Every time I straighten my hair, I go on the hunt for the perfect heat protectant. Not because what I have doesn’t work, but because there are always new developments on the scientific front in terms of products that are used specifically for heat straightening. Every time I watch YouTube videos of other naturals straightening their hair, they use at max, 3 products. No shade, but I would never. Although it may seem counterintuitive to use a hodgepodge of products on the hair, I would rather err on the side of overzealous caution than to risk heat damage.
Stop right there. I know what some of you are thinking: “If you don’t want to risk heat damage, don’t straighten your hair.” I agree except for the fact that it is my hair, and I enjoy rocking straight hair from time to time. This article is not for the more iron-fisted naturals that don’t believe in stretching, blowing out, flat ironing or even coloring the hair from time-to time. This piece is for the more free-spirited natural, who believes that you can do everything (except relax, lol) in moderation and still have gorgeous, healthy natural hair. For me, that thing in particular is heat. Every 3 to 5 months, I like to straighten my hair. It just so happened that straightening fell within the same month of me getting my Deva Cut. I was anxious to know what shape my hair would take when straight. Spoiler alert: I was pleasantly surprised.
Now back to the matter at hand. I cringe a little when people recommend grapeseed oil or some other high smoke point oil to me as their holy grail heat protectant. I understand, do what works for you by all means! However, after transitioning for nearly 2 years from severe heat damage, I can’t leave my tresses up to fate and a little culinary mojo! Besides, a high smoke point does not necessarily translate into heat protection. The smoke point of an oil is simply the temperature at which an oil begins to break down into glycerols and free fatty acids and inevitably produce smoke. It is also the temperature at which said oil begins to degrade nutritionally. This does not mean protection for your hair. In my mind, oil + high heat = cooking. I’m sure there’s a scientific article somewhere to back this up (maybe not, haha), but I’d rather not cook my hair. I’d like to protect it from being cooked.
Check out this video where I break down each product I’m using and what ingredients it brings to the flat ironing table (another spoiler alert: I ditch the L’Oreal Color Vibrancy). For those who want the short version, the 5 ingredients are Protein (to prevent stress to the hair), Propylene Glycol and Glycerin (for moisture), Cetrimonium Chloride (to increase tensile strength), and Silicones (to smooth the hair.)
What are your heat straightening must-have products? Do they contain any of the must-have ingredients?