Showing posts with label Heat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heat. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2012

Considering Heat Usage? Heat Training?

In this video, Longhairdontcare2011 illustrates her coil pattern change after years of "responsible" heat usage:

NOTE: Longhairdontcare2011 does not intentionally use heat to change her coil pattern.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Minimal-Damage Heat Regimen for Healthy Hair

So you are interested in using heat -- be it blow-drying or flat-ironing -- but you are terrified of destroying your healthy hair.  Too many horror stories about split ends and permanently straight strands resulting from heat usage.  Fear of losing the progress you worked so long to achieve.

The truth of the matter is that heat usage does not have to be so scary as long as you know your hair and know its limits.  Additionally, a high-moisture, high-strength, moderate-heat routine is necessary to minimize damage.  The regimen below is a good starting point for those who are ready to incorporate heat styling into their hair care.  However, if you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then I encourage you leave heat usage alone for now: Is your hair currently damaged?  Is your hair brittle or weak?  Is your hair newly colored or bleached?


Wash with a moisturizing shampoo.
With a heat-styling regimen, it is really important to maintain moisturized strands, even during the washing process.  Use of a drying shampoo will translate into more effort spent afterwards restoring moisture to your hair.  On the other hand, use of a moisturizing shampoo will help to lightly condition and moisturize your hair during the washing process.  Shampoos like these usually contain mild (rather than harsh) cleansing agents AND light conditioning ingredients.
Recommendations:  Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo, Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo

Deep condition with a moisturizing protein conditioner.
Following up with a deep protein conditioner is essential to reinforce the hair shaft for manipulation and heat usage.  However, for those who are protein sensitive or have issues with protein-moisture balance, finding the right deep protein conditioner can be a challenge.  A great option is to try a deep conditioner with the dual role of strengthening (protein) and moisturizing.  Such conditioners will generally contain a hydrolyzed protein (e.g., keratin, collagen) for reinforcement and humectants (e.g, glycerin) for moisture retention.
Recommendations: Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak

Quick condition with a silicone-based conditioner (optional).
This step is ideal for those who desire strands that are more manageable (e.g., easier combing, less tangly) and smoother for heat styling.  Also, if your hair is too hard after the above deep conditioning step, this quick condition will help to soften it.
Recommendations: Most Tresemme and Pantene conditioners

Moisturize with a light water-based product and then seal. (No humectants.)
This is your final moisturizing step prior to applying heat to your hair.  You can simply apply a good oil/butter-based sealant to your damp, conditioned hair or after applying a light water-based moisturizer.  Avoid products with humectants in order to delay reversion and frizz.  Also, avoid overly heavy products which can contribute to buildup.
Moisture recommendations: water, Oyin Hair Dew, KBB's Super Silky Leave-In Conditioner
Sealant recommendations: homemade whipped butter, Oyin Whipped Butter


Airdry in big braids.
Air dry your hair as opposed to blow drying to minimize your heat usage.  Doing so in big braids will stretch the hair better than twists though it will also take longer.

Apply a silicone-based heat protectant.
A good heat protectant will usually contain silicones, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which are the most effective at inhibiting damage.  Applying a heat protectant is necessary to reduce the rate at which heat travels through the hair.  Be sure to apply a sufficient amount and section by section.
Recommendations: Carol's Daughter Macademia, Proclaim Glossing Polish Color and Heat Protection, CHI Silk Infusion

Flat iron using a moderate temperature and no more than two passes.
Read this post on "The Natural Haven" for information on the temperature profile for human hair.  If you do use a setting above 300 degrees F, try not to go above 350 F.  Also, invest in a quality flat iron so that little effort (including minimal passes) is required to achieve the look for which you are aiming.  Also, find one with a temperature dial so that you can control the heat level.


Apply a silicone-based heat protectant.
A good heat protectant will usually contain silicones, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which are the most effective at inhibiting damage.  Applying a heat protectant is necessary to reduce the rate at which heat travels through the hair.  Be sure to apply a sufficient amount and section by section.
Recommendations: Carol's Daughter Macademia, Proclaim Glossing Polish Color and Heat Protection, CHI Silk Infusion

Blow dry using the tension method (no combs or brushes).
Read more (and view tutorials) about it in this earlier post.  Also, it is less damaging to blow dry on damp hair rather than sopping wet hair.  Investing in one with a diffuser is ideal to evenly distribute the heat across your hair.


