How To Care for Heat Damaged Hair Plus Our Favorite Products

Woman with damaged dry hair

Do you straighten, curl, and blow-dry your hair every day? You’ve probably noticed it starting to become dull, frizz, or even fall out. These are all tell-tale signs of heat-damaged hair but don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to stop using these tools. There are a variety of techniques, remedies, and products that can lessen heat damage. You’ll have to start soon, though, because this kind of damage is often irreparable, and you don't want to have to cut it all off and start over. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to care for your heat-damaged hair. 

How Heat and Chemicals Damage Your Hair

Heat-damaged hair isn't just a consequence of heat styling. Bleach and other harsh chemicals and dyes can also burn it. To understand exactly how these elements work, you first need to understand what hair is. Unlike most other mammals, humans are mostly hairless except for our heads. Some theories suggest it's because we’ve developed the unique ability to keep warm by using clothes and starting fires. However, our heads are directly exposed to the sun so it's a sort of protective helmet.

Your body is filled with follicles that anchor your hair onto your skin, these are made of keratin. This simple protein is produced at the base of the follicle by living cells that feed on blood cells and hormones. This is why a healthy diet and what you put into your blood are also important for a healthy mane. 

When you apply high heat to your hair, including prolonged sun exposure, it breaks down the bonds in the keratin protein, also known as fibers, and makes your hair more brittle and less pliable. This can result in split ends or flyaways. Thus, extreme heat damage is irreversible because the heat basically melts the keratin, and it can no longer regenerate. 

Heat begins to damage your hair from the tip and slowly moves its way up until it gets to the follicle and the best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it. As you can see, healthy habits are essential although other factors such as where you live and the daily activities you carry on also come into play. Your hair is extremely resilient, but the chances of it getting damaged skyrocket if you straighten it every day or swim in a chlorinated pool often or live in a sunny place. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to care for and prevent heat-damaged hair.

How to Care for Heat Damaged Hair 

The best way to avoid heat damage is simple: don't apply unnecessary heat to your hair. This includes keeping it natural as well as wearing a swimming cap, and a hat if you plan to be under the sun for a long period. Unfortunately, people feel the need to modify their hair as a result of societal pressures or personal choices and heat is the easiest way to straighten or curl it. It does so by changing the hydrogen bonds responsible for giving hair its shape. While straightening or curling your hair once in a while won’t cause too much damage, doing so regularly definitely will so you need to take some precautions.

A Healthy Diet

The healthier your hair is, the more resistant it'll be to heat damage, so nutrition is very important if you’re going to be styling your hair with heat appliances. This is particularly important as you age since your hair naturally begins to break down. So, what are the best foods you can eat to promote healthy hair growth? Well, pretty much anything that contains the nutrients that are essential for keratin production: protein and biotin. 


Table filled with healthy foods

Eggs are one of the best things you can eat to promote healthy hair because they not only contain both of these nutrients but zinc and selenium as well. Your hair also needs vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, vitamin B complex, and essential fatty acids. You can get these from berries, avocados, seeds, nuts, fatty fish, and meat. 

Routine Haircuts

You can do this at home or seek professional help. Routine haircuts are important as they can help you get rid of damaged hair. As we said above, the damage starts with split ends so ask for micro trim if you’re trying to maintain the length. The stylist can take off as little as an eighth of an inch. Keep in mind that cutting it might be your only choice if your hair is extremely damaged. So, let’s see what other treatments and precautions you can take to prevent this. 


Woman getting her haircut

Curly Hair

The texture and shape of your hair will determine how you take care of it. For example, you’ll want to focus on sealing the moisture in your follicles if you have curly hair as it’s difficult for the oils to get to the tips due to their shape. You can do this with a hair mask and deep-conditioning treatments. Shea butter and argan oil are the best ingredients to bring back bouncy curls. Additionally, you can use conditioners with ingredients such as coconut oil, avocado, or aloe vera to nurture your follicles. In contrast, shampoo can strip your hair of its natural oils so use it every other day or less and only shampoo your scalp, not the actual hair.

