A haircare professional on repairing heat damaged hair

Paige Mountain

Heat can be extremely damaging to your hair if not used safely.

With styling tools being as popular as ever, heat damage is common. However, damaged hair can be restored and protected from future damage. 

What is heat damage?

Abi Garrett, a hair stylist at Heroic Hair in Ames, described what happens when hair becomes heat damaged.

“Heat damage is when too much heat is applied to the hair and it can cause split ends and if there’s any weak points in the hair, it can accelerate the breakage of strands,” Garrett said. “A normal, healthy piece of hair is going to be one width all the way down whereas heat damaged hair can be thicker towards the top and thinner towards the bottom.”

Styling tools such as blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons are the biggest culprits when it comes to heat damage. 

How can you repair and protect your hair?

Although already damaged hair cannot be completely repaired, there are ways you can strengthen it. 

Garrett stated that she recommends products with protein to help repair heat damaged hair to strengthen the frail ends. 

Heat protectant is one of the most common ways to protect your hair when heat styling. However, there are some misconceptions when it comes to when you should apply it.  

“The one misconception with using heat protectant is you use one and then you can put as much heat on your hair as you want after that,” Garrett said. “I definitely like to recommend to be putting on a heat protectant before each stage you’re using heat.”  

Stylist recommended heat protectant products:

  • For blow drying: Pureology Color Fanatic Leave in Spray

  • For styling: Redken Iron Shape 11 Thermal Holding Spray

What are some alternative ways to style your hair without heat?

Garrett discussed some of her favorite  heatless hairstyles. 

“The wet braids are always awesome,” Garrett said. “If you want a good beachy wave, wet your hair down, braid it and then tie it up with a scrunchie at the end and then sleep in it, and when you wake up, you are going to have really nice beachy waves.” 

For people who are comfortable using a small amount of heat on their hair but don’t want to use a lot, Garrett recommends blow dry brushes. A blow dry brush allows you to style and dry your hair at the same time, therefore allowing you to use less heat on your hair. 

You can find blow dry brushes at any major retailer such as Target or Walmart, or you can also find them at a beauty store like Ulta

As long as you are being safe, Garrett sees nothing wrong with using heat on a regular basis.

“I think that if you’re taking the proper precautions and using the proper products beforehand, you can heat style safety everyday,” Garrett said. “Another big thing is just making sure you’re not turning those hot tools up too high. I usually like to recommend keeping it between 360 and 380 degrees, especially if you color your hair because heat can actually also start destroying color molecules at a certain temperature.” 

Check out Garrett’s work on Instagram @abi.heroichair.