Alternate between your heat-styling routine and no-heat styles.
Wear your straight hair for 2-3 weeks and then air dried no-heat styles (e.g., twists, buns, braids, roller set) the rest of the time.  Whether you choose to wear heat-styled looks twice a year or twelve times a year is up to you and your preference.  However, the lower your frequency of heat usage, the better your hair will fair in the long run.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

REVIEW #15: MK-I Halo Ceramic Flat Iron

Disclaimer: While I used temperatures of 360 to 380 F on my hair, I am in no way suggesting that others will not suffer heat damage in that range.  My hair is thick, dense, AND very kinky (except for some fine strands in the back), all of which allow it to undergo this level of heat exposure with no noticeable heat damage.  Learn what temperature range works for YOUR hair.  Here are a couple of blogs that discuss safe ranges of heat usage:


In the midst of straightening.
Purpose: To straighten very curly hair.  Also perfect for Brazilian Keratin Treatments.

Number of trials: 1 (straightened hair was then worn for two full weeks)

How I used it:
Hair was prepoo-ed, washed, conditioned, sealed, and then air-dried in 10 big twists.   Heat protectant was then applied as hair was flat ironed section by section.  The sections were as big as 1 inch by 2-3 inches, some smaller, but none bigger than that.  Only 1-2 passes were used.  The straightener was set to a temperature of 380 degrees Fahrenheit.  (I later tried 360 degrees, which achieved the same level of straightening.)


I was given this product to review and, to give you my honest opinion, this product is really good for the price.  If you have been following me for a while, then you know that I am a big fan of the GHD iron (the gold professional), which I purchased for $200+ a while ago.  Well, the MK-I Halo is the first straightener that I have used that comes close to the GHD.  What's more? It is priced for almost 45% less!  The MK-I Halo straightens just as well (1-2 passes, minimal effort) but leaves the hair with more volume.  This may be a good thing for those who want straight, voluminous hair.  I am by no means talking about the "frizzy, dry, stiff" kind of volume either;  I am talking about straight, sleek hair that is voluminous.  When I use the GHD, I notice that I lose a lot of the natural bulk in my hair, and I have a more flat look, which I actually like, but others may not.  Voluminous or flat, when it comes to the actual straightening, the two tools are fairly comparable.

Other than the actual straightening, what I like about this tool is that it has an adjustable digital temperature setting, which ranges from 140 to 450 F.  This is ideal for those who want to monitor the temperature they are applying to their strands.  In the future, I would like to use a setting of 300 F just to cut down on my heat exposure, and this tool will allow for that.  The GHD, on the other hand, does not have an adjustable temperature setting; according to the company website, the gold professional iron ranges from 347 to 365 F.

Now for the question of whether the style held up.  Yes, the style held up really well for the full two weeks with minimal reversion.  In my experience, the GHD does slightly better at withholding reversion than the MK-I Halo, though the latter is still pretty good.  Again, the difference between the performances of the two tools is minimal.

What are some other nice features of the MK-I Halo?  It heats up really fast (within seconds, it seems).  It automatically shuts off after the straightener has been on for 30 minutes.  This is a protective feature that comes in handy if you accidentally leave the room or house with the tool still on.  I also received a heat shield pouch, which comes in handy for storing and transporting the straightener.

PROS: straightens well and effortlessly; leaves the hair looking sleek and voluminous; reasonably priced; digital temperature setting; heats up within seconds; automatic shut off for protection; locks in moisture and does not dry the hair; heat shield storage and transportation pouch
CONS: none really; if you're like me and prefer straight hair that is flat over voluminous, then that might be considered a small con.

RATING: Overall, I give the MK-I Halo Ceramic Flat Iron 4.5 out of 5 stars based on what it accomplishes given the price alone.  It comes close to GHD, but I like the GHD slightly better. However, when it comes to cost, you can spend almost $100 less for the comparable MK-I Halo.  Also, again, you can use less heat with this straightener!

