #transitioner #supportsmallbusiness

Part III: Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep Condition
Of all the steps, I think this one is the most important. After enduring processes that have zapped the moisture out of your hair, deep conditioning is a must‐do. Preferably, a deep conditioner known to moisturize, penetrate, and nourish the hair and scalp. On top of that, the longer you can let it sit on the better. Yes, most deep conditioners are going to do their repairative work within 30 minutes. But I personally believe that the longer your hair can sit in a wet/dampened environment slathered in conditioner after a straightening binge, the better off it will be (just not overnight). This particular time around, I have been boo‐lovin’ on All Things O’ Natural Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner (review coming soon…I promise). I sat with that tootsie‐roll smelling, slip‐havin’, moisturizing, deep conditioner in my hair for 2 hours. Then, I rinsed it out, turned around and slapped some more into my hair as a leave‐in base for my wash n’ go. Which takes me to my next point…

Part IV: Give Your Hair A Chance to CHILL
After you’ve done all these steps and gotten your curls to bounce back with a vengeance, you might be tempted to go straight into another style, or even stretch them out a little. Don’t. You just spent so much time pouring back into your hair what it has missed out on. Give it some time to absorb the goodness of being back to normal. If you can, try and stick with a one‐and‐done style like a wash n’ go. Or a bun. Something that requires minimal effort and manipulation. My style of choice is a wash n’ go, featuring the aforementioned DC and Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze (my new MUST HAVE). Sidebar: can you tell that EVERYTHING Soultanicals makes is amazing? Yeah.
On the count of three, everybody say

See! Not that bad. What are some of your favorite ways to rehab your hair after a straightened or stretched stint?

 

For more from Christina check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Kami
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Kami

Lately, I’ve been blow drying my hair using the tension method and haven’t had damage yet. I don’t use a heat protectant, but I only using medium heat. My logic is that if it burns my hand, then it’s too hot. Also, I’ve been doing a pre‐poo with coconut milk for 30 mins. before each wash. It makes my hair really strong but also super soft. I haven’t had a problem yet and I love showing off my length!

BrinkyDinks
Guest
BrinkyDinks

Same! Except I do use a heat protectant, and I pre poo with either coconut oil or Ojon the night before. Having really stretched hair keeps single strand knots at bay abs prevents major tangling. Heat really isn’t that bad. It’s how you use it.

Kami
Guest
Kami

Yes! The SSKs and tangling is one of the reasons why I stretch my hair with a blow dryer. Those pesky things stay away and yes, you definitely have to be careful with heat unless your end goal is heat training/damage, but it really can be done and your hair can still be healthy. I don’t use a heat protectant because my hair hates the ingredients in them, but after I wash and conditioner and before I blow dry, I apply coconut oil, Giovanni Direct Leave‐In, and then a mix of castor and olive oil. My hair stays shiny and… Read more »

Aree
Guest
Aree

I actually do heat‐less blow outs, similar to Nap85. However, I have occasionally done the tension method. When I do use the heat setting I make sure to put in my direct leave‐in, and then castor oil as my sealant and heat protectant. I wait till my hair is about 60 or 70 percent dry then I bow dry high heat (not to long) until the section is stretched. Since doing this my blow outs are never dry my ends are still moisturized. I moisturize my hair with coconut oil and seal with castor oil. My blow outs last for… Read more »

Amma Mama
Guest

I wish I could go four months without heat. I used grape seed oil as a heat protectant. After a straightened or stretched stint, I rehabilitate my hair by washing and conditioning it, staying away from heat and doing a protective style for about a month (i.e. Marley twists}.

http://ammamama.wordpress.com

~Amma Mama

AnonyChick
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AnonyChick

What do you mean, you “wish” you could stay away from heat for 4 months? Do you use heat as a means of ‘taming’ your hair? No shade–I’m just curious by what you meant by that statement.