Straight Hair

Any heat damage will be more evident in this type of hair, especially if you straighten it regularly. There are various straightening serums you can use that act as a barrier between the hair and the heat. These products can ensure that the moisture stays in your hair as you style it. Additionally, there are various hair masks and natural treatments you can use such as yogurt, honey, and olive oil. These ingredients restore the natural bonds to your hair and bring back its glossy appearance. Products that contain keratin can also help.

Bleached Hair

Your hair gets its color from a pigment inside the hair shaft called melanin. In turn, this hair shaft is covered by a protective protein known as a cuticle. So, bleaching your hair opens up the cuticle in order to change the melanin inside your hair. However, because bleach is an abrasive chemical, it'll burn and strip your hair of its natural oils and fibers. Furthermore, once your cuticles open, they'll lie flat and won’t close again and so your hair will lose moisture and become dry and brittle. Keep in mind that bleached hair requires special post-maintenance if you're considering it.

Bleach blonde hair is more sensitive than other types in general. Especially when it comes to keeping it moisturized and taking care of it. There are many special shampoos for moisturizing and maintaining the tone of blonde you select. Keep in mind that this type of hair is dryer so you must condition it; you might want to use a protein-rich hair mask to nurture your damaged cuticles. 


Woman getting her hair bleached at the salon

Blonde hair is weaker and requires special combs or brushes with soft silicone bristles. This is because your hair will be more prone to breaking and falling off. Lastly, if you have bleached hair it’s even more important to use the precautions we’ve mentioned about heat protection.

Ways to Style Your Hair without Heat and Chemicals

Natural hair is beautiful! And did you know you can straighten or curl your hair naturally without heat? Sure, it won’t be perfect, but perfection is highly overrated. Follow these techniques to decrease your chances of heat damage. 

Straight Hair

This type of hair is desirable because it’s easier to manage than curly hair. It also allows for a greater variety of hairstyles and cuts. However, only 45% of the world population has naturally straight hair. Thus, the common ways to attain it are straightening irons and harsh chemicals that can loosen the hydrogen bonds of the hair. Let’s take a look at some things you can try to get your hair straight without the heat damage. 

Using the cold air option on your blow dryer is actually an effective way to straighten your hair. You can use this method alongside other cosmetic products specifically designed for straight hair. Sleeping with your hair wet by tying it into a bun will also result in a straighter appearance.


Beautiful woman with straight hair

These methods might be a little difficult to achieve on curly hair so don't straighten it unless you really have to. Do it once a week if you must and maintain it by wrapping and tightening it into a bun, as explained above, during the night.

Curly Hair

Fortunately for the curly-haired majority, natural hair is making a comeback. There are many techniques for you to style your curls. These are similar to the straight hair techniques above but involve manipulating the shape of your hair while it’s still wet. 

Hair rollers have always been one of the most popular ways to get curls. You just have to put them on while your hair is wet and wait until they dry. However, if you don’t want to do all that work, you can just scrunch it with your hands after you shower. Another similar technique is to braid your wet hair at night and sleep with it. Once morning comes, you can unbraid it and you’ll have beautiful flowing curls.


Woman with beautiful long curly hair

Our Favorite Products

There are many hair products out there but they're all different and the quality can greatly vary. The vast majority of them contain harsh chemicals and parabens that’ll actually damage your hair even more than heat. The most important thing to look at when buying products for heat-damaged hair is the list of ingredients. Remember, your hair needs specific nutrients and you can claim back its luster and prevent further damage with the right hair care products. Let’s look at some of our favorite heat protectant goods.

Haeyo Mayo Hair Nutrition Pack
$16.00 ($1.90 / Fl Oz)


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09/20/2023 08:01 pm GMT

TonyMoly Haeyo Mayo Hair Nutrition Mask

It may sound gross, but mayonnaise has been used to treat hair for many, many decades. Eggs are one of the main ingredients of mayo, and do you remember what the best food for hair is? Right, eggs! This product isn’t just regular mayonnaise, though. It’s additionally fortified with shea butter, macadamia seed oil which will leave your hair smelling fresh, and other nutrients. Be careful not to eat it as it comes in a fun-shaped mayonnaise bottle. 

