NATURAL HAIR + HEAT DAMAGE
PHOTOS BY ME
I remember it vividly. It was New Years Eve 2015 and I wanted to straighten my hair so that it could drape my shoulders and my one sleeve party dress. I had straightened my hair many times before and it took hours, literally all day, so I decided I would go to the Dominican salon because they would have my edges laid and I would be out within an hour.
To the Salon I went.
Looking back, the entire process was traumatizing! I felt that the girl who washed my hair strong armed my head in the sink and attempted to detangle my 4c hair from the root. Gasp, I know! The stylist was convinced that my hair was, 'too thick and tightly coiled to be set on rollers'. So I allowed her to blow dry me straight with a paddle brush and some non descriptive blue solution. The heat was excruciating at times and I had to let her know a few times to, "Hold up slim!" and "ease up!" At the same time, I was amazed at how straight and silky my hair was and that was just the blow drying phase! I would have and (hindsight) should have stopped her there, but she proceeded on to flat iron, trim and then a couple more passes with the blow dryer - I guess to seal in the flatiron. Ouch! But I was looking cute so it was worth it, right?
I left the salon feeling like a new woman! I could literally part my hair with my finger. My hair was bone straight like a white woman and It bounced around my shoulders and blew in the wind, something I hadn't felt in months!
Fast forward 2 weeks and a couple YouTube videos later where I praised my Dominican Blowout experience and results - It was wash day. With a camera facing the sink, I was going to shoot a reversion video showing that my hair withstood all the heat. What actually happened was my hair said, 'Ha, not today!' and immediately smelled like burnt hair under the water and only waved up in certain areas, if at all.
My natural hair journey just took a turn. My once tight pen spring curls were now a loose and limp type A wave and the months of patiently waiting for a measly 1/2 inch was down the drain. The following months, I tried alternating between moisture and protein treatments, beer rinses, aPHogee products and anything that said repair, brittle or damaged hair on the market. I got some texture back but by that time I had experienced so much breakage my hair was wispy and short. The realization was my hair was damaged beyond repair.
I Straightened My Hair To Death
A reset and chop was and is the only solution. Another trip to a different salon, I mini chopped into a tapered fro. Now, 2 years later I'm back to the length I was when I straighten my hair to death. The heat damage experience was the best learning experience because it taught me how to create and consistently follow a hair regimen. When my hair was damaged, I religiously pampered and deep conditioned my hair every week. I gingerly handled it and protected it from the elements like a Faberge egg and hoped for a miracle to take place on my head. In fact what I really did through a careful routine was promote growth and maintained healthy hair. Today my hair is thick, luscious and growing and I know that's result of the hard lesson learned from heat damage.
Moral of the story, heat damage cannot be repaired and natural hair needs constant babying.