How To Repair Heat Damaged Hair Without Cutting It

We've all been there. We look in the mirror and something's just not right with our hair. The luster, body, and shine we once owned have given away to a dull, sad and droopy appearance. And it's not just one bad hair day, this has been going on for weeks.

This is usually when we contemplate throwing all the heat tools away and going au natural permanently or we decide with dread in our stomachs we might have to cut it off.

So, before you or your hairdresser reach for those scissors, let's take a look at ways and means to counter-attack the droopy and get your hair mojo back without the cut. Let's face it, ladies, this means war!

Can heat damage be reversed?

Heat damaged hair can be turned about depending on the severity of the damage. It will never be exactly the same again but you can help it to recover.

blonde girl with long hair, thinking

Firstly, begin with a clean slate. Wash all the serums, silicone and sulfates out of your hair by using a gentle natural clarifying shampoo. Do not use hot water, rather opt for lukewarm water as hot water could further damage the hair. Think of it like an artist starting with a big clean canvass.

After washing your hair, rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar because it strengthens hair, enhances the shine while improving scalp health. And it's natural which means fewer add-ons and more wholesome goodness.

Next, opt for a protein treatment. Because hair is a protein filament or thread, adding the correct protein to the strands will add strength and mend broken bonds, while sealing split ends. It won't repair your hair permanently but only until the next treatment is applied. It will give your hair resistance to further damage.

Protein treatment can be done using a topical treatment or taking a supplement orally. My suggestion would be to bring out the big guns and tackle the problem from both sides: orally and topically.

It might be a good idea to have your hair trimmed slightly to get rid of the worst damage as this will inspire you when you see a subtle yet obvious improvement in your hair health.

RELATED: Best Heat Protectant For Curling Hair

Does damaged hair grow back?

Yes, it does.

But it takes time, patience and an iron-clad resolve from yourself by keeping the end in mind: beautiful, healthy, shiny hair.

My suggestion would be to go to a professional hairstylist, listen to the honest facts about your hair, (try not to cry at the truth) and then set up a game plan with the stylist so that you know what to do and what not to do at home. A six week follow up with the stylist is a good rule of thumb to see if the treatment plan is working for your hair and to get the ends trimmed.

In some cases, you may have to get your ends trimmed.. especially if you have split ends.

Find a stylist that uses shampoos, conditioners, and treatments that are as natural as they come. Imagine your hair as a patient that you are helping to get well. Once “the patient” is better, you can decide if you want to go back to the chemicals.

Look out for products that do not contain sodium laureth or lauryl sulfate (the stuff that makes shampoo foam). Generally, these sulfates are safe to use but could strip your already damaged hair of much needed natural oils and moisture.

It would be wise to also say no to synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and petrochemicals in any products that you use on your hair.

READ: How to make your own homemade heat protectant for hair

How do you fix heat damaged hair?

Once you have your game plan from your stylist (because you don't have to go this alone), follow it to a T. Usually his/her suggestion would be to shampoo your hair every other day and follow it up with the prescribed conditioner as daily washing could cause more damage.

girl washing hair in the shower

You could condition your hair on the days that you don't wash it. Wet your hair, apply the conditioner or protein treatment and leave it for about 15 minutes (or as per directions) thoroughly massaging it from the scalp to the ends of the hair.

For extra conditioning, place a clean plastic bag or shower cap over your hair to protect it and gently blow dry your hair on very low heat. Alternatively, wrap a hot towel around your head. The low heat will help the conditioner to penetrate the shafts better. Rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Ingredients like olive oil, protein, shea butter, coconut oil, and keratin work well.

Check Out: How To Use A Heat Protection Spray

Growing out heat damaged hair

Avoid chemical applications in the time that you are growing out your hair. Things like colorants, permanent waves and relaxers are a definite no-no. If you were used to these, this can be frustrating but just keep your eye on the ball, or hair in this case. This phase is called transitioning and it too shall pass.

To avoid traction alopecia, which is a gradual hair loss caused by wearing hair in a particularly tight ponytail or braids, rather wear your hair loose or pull it back loosely and fasten it with hair accessories that are not made from metal as the metal could incur more damage to your hair. 

Avoid ponytails.. if you can't, make it loose.

UV rays from the sun can strip hair of its natural protectants, further damaging hair. Before going into the sun, wear a hat or spritz your hair with a sun protection spray.

Another suggestion is to stop using heat. If you cannot stop it completely, minimize the times you use it or use alternatives like Flexi rod sets or even curl formers. Your mending hair will thank you.

READ: Do Heat Protectants Actually Work?

There are nourishing supplements that you can take for your hair. Fish oil (also known as Omega 3), Zinc, B-Complex (Biotin and B5), Vitamin C, Iron, Folic Acid, and Vitamin D all assist you on a cellular level to keep your hair, skin and nails in optimal condition. Probiotics help with your intestinal tract which in turn helps with overall body health.

It may be a good idea to look into these supplements as another tool in your hair toolbox to fight the good fight to healthy hair. 

Wrapping It Up

So now that you've learned how to repair heat damaged hair without cutting it, I do hope that you'll try these strategies first before chopping off your hair. If you know other tips that I haven't mentioned here, feel free to leave us a comment below. Of course, it's best to avoid heat damage in the first place. One of the ways you can do so is by choosing a curling iron that doesn't damage hair.

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Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Last Updated: May 10, 2020

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