Hair Advice at Your Fingertips!

What heat protection does your hair need?

How to protect hair from heat and high temperatures?

Split ends, dull locks, faded colors, and even hair loss – this is what we get when overlooking heat protection for hair. Today we are going to explain how heat and your tresses can go together with minimal damage caused.

How to Protect Your Hair from Sun Damage

With so many SPF hair products on the store shelves, even the stupidest of us can take the hint–the sun’s rays are bad for our hair. But how does the sun damage hair? In several ways, actually. The UVA and UVB rays attack the hair cuticle, which is the outer layer protecting the hair shaft, ultraviolet oxidizes sulfur molecules in the shaft and destroys amino acids from which keratin is built. As a result, our locks lose moisture, strength, elasticity, shine, and color, of course.

The latter is especially critical for natural blondes and redheads, as their strands contain more of pheomelanin. This hair pigment is not that effective in UV filtering as eumelanin, a black-brown pigment. So, blonde- and red-haired women are in great need of sun protection for hair, as well as girls with fine tresses. Finer strands lack thickness, which makes them more vulnerable to harsh UV effects and thus more dependent on some sunblock to save them from damage. This is also true for color-treated hair, particularly if it’s lightened – less pigmentation means weaker natural UV hair protection. And African-American curls top the list since their tightly coiled shape makes them more fragile.

So, how to protect hair from the sun? Here is our guide:

– Wear a hat

Or a cap, a bandana, or whatever. Headwear is the best sunscreen for hair, especially the wide-brimmed kind. This also covers wearing a swimming cap when splashing in a pool, as chlorinated water makes our tresses even more naked to the sun.

– Steer clear from switching to brand-new color

Do all the coloring jobs in early summer and then focus on retaining the color rather than trying new hair color ideas. To make your color last longer, choose specifically designed products, including those with built-in hair sunscreen.

– Use a leave-in conditioner

While a shampoo with sunscreen is great when used all alone, a live-in product can offer better protection by keeping not only sun rays but also saltwater and chlorine away from your mane. Some natural oils can work as a conditioner and sunblock for hair, for example, coconut and avocado oils.

– Protect your scalp

If not protected properly, your scalp can get overdried or even suffer from sunburns. Mind that only those products labeled as having SPF for hair can work as sunscreen for hair and scalp. If a mousse or spray reads “UV protective”, it may not work as sunscreen for scalp since it allows coating with some UV-deflecting composition only for your strands, not the scalp. You can use suitable sun protection locally where your skin is exposed to the sun, for example for hair part or crown.

– Apply hydrating and nourishing masks

In the summertime, when the sun strives to deprive your tresses of moisture and keratin, hydrating and protein-rich treatments are game-changers. Opt for products containing vegetable protein, shea butter, and aloe vera or make DIY masks with honey, yogurt, coconut, and avocado oils.

Now when we are finished with the environmental factor, let’s find out how to protect your hair from heat generated by human-made sources.

How to Protect Your Hair from Heat-Styling Tools

Well, if you cannot do without heat styling (which is not surprising), we have a couple of smart tips for you:

– Keep the heat low

Actually, our tresses can be fine with temperatures below 400 degrees, the more so that drying, curling, or straightening doesn’t really require going higher than that. When having dry, fine, or already heat damaged hair, it’s better to stick to a lower temperature range – up to 300 degrees.

– Choose proper heat protectant

These products are not made equal. While one heat protection spray would only cover your strands with a layer to create a barrier between the cuticle and heat, another one can deliver various bioactive substances to lubricate the locks for reduced heat damage. There are special-purpose formulas for natural hair which allow taming the frizz and awesome lotions with the power to fight knots, so everyone can choose the most suitable solution.

– Take days off

We are sure you can curl or straighten your tresses less often, giving them a chance to restore. Spend heat-free days applying hydrating and nourishing masks to make your mane stronger and prepared for upcoming styling experiments.

– Opt for better styling tools

Buying an ionic hairdryer, ceramic curling iron, or a straightener with floating plates can make all the difference since quality tools provide less harsh effects and reduce hair damage caused by high temperatures.

– Don’t try too hard

Even the best thermoprotector for hair won’t save your locks if you keep processing them with heat again and again. It’s enough to work through a section of hair with a flat iron just once or twice to get it straightened. And you need only a couple of seconds to curl a lock with a wand. You’d better separate smaller hair sections instead of applying more heat.

How to Protect Hair in a Sauna and Steam Rooms

Though filled with heat, steam rooms are often praised for their effects, including some benefits for hair. It may sound confusing to those of us who are not frequent sauna users. So, we are here for a quick FAQ about dry sauna or steam room therapy.

– Is a sauna bad for your hair?

It can be damaging due to high temperatures affecting your hair, especially if it is of high porosity – this type of hair absorbs and then releases moisture readily, leading to its shrinkage and damage.

– Is a sauna good for hair growth?

Yes, thanks to enhancing blood flow to the scalp for improved oxygen and nutrients supply. Active sweating leads to cleansing the skin and unclogging the pores for healthy sebum production.

– What to do before the sauna session?

Apply a silicone or oil-based deep conditioner to damp locks or cover your head with a fabric cap to keep the hair protected from drying out.

– What to do after the sauna?

Lubricate the tresses with a water-based conditioner to restore moisture.

– Should you wash your hair after the sauna?

Yes, rinse off the conditioner with warm water and get a final rinse with cool water to seal the hair scales.

When installing extensions ALWAYS ask your hairstylist how to take care of them in saunas, what temperature to choose during heat styling, etc. For example, if you have hot fusion extensions with keratin bonds, a towel on your head during your sauna visit is a must. Otherwise, your extensions can simply fall off. On the other hand, some extensions are made of synthetic materials and must be styled at low temperatures only.

We’ve explored all the aspects of heat protection for hair, and now you are armed with the clues helping to keep your locks healthy no matter what. Follow our tips while we will be looking for new hair care secrets to reveal.

Featured Image: freepik

by Donna Sullivan
Donna is a hairstylist with 8 years of experience. Ask her about any hair-related problem (haircuts, hairstyles, colorings, hair care) and get a pro advice!