Heated styling tools such as hair straighteners and curling tongs are a popular way to create new hairstyles without paying salon prices, but it’s important to use them safely.
Constant use of at-home stylers, including hair dryers, can sometimes lead to styling damage as excessive heat exposure may cause it to become brittle and snap.
Online magazine, Refinery 29 recently produced a guide to the best at-home heat styling advice for each hair type. Here we add some additional tips on how to avoid hair breakage when using these tools at home:
Heat styling by hair type
Fine hair is particularly prone to damage from heat styling, especially at high temperatures, so choose tools with adjustable heat settings. Look for products with two or more heat options and use the lowest setting wherever possible.
Thick hair is more resilient than fine hair, so higher heat settings can be used. However, do not use hot tools on the hair for any longer than necessary. Choose a powerful hair dryer on a medium setting to reduce drying time and the likelihood of breakage.
Afro hair requires careful management, especially when heat styling, due to its texture and natural dryness. Use a low setting when blow drying and look for products which are ionic, as these can provide additional protection for Afro hair. A diffuser can also help to define curls whilst cutting down on drying time.
Protection tips for all hair types
Hair that breaks as a result of over-zealous heat styling should grow back naturally, but with careful management it should be possible to avoid the loss in the first place.
There are several precautions that people with all types of hair can take, these include minimising the amount of heat styling in your routine and applying heat-protective haircare products to reduce the risk of damage. Squeezing excess water from the hair, allowing it to air-dry until it is 90 per cent dry, then finishing it with a hair-dryer is a stylist-recommended trick for healthier blow outs.
Eating a healthy diet can also help as getting the necessary nutrients for hair health via your diet or a targeted supplement such as Hair Vitalics, will help to strengthen your hair from the inside out.
Hair breakage and hair loss – what’s the difference?
Hair breakage, whether from excessive heat or chemical treatments, happens when the shaft of the hair becomes weakened. Often this leads to the hair snapping along the lengths. Whilst this can look like hair loss when you see the broken hair fall, it is in fact styling damage and is usually easy to remedy with a trip to the hairdresser for a cut and some TLC in the form of strengthening and intensive conditioning treatments. This type of damage is generally more cosmetic as it does not affect the hair growth cycle.
Hair loss conditions cause strands to fall from the root due to the hair either being gradually weakened, or growth being temporarily suspended. This type of hair loss in women is usually caused either by genetics, as is the case with Female Pattern Hair Loss, or by a trigger such as stress, dietary issues or as a side effect of medication, which may lead to thinning hair all over the scalp, usually on a temporary basis.
One true hair loss condition which can be brought on by styling is Traction Alopecia. This occurs when overly tight hairstyles, such as weaves, braids, buns or hair extensions, are worn too often and place the follicles under excessive amounts of pressure. This can result in hair loss in the affected areas as well as around the temples and hairline, which may appear to recede. Whilst there is treatment for Traction Alopecia available, it is also important for anyone with signs of this condition to ditch the hairstyle responsible in order to allow the scalp time to recover.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.