Photography by Getty Images.
Welcome to Texture Talk, a column that celebrates the dynamic world of curly hair and delves deep into it, from free-flowing crowns of curls to protective strands.
By Kenisha Alexander
Heat and paint damage is simply hard to repair, and to be honest, this can be one of the most daunting parts of your natural journey to caring for curly hair, especially if it is due to methods you actually used with intent Increase your style. There is hope at the end of this frizzy, cleft tunnel, however. With a little effort and the right mix of ingredients and methods, your hair can easily (read: with patience) return to its former glory.
If you are wondering how tools and chemicals designed for hair actually cause this damage, you are not alone. The short answer is major cuticle damage to your hair. Both straightening and coloring your hair lifts the cuticle of the hair and opens up your hair to further damage. All you do from this point on is repair the outer cuticles of your hair to restore that healthy look. We spoke to Toronto-based hairstylist Sally John for some of her top tips for repairing damage and restoring volume, moisture, and shine to your curly hair.
Create a realistic routine
No matter what your hair goals are, an established routine will help you get there. John recommends getting regular cuts and speaking to your barber to assess your goals. Get your hair examined, assessed for the damage, and recommend specific products to add to your routine, including a shampoo and conditioner, to help soothe your damaged hair. When trying to repair curly hair damage caused by color processing, use a color-safe shampoo to minimize touch-ups (and other damage). A root touch-up spray can also help you cover up pesky shades of gray or roots between appointments to minimize your hair’s exposure to dyes.
Rebuild broken bonds
John reminds us that one of the tell-tale signs of damaged, textured hair is that it becomes tangled in the blink of an eye. “If your hair is tangled, it’s probably because you have split ends,” she says. This is especially true for tighter textures. John advises looking out for single strand knots, especially during the untangling process. To combat shredded ends, it’s important to establish and maintain a thorough conditioning routine. Look for a focused treatment that will help strengthen and repair bonds over time.
Try a hot oil treatment
One of the first signs of damaged hair is a noticeable loss of moisture. High protein oils like coconut oil and castor oil are known for their ability to penetrate deeply into the hair shaft and restore moisture and shine to hair that has lost its shine. When using this type of treatment, it’s best to start at your scalp and work your way down so your roots can get the much-needed TLC. Mix your favorite oils in an applicator bottle, then place the bottle in hot water (not in the microwave!) To warm. After you’ve applied the oils to your scalp (always test for temperature safety first), cover your hair with a shower cap and let the treatment work for 30 minutes. Rinse, condition and wait until your glorious shine is restored. Repeat this once a week as needed.
Photography courtesy of Slip
Limit styling and pdry your hair overnight
Protecting your hair while you sleep can go a long way. If you’re using a standard cotton pillowcase, the friction from just moving your head can help wake up frizz and split ends. Instead, wrap your hair in a silk scarf or use a silk pillowcase to minimize stress on your strands. Every time you try to style your hair, there is a chance that it will do further damage. John recommends putting your hair in a protective style, such as braids or a weave, to limit how much you manipulate your hair on a daily basis. “Sewn-in seams are great because you can play with color and length without having to commit yourself. Wigs can be a good alternative too, but look for a style that can be attached without glue, which in itself can be harmful, ”she says. You should also be tired of having too much tension applied protective style, which can also be the cause of thinning and hair loss, especially around your hairline. “If you feel that your tissue or extensions are attached too tightly, let your hairdresser know before you step out of the chair,” says John. A few weeks with an installation that is too tight can take months or even years. To repair thinning edges, the best method is to make sure they are constantly hydrated to encourage growth. Use a leave-in cream daily and apply a repairing hair mask several times a week. “Applying castor oil around the edges before bed is your best friend,” added John.