Can a Hair Heat Diet Help Repair Your Hair?

Can a Hair Heat Diet Help Repair Your Hair? featured image
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After years of heat styling, many people face dry, brittle and damaged hair. With the rise of blow dryers, flat irons, curling wands, and other hot tools, heat damage has become a common problem. But don’t worry; a hair heat diet can help you restore your hair’s health and vitality. We’ve tapped expert stylists to guide us through the process of bringing damaged strands back to life.

  • Ryan Pearl is a celebrity hair stylist and brand ambassador for Tangle Teezer based in Miami and New York
  • Chaz Dean is a celebrity hair stylist and creator of WEN Hair Care and is based in Los Angeles
  • Shante Frazier is co-founder of WellCapped and is based in Atlanta

What Does Heat Do to Your Hair?

Excessive heat exposure can strip hair of its natural moisture, leading to dryness, brittleness, split ends, and breakage. Ryan Pearl points out that the outer protective layer of the hair (the cuticle) can become damaged, resulting in rough, dull-looking hair. He says, “Common sources of heat damage include blow dryers, straightening irons, curling irons, and hot rollers.” This type of damage can significantly affect your hair’s health and appearance.

Dean explains that heat damage generally occurs at high temperatures, specifically above 375 degrees Fahrenheit. He notes that many tools can reach even higher temperatures, up to 425 degrees, which can be extremely harmful to hair. “Always use the lowest heat setting and ensure your hair stays hydrated to prevent heat damage,” he says.

How to Protect Hair from Heat

Dean suggests keeping heat settings between 240 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize damage. He emphasizes that constant movement and using a heat-protectant product can help reduce the impact of heat. “Always keep your blow dryer moving and avoid holding it in one spot for too long to prevent burning your hair.”



To protect hair from heat damage, it’s essential to use high-quality heat protectants. Pearl recommends products like the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray ($32), which forms a barrier between your hair and the heat. Pearl says, “Heat protectants help prevent moisture loss and reduce the risk of damage.”



Dean also suggests using leave-in conditioners and treatment oils to maintain moisture and avoid frizz. He advises applying them to “drenched, dripping, soaking wet hair so it’s absorbed into the hair and doesn’t sit on the surface.” A product like It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product ($22) works well for this but he stresses hair has to be wet, wet.

Quitting Cold Turkey

Transitioning to a completely heat-free hair-care routine involves reducing or eliminating the use of heat styling tools completely. Shante Frazier, cofounder of WellCapped, a luxury wig rental subscription services suggests challenging yourself to go 30, 60, or even 90 days without using hot tools. Frazier notes there will be an improvement in hair texture and shine when you reduce cuticle damage. “Start dating your natural hair. Learn what types of shampoos and conditioners work well with your hair texture,” she says.



Dean recommends opting for air drying or towel drying whenever possible. Next, experiment with alternative styling methods such as heatless curling tools, braids or twists. He says, “These techniques allow you to style your hair without the damaging effects of heat.  For example, Flexi-rods or foam rollers can create curls or waves without heat, while braiding can add natural texture and volume. I put my hair in a bun all day and it creates a natural wave. You can get some great curls without any heat at all.” The Mermade Heatless Curls Kit ($33) offers a comfy overnight styling experience for big, va-va voom curls.

Hair Repair

To begin the repair process on heat-damaged hair, Dean says to use products that contain protein-rich ingredients like keratin or hydrolyzed wheat protein. He also suggests incorporating moisturizing ingredients such as argan oil, shea butter, or coconut oil to hydrate and soften the hair. “However, don’t use products with high amounts of protein and alcohol, as they can dry out hair even more,” he adds. “If you add too much protein to dry, brittle hair, you’re just making it more fragile, causing it to snap and break.”

“Silicone-based products can also temporarily smooth the hair cuticle and reduce frizz,” says Pearl. “Products with vitamins and antioxidants like vitamin E or green tea extract can promote overall hair health and resilience.” 

Tools to Try

Traditional brushes and combs can cause stress on hair shafts, especially when hair is wet or tangled. Pearl says the Tangle Teezer’s design helps reduce breakage, which is especially important when you’re avoiding heat styling tools that can dry out or weaken hair.

Award Photo: Plant Brush



Dean’s own WEN Brush Dryer Styling Tool ($275) was designed with vegan bristles and lower heat settings to prevent hair damage. “The bristles are designed to be gentle on hair, avoiding direct contact with a hot barrel. The hair lays on the bristles and not the barrel, because you don’t want to heat up or burn your hair on the barrel.” This ensures a smoother, more polished finish without excessive heat.

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For those looking to style their hair without heat damage, Frazier says to consider incorporating wigs to achieve your desired look without sacrificing hair health. “When you do want to wear your hair straight, consider wear a wig instead of applying heat to your natural hair.”

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