No matter how great a blowout makes us feel, using heat on our hair without the proper protective steps can damage our strands. But, according to the experts, there are some tricks to know that not only ensure silkiness but let us keep our heat tools while we’re at it.
Why does hair get damaged?
According to celebrity hairstylist Nikki Lee, there are many ways we can damage our hair, but “heat styling and over-processed color are the two biggest culprits for damage.”
However, the hair goes through wear and tear even without direct heat, as “the natural elements—think extreme heat or cold, UV rays from the sun, wind, salt water, etc.—can be extremely harsh,” says Carolyn Aronson, founder and CEO of It’s a 10. The bottom line: Implementing some simple protective products into your routine can improve hair health.
Can you reverse heat damage?
“You cannot reverse heat damage, you can only cut off damaged hair and start fresh from there,” says celebrity hairstylist Kait Collins, who recommends buying a filter for your showerhead to remove any damaging minerals in the water that may contribute to breakage. If you want to keep your length, there are ways you can nurse your strands back to health without the snip.
Lee recommends using an at-home treatment, explaining that these types of products work to “restore the hair from the inside out and get it back to a healthier state over time.” Her go-to is the In Common Crystal Cashmere At-Home Kit ($50), a fantastic two-step repair kit that fuses the hair back to life.
“Infusing vitamins and proteins back into the hair can help promote shine and protect from further damage, too,” adds Aronson, who recommends leaving a hair mask on for 15 minutes for the ultimate boost.
What are some ways to avoid heat damage?
Although it’s possible to bring our hair back to life once it’s been damaged, why not adopt preventative measures instead?
Lee warns that skipping the heat-protectant step is the worst thing we can do for the hair when trying to reduce damage. “Always use a heat protectant before styling and be sure to reapply each day,” she says. “Even if you’re refreshing your hair the next day, you need to apply a protectant again.” Lee also recommends letting the hair air dry when you have the time. “Choose one or the other. Air dry then curl the top, or just blow dry and don’t curl it. Double heat styling every day is so hard on your hair.”
Aronson adds that using a low heat setting on your hot tools is also a great step for damage prevention. “Yawing your blow dryer one step cooler will make a huge difference on your hair. It’s so important to remember that giving your hair a break every few days is essential for proper strand health.”