Jhan
Guest

Not co‐washing after wearing your hair straight is a lesson I learned quite recently. My hair felt so dry and stiff after the co‐wash and air dry. I instantly knew I made a mistake where that was concerned.

clar esa
Guest
clar esa

I’ve been doing the heatless blowout lately too. Luckily I have the old fashion yellow bird blow dryer with the cool option. Its been a life saver and my hair has been thanking me. I wanted to add that when use heat, I use a protein treatment. I use hask placenta keratin treatment. Then after Im finished I apply whipped Shea butter. This helps with preventing damage. I also use grapeseed oil but I also use a silicone based heat protector (ic Fantasia) for extra potential. I also like to do amla/brahmi treatments to recover my curls.

Willameena
Guest
Willameena

I have 4a/4b/4c combination hair and for me, I did not prepoo with anything after wearing my hair straight. I hopped in the shower and let mother nature moisture do her work on my curls and coils. I rinsed with warm water to slightly open my cuticles and then slathered in some of the trader joes tea tree tingle conditioner. After letting that steam in the shower I rinsed and washed my sectioned hair until my scalp was cleansed to my standards. I then DEEP conditioned with a protein based conditioner followed up by a moisturizing conditioner and rinsed with… Read more »

amander
Guest
amander

Heat damage is permanent, and if the hair doesn’t regain its curl after a wash or two and a protein treatment, it needs to be cut off. There’s really no way to salvage it, no way to hide it so it looks cute. It’s just hair! It will grow back!

Mai
Guest
Mai

There’s this bold, yellow text at the beginning of this article that you should read…

shelikes
Guest
shelikes

to me, in the picture at the top the hair looks jheri curl like. i am so afraid of that look so i dont use heat at all even though i want kinda straight hair sometimes just to do something different. i really do not think there is any safe in between. i really like nappy hair and dont want it to look as though it has been altered AT ALL after straightening, but i dont think that is possible, is it???

AnonyChick
Guest
AnonyChick

I had my hair “silkened’ at a natural hair salon a couple of months ago. My super kinky hair was literally BONE STRAIGHT. This was my first time straightening my hair professionally in 5 years. It looked beeeautiful. But, after I washed and DC’d it, the curls were much looser and the hair STILL smelled like heat. That smell lingered for at least 2 washes. It was crazy o_O However, my curls have mostly bounced back–I have one tiny section with loose curls (not straight). I guess it wasn’t completely heat damaged. If you choose to cut your hair due… Read more »

Demi
Guest
Demi

Hi AnonyChick…where are you located/what salon did you go to?
I’m in NYC and on the hunt for a salon to have my 4a/b hair pressed.
I’d love to find a stylist who uses the hot comb technique…flat irons and my edges don’t get a long too well…lol
Thanks in advance!

LisaLis
Guest
LisaLis

The author left out doing a protein treatment. Also, because her hair is in the 3 range, her hair doesn’t take as much heat to get straight as us 4‐type folks.

Christina Patrice
Guest

Hi Lisa, thanks for the feedback. I left out protein because I personally prefer to use protein before straightening, to aid in the heat resisting process. But everyone can of course do what works for them 🙂

clar esa
Guest
clar esa

I agree I do protein treatments before I use heat to help prevent damage. I think its best to do before rather then after. Prevention is better than a cure 🙂

LaToya
Guest
LaToya

I don’t know if the author reads these comments, but the absolute best products I’ve used on my straight hair is the Living Proof No Frizz line. They live up to the no frizz name and made my 4a hair silky smooth w/o being weighed down. I definitely recommend them. As a college student they’re pretty pricy, but they do offer a travel kit for around $30. Also you could shoot them an email asking for free sample, they’re pretty generous with those. oh and to answer the question lol.. after straightening my hair I clarify, deep treat (protein followed… Read more »

Bryana
Guest
Bryana

If you’re looking for an awesome way to straighten and moisturize your hair w/o damage, I’d recommend buying a Maxiglide straightner. It’s a flat iron with combs to help straighten out kinks but also uses steam to moisturize hair and to soften it as youre gliding your hair through. Me personally, I’ve heat damaged my hair in the past from using generic straightners, hot combs, you name it. This is the best option for getting almost bone straight 4B/4C hair. I will say it’s almost impossible to get from the website because of the waiting list but Amazon is a… Read more »

