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How to protect your hair from heat

We’re partnering with some of the hair industry’s top talents to bring you answers to your hair questions. Up today? Master stylist Nick Arrojo is showing us how to protect our vulnerable strands against heat damage.

Woman with flat iron

Your question

Can you create a guide for protecting your hair from heat? Is it OK to use heat tools every day? How can you lessen the damage? How bad is blow drying?

Nick’s answer!

Blow dryers, curling and straightening tools are a great addition to your styling arsenal because they allow you to shape and style your hair quickly and easily — an effective modern solution for our time-short lives. The price you pay, however, is the heat-induced damage to your hair. Sure, you’ll look great today and tomorrow, but constant use, especially of hot-tools, does damage the hair shaft, unless you take the proper precautions. And if hair is damaged, it gets increasingly harder to style effectively from day to day, which is when dealing with your locks gets frustrating.

If that happens, it’s really tough to get your hair looking good, no matter what cut you have, or product or tool you are using. So let’s look at some tips and tricks to using heat, without beating down on tresses.

A thermal protector

This is a must-have if you use heat tools regularly. They come in various guises and are designed to absorb and deflect heat, creating a protective barrier for locks. Most come in spray form and you should generously mist it into damp hair anytime you are using heat tools. Look for a thermal protector with added styling benefits. ARROJO protective thickening lotion, for example, features UV protection for hair, light hold and it helps to thicken and plump the hair shaft, which makes it a great all around prep product.

Handle your hair

For both curling and straightening irons, take thicker sections of hair into the iron all at once. Doing this means heat is being applied directly to fewer individual hair strands, reducing the amount of heat stress in the process. Take finer sections and you’ll encounter more heat and more stress.

Keep on moving

Another great way to diffuse that stress-inducing heat: Keep your heat tools moving as much as possible, no more than 15 or 20 seconds before moving on to the next section. It’s better to repeat than to hold on too long.

Watch the settings

Buy irons that have a thermometer gauge and keep your heat tool on the lowest setting possible. Yes, a super-hot iron will make your hair straight and smooth right away, but do it a lot and you will soon encounter dried out, frazzled hair that will never go smooth and straight again until you’ve cut off the damage.

Color cues

Remember, if you use heat tools often, the damage can make it more difficult to achieve a successful color service. That’s because the cuticle can become dry and damaged and won’t open up as much when you or your colorist applies the color. This means the color fails to lock in to the hair shaft as well, reducing the short and long-term effect of color. If you do use a lot of heat tools and you’re going in for a color service, be sure to let your stylist know so they can account for it in the color process.

Choose your battles

As a general rule, avoid subjecting your hair to excessive heat whenever possible. Remember, a well-executed straight blowout will last you three days. And it’s likely to look even better on the second or third day because your hair will be less susceptible to frizz and flyaways. So there’s no need to blow dry every day. If you’re curling your hair, remember rollers are a superb way to introduce brilliant, bouncy curls without the heat of a curling iron.

Repair and rebuild

If hair does get heat-stressed, it can be cured with the right care. A deep conditioning treatment restores life and luster, bounce and brilliance. To do it at home, use ARROJO hair repair masque. Packed with keratin, it offers intensive replenishment, perfect to restore radiance and make styling easy. The trick for the deep treatment is to leave it in hair for at least 10 minutes — run yourself a deep bath, put the masque on, lie back and enjoy!

More hair tips

Mane Event Mondays: The truth about blow drying
Mane Event Mondays: How to get effortless, flexible hair
Mane Event Mondays: How to deal with static

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