Haircare Miracle Leave-In Conditioner Spray
$26.98 ($2.70 / Fl Oz)

by It's A 10 

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09/20/2023 07:51 pm GMT

It’s a 10 – Miracle Leave-In Product

You might be skeptical of a product claiming to be a miracle, but we think this product really works. It’s a small spray that you can apply to your hair after taking a shower. It helps smooth hair and eliminate frizz. Furthermore, it’s a thermal protector which is perfect if you’re in the sun or are using heat to style your hair. It also offers a natural UV protector. Its all-natural ingredients provide all the nutrients your hair needs. These include sunflower extract which is a natural exfoliant, silk amino acids that help restore moisture balance, green tea leaf extract which shields hair from environmental damage, and panthenol which is a highly effective strengthener. 

Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil
$8.84 ($4.42 / Fl Oz)

by Mielle Organics 

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09/19/2023 05:33 pm GMT

Mielle Rosemary Mint Growth Oil

This oil will protect your hair from breakage by promoting growth. Furthermore, it’s made of ingredients such as rosemary, mint, castor seed, jojoba seed, tea tree, coconut, wheat germ, grape seed, sweet almond oil, and biotin, which work together to relieve scalp dryness. Many people experiencing hair loss have said that this product has reversed it.

Wet-Dry Brush
$18.99 ($18.99 / Fl Oz)

by Ovation 

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09/19/2023 05:50 pm GMT

Ovation Wet-Dry Hairbrush

Wiry bristles are often the culprits behind frizzy hair. This is especially true if your hair is already damaged from heat or bleach. Its soft flexible bristles will allow you to brush with ease. You can use it on wet or dry hair and will easily untangle it. It’ll be your go-to brush as soon as you get one! 

Natural Remedies to Treat Heat Damaged Hair

There are many beauty products on the market and it's really hard to choose the right ones for your needs. Not only that, they're often quite expensive as well. The good news is you can make your own treatments with ingredients you have at home in your pantry. You heard right. In fact, we’ve already talked some about eggs, and mayonnaise, and how getting nutrients straight from the source is one of the best ways to tackle damaged hair. So, let’s look at some other natural remedies you may already have at home. The best part about them is that you can set them aside for later use while you make dinner! 

Avocado Hair Mask

This fruit is native to Mexico and well known for being rich in minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. It can be very beneficial in helping you restore shine lost and dryness caused by heat damage. All you need to do is take a very ripe avocado and mash it with some egg. Stir well until you form a smooth paste. You can now put this paste into your hair and wait for about 30 minutes. Afterward, just rinse it in the shower with some mild shampoo. Repeat this twice a week and you’ll soon start seeing results.

 Avocado Mask in a small container

Olive Oil

You can use this on your hair and skin alike. Olive oil contains many essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Therefore, it helps to strengthen and nourish your hair and scalp. Dandruff is another unwanted effect of heat damage since the heat not just dries out your hair, but your scalp too. All you need to do is to slightly warm the oil and massage it onto your head. Wrap your head in a towel and leave it on for about an hour. Then, just rinse with shampoo in the shower. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Mask

This vinegar made from fermented apples is prebiotic and the bacteria it contains is quite beneficial to your hair. Furthermore, it contains many helpful vitamins and minerals. You can even make a mask with some of the other ingredients we’ve mentioned. Just add a spoon of apple cider vinegar and add it to a bowl along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one egg. Mix well and massage the mixture into your scalp and hair. You can then rinse it off with some shampoo. 

Hair is a part of your identity and you must treat it well — it's kind of like having a pet in a way. This is why it’s important to be good at it and give it all the nourishment it needs. So, brush it and love it. No, you don’t have to put away that straightener or curling iron just yet. Just follow the tips suggested here if you want to keep on using heat methods on your hair or bleach it. You're in charge!

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