Roohans
Guest
Roohans

I have had 2 times in the past 5 years where i had heat “damaged” hair as its called. Both times I never had to cut my hair off and my curl pattern came back as it was before after about a month. Moral to the story: everyones hair is different and as long as you moisturize and deep condition I believe your hair will be fine. I deep conditioned my hair twice a week for a month and my curls were fine. I think many ppl get scared into cutting hair off or thinking that their hair will never… Read more »

Alexandria
Guest
Alexandria

This is VERY true. Most of my hair reverts back immediately after washing, however, the “damaged ends usually return after about a month as well. Some of us are scissor happy.

CafeDiva
Guest
CafeDiva

All I can say is THANK YOU!!!!! This article is so True. I had my hair professionally pressed with a flat iron 3 1/2 weeks ago. I was amazed to wear it straight that long because I hadn’t pressed my hair in over 4 months or used heat, just wash n go’s. So, I was worried that I had lost my natural curl after the pressing. But, my stylist prepped my hair by deep conditioning and steaming my hair prior to flat ironing it. Last nite, I used the tips outlined above. Forgot to mention, I have 3c/4a/4b hair mix… Read more »

Demi
Guest
Demi

Hi CafeDiva…where are you located/what salon did you go to? I’m in NYC and looking for a salon to have my 4a/b hair pressed. Thanks in advance!

modwedding
Guest

Remember that these are not sinful habits that need to be penalized but rather mistakes that need to be corrected herbalife online store Nutritional supplements can also be beneficial to help you boost your metabolism, lose weight, and increase your level of energy.

brit
Guest
brit

I can’t believe no one mentioned protein treatments! Heat tools make our hair more porous than it already is and replenishing that protein is just as important as moisture. Sometimes when my curls aren’t clumping, I can tell I need protein as well as moisture. There is a such thing as over conditioning, & it feels too soft & stretchy. After an Aphogee 2 step treatment, my hair is stronger & my curls pop! Of course I follow up with a deep condition. I may be in the minority because my hair adores protein. I usually do the Aphogee overnight!… Read more »

brit
Guest
brit

Oh ok, I see you guys did mention protein. I do one before & after straightening, but again, I’m probably in the minority with how much protein my hair can take.

Destiny
Guest
Destiny

What is your curl pattern? And what are some ways of wearing your hair or hairstyles for prom with out using chemicals on my hair? ( Currently transitioning) please help! 🙂

Noire
Guest
Noire

The end of last summer I made the mistake of getting the Brocato straightener instead of the Keratin straightener Its been almost a yr and I still dont have my curl pattern back Please HELP I want my curls back

Dr. Tab
Guest
Dr. Tab

The best suggestion I have is to get your hair professionally straightened, or use top of the line hair products. My and my daughter’s curls always bounce right back with NO effort after we have our hair done in the salon. Then we wash and go, or twist/braid for a break in between the straightening (like a month in between)for rest and rebuilding.
After the straightening‐just soak with water in the shower, condition, rinse, then L.O.C. We deep clean and mask after the hair has a few days of rest.

Claudia Coy
Guest
Claudia Coy

This is my video of some tips I used on how I recovered my hair from years of heat AND chemical damage!!!!!!!!

Bri
Guest
Bri

I find that my hair is usually MORE curly after using heat which I find extremely weird. Its interesting because I feel as though that’s what my curl pattern could look like but I struggle to find ways to maintain that post‐silk press curliness. Any reason that this happens to me?

Bridget
Guest
Bridget

I was on my way with my aunt to go braid my hair. Before the woman braided it, she blow dried it. Ever since, I’ve been scared on how my hair was going to turn out after I took these braids out. Most of the YouTube videos I watch, they all have products that I don’t have. So with me just adding water and conditioner will get my curls back? (7 months post relaxer)

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