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How to Reduce Heat Damage on Hair: 14 Practical Tips

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How do you fix heat damaged hair? Can heat damage be reversed? What products help heat damaged hair? These are just some of the most commonly asked questions on how to reduce heat damage on hair and keep on reading because this article answers these questions and many more.

I used to have really damaged hair and the amount of heat I was using on it kept making it worse, until I eventually had to cut it all off and start fresh. Now, my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been and I rarely get heat damage, despite using heat styling tools on it. Here’s the tips and tricks I learned that might help you in your hair journey, too!

Shop my favorite products here!

Check out these articles, too:

Can Heat Damage be Reversed?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions by people that have damaged hair from heat styling and want to know if there is any way to start from scratch.

Technically, no, heat damage cannot be reversed because once your hair’s protein bonds break, your cuticle is damaged.

BUT, there are a lot of things that you can do to reduce and prevent further heat damage and eventually, yes, your hair could be even better than your hair before all the heat damage.

So, yes and no, but more yes than no.

I know, it’s confusing but the point is that if you follow these tips and take care of your hair, heat damage can be prevented, reduced, and your hair can be better than before you ever put heat on it.

How to Reduce Heat Damage on Hair?

1. Use the Right Plates on Your Hair Styling Tools

Of course, ideally, the best way to prevent heat damage to hair is to just stop using heat on it, but I know that for a lot of people it’s just not that easy. If you feel like you absolutely need to use heat tools on your hair to get the desired look you want, then you should at least make sure that you’re the best types of tools on your hair.

The plates on heat tools can be made of a lot of materials, but the ones you should use to reduce heat damage are ceramic, porcelain, and tourmaline. These are the best plates to have on your heat tools because they conduct heat evenly so your hair is less likely to burn due to over heating of the plates.

This is a really important tip if you use straighteners and other heat styling tools often.

Best Heat Styling Tools for Your Hair

2. Use a Boar Bristle Brush

All of us use hair brushes, and a lot of us use them while we’re blow drying our hair or using other heat tools.

It’s really important to use the right kind of brush when you’re using heat tools to minimize damage to your hair, and that’s why you should use boar bristle brushes.

Boar bristle have many benefits, but they’re great for heat styling because they don’t get very hot, even when exposed to the very hot temperatures from your heat tools. Other popular brushes that are made of metal, for example, get very very hot and this can burn your hair even more.

Switching to boar bristle brushes is an easy and super effective way to prevent heat damage on hair.

Here’s a great boar bristle brush to use when you’re blow drying your hair!

3. Add Keratin to Your Hair Routine

When you use a lot of heat on your hair, the proteins in the hair are damaged and become vulnerable.

That is why one of the best ways to prevent heat damage to your hair is by adding proteins back into the hair using keratin.

Invest in good keratin products so that the protein that makes up your hair is strong and repairs the damage on the outside of hair strands.

Not only is keratin great for the health of your hair, but it also helps your hair look amazing.

When you use a lot of heat on your hair, it becomes dry, frizzy, and broken but keratin basically smooths over the cells in your hair, making it look and feel shinier and less frizzy.

BUT, you need to make sure not to overdo it because too much keratin and protein in your hair can be really bad for it.

Best Keratin Products for Damaged Hair

4. Start Using Silk Bonnets

Silk bonnets and pillowcases are really great for preserving hair styles overnight so that you can wake up with hair that looks just as good as when you last styled it.

This is a very underrated tip that most people don’t think of when they’re trying to figure out how to reduce heat damage on hair. If you wear silk bonnets and use silk pillowcases, then you will need to use less heat the next day because your hair will already look like it did when you styled it last.

These accessories are basically hairstyle protectors.

If you’re trying to use less heat on your hair and prevent hair damage, you need to get a silk bonnet or pillowcase!

Best Silk Bonnets and Pillowcases

5. Make Sure You Have the Nozzle on Your Hair Dryer

This is a small tip that makes a HUGE difference.

Most hair dryers come with a nozzle that can be attached to the front, the thing that kind of looks like a ducks mouth.

Well, that nozzle is VERY important for your hair because it helps concentrate the air coming from the hair dryer to directly target the hair you’re drying.

This helps prevent heat damage because you’re using less heat since the nozzle helps to directly target your hair instead of drying your hair for much longer (and using a lot more heat) that doesn’t dry your hair as well because the air is going all over the place and not straight to the portion of hair you’re working on.

So make sure to attach the nozzle on your hair dryer!

6. Hair Mask Every Week

Hair masks are so important for hydrating and nourishing your hair.

They become even more important when you’ve been exposing it to a lot of heat and your hair becomes damaged and dry.

Frequently using a hair mask (at least once a week!) will hydrate and moisturize your hair and help prevent heat damage by constantly putting back in the moisture in your hair that the heat is taking out.

Best Hair Masks for Damaged Hair

These are my two favorite deep nourishing hair masks – I think you’ll love them just as much as I do!

7. NEVER Style Hair Without Heat Protectant

This is a no brainer if you’re wondering how to reduce heat damage on hair.

Heat protectant is one of the few ways to actively protect your hair from heat damage while you’re styling it with heat products.

The hair protectant creates a shield layer on top of your hair so that when you put heat on the hair, that shield protects it and reduces heat damage.

You should NEVER ever style your hair with heat without a hair proctectant.

Best Heat Protectants

Here are some of my favorite heat protectants:

8. Use a Micro Fiber Towel

Microfiber towels absorb A LOT more water than regular towels so that means your hair dries much faster.

Not only that, but if you’re wondering how to reduce heat damage on hair, especially curly hair, then microfiber towels are amazing because it keeps the natural curl pattern of hair intact, reduces frizz, and doesn’t weigh your hair down with excess water.

Microfiber towels are an awesome alternative for hair dryers, especially for curly and wavy hair!

This one is affordable and super effective.

9. Air Dry Your Hair

One of the best ways, if not the best way, to prevent heat damage to your hair is by stop using heat so much.

And one of the easiest ways to do this is by air drying your hair.

I know a lot of people like to make the case that blow drying your hair isn’t that bad since there’s no plates are actually touching the hair, but blow drying still means heat and heat means damage.

If you feel like you need to style your hair using straighteners, curlers, and other hair tools, but still want to prevent heat damage, then you NEED to air dry your hair.

And once your hair air dries COMPLETELY, then you can style it with heat tools if you need to.

Air drying your hair reduces the heat on your hair and in the long term will make it A LOT healthier.

10. Blow Dry 5 Inches Away From Your Hair

If, however, you do blow dry your hair and don’t think air drying is an option for you, then you should be blow drying your hair with the dryer 5 inches away from your hair.

There was actually a 2011 study that found that blow drying 5 inches away from the hair can protect the hair follicle, preventing heat damage.

11. Don’t Style Your Hair Wet

This tip is SO important!

When you style your hair with heat tools like a straightener, you put your hair between the plates that are essentially frying your hair.

And when your hair is wet, it’s a lot more vulnerable and a lot more likely to break, so when you put direct heat on it, the water in your hair is literally exploding – that’s why you always hear the sizzling sound when you straighten wet hair – and this can cause it a lot of damage.

Heat styling wet hair – especially with direct heat – is a big no no and will destroy your hair follicles.

Wait until your hair is completely dry before styling it with heat.

12. Rinse with Cold Water

Rinsing your hair with cold water is a very easy tip that will definitely pay off in the long run.

Ending your hair wash with cold water will seal your hair cuticles and make them a lot stronger, and a lot more resistant to damage, so that when you do put heat on it, the effects aren’t as damaging.

So the next time your washing your hair, end the shower with a quick rinse under cold water.

13. Style Your Hair Once Between Washes

‘Is it bad to use heat on your hair everyday?’ I can’t believe some people still ask this question because YES, IT IS.

If you’re using heat on your hair every day, you are literally burning and destroying your hair and will eventually have to get all the dead hair cut.

That is why I only style my hair once with heat right after washing it and then making that hair style last until the next time I wash my hair, which is usually 3 or 4 days later.

I’ve been using this hair hack for about a year and a half and it’s made such a difference to the quality of my hair and how it feels.

I have naturally wavy/curly hair and used to use A LOT of heat on it to straighten it. My hair wouldn’t stay straight for long, though, so I was basically straightening it every day.

Now, on the days I wash my hair, I will style my hair once and then make that hair style last until I wash it next using silk bonnets for when I sleep. If you wash your hair every day or every other day, try to wait a day or two more between washes so you’re not using heat on it too much.

Unfortunately, this might mean you won’t be able to switch up your hair style every day, but it’s so much better for your hair.

14. Cut Off Dead Hair

If all else fails, and you feel like nothing you’re doing is working on your hair because it’s too fried and dead, then you need to chop all the dead hair and start fresh.

Some people still ask, ‘how damaging is heat on hair?’ without realizing that using heat on your hair is one of the absolute WORST things you can do it, and it will lead to dry, brittle hair that has split ends.

Sometimes hair damage is so bad that none of the 13 earlier tips will work and all you can do is start fresh.

I actually had to do that with my own hair, and once I chopped it off I started using the tips I mentioned above and my hair is the healthiest and strongest it’s ever been.

So if you’re asking yourself, ‘is it better to cut off damaged hair?’ then it probably is.

I hope this article helps you figure out how to prevent heat damage on hair and how to repair heat damaged hair fast.

Check out these articles, too, on how I grew my hair 5 inches in just 2 months and my Winter hair care routine for dry, frizzy hair.

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