If you are interested in purchasing this tool or other products from Onei, use the "HHB40" code (for 40% off) at

This product is ideal for those who:
- have dense, curly/coily/kinky hair
- want the super straight, sleek look for a reasonable price
- want a quality straightener with a temperature setting

Finito.  Put in two big twists for waves.  Note the gloss, shine, and straightness after flat ironing.


Back in 2010 with a name-brand $50 flat iron.  Note the textured, stiff look after straightening.  Similar technique but different flat iron.  I would again get a textured, stiff look with a $60 more heavily-popular flat iron.

After the GHD.  Note the sleek, straight tresses.  Similar results are achieved with the MK-Halo, which is almost 45-50% cheaper.

GHD on the left.  MK-I Halo on the right.  Virtually no visible difference, but prior to achieving the waves, my hair is less voluminous with the GHD.
MK-I Halo on the left.  GHD on the right.  Note the digital screen on the MK-I Halo.
What I am working with when it comes to straightening.  The closest I can get to my natural texture shot.  This is after washing a twistout that was not separated (hence the clumping).  My hair shrinks down to about 2-3 inches.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hair Diary || Protective While Straight

This will be a monthly series in which I discuss my hair journey from now through my 5-year nappiversary in February 2013.

After three weeks in flat twists with twists (see earlier post), I flat-ironed my hair for an event.  It was more out of necessity than desire, but I enjoy the temporary change-up from my usual routine of twists.  

If you choose to flat iron your natural tresses, be sure you are aware of AND prepared for the possible risks (e.g., split ends, heat damage, breakage).  I purposely refrained from flat ironing my hair during the early part of my natural journey because I did not want to risk a setback.  Now that I am at a comfortable point in my hair care journey, I do not mind straightening my hair once in a while (~3 times a year).  

I started with freshly washed, detangled, and conditioned hair that was air dried in ~12 braids.  (See this page for my wash-condition-seal regimen.)  Then I undid each braid, applied Proclaim heat protectant generously, and proceeded to flat iron smaller sections with a maximum of two passes. 

My straightened hair will be in pinned up jumbo twists for the next two weeks (if not three).  Just because my hair is straight does not mean I can shy away from protective styling altogether.  On the weekends, I might wear twistouts, depending on my mood.

You can now find HHB on Facebook. Share with your friends:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Length Retention Tip!

Do you want to reach your hair goal?  Then ...

keep heat usage to a minimum.  Heat can translate into split ends galore, particularly when used inappropriately.  Try alternative methods (i.e., braidouts, twistouts, roller sets) to stretch your hair.

If you must use heat: Apply a good heat protectant from root to tip beforehand.  Also, if using a flat iron, use a relatively low or moderate heat setting and only 1-2 passes.  Lastly, use quality products and tools to minimize heat damage.

Loo's recommendations:
Heat protectant - Carol's Daughter Macadamia Heat Protection Serum
Flat iron - GHD
Blow dryer - Conair Infiniti (tension method)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tension Method: Blow Drying Relaxed or Natural Hair

The "tension method" is a gentler way to blow dry your tresses.  Below are two video tutorials depending on your hair's state:

Tension method on relaxed/texlaxed hair:

Tension method on natural hair:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heat Training: The "Benefits"

{Stretched texture shot}
heat training /hēt ˈtrāniNG/  Noun
the loosening of one's natural curl pattern through the regular application of high heat.  This process is usually gradual and subtle. (Loo's definition.)

Heat training is essentially a form of heat damage, which is why I have been so against the technique for some years.  However, my thoughts have changed recently since seeing a class of "healthy" heat-trained naturals arise.  Here is one of these naturals sharing her views: Longhairdontcare2011.

"Healthy heat-trained hair" may seem like an oxymoron but I can argue the same with "healthy hair".  Our strands face damage on a regular basis through sun exposure, styling, washing, detangling, and other forms of wear and tear.  So where do we drawn the line between what is healthy hair and what is not?  I think it reasonable to draw it between hair that is strong and supple (healthy) and that which is breaking and brittle (unhealthy). To me, hair that retains a reasonable level of strength and suppleness is hair that is healthy.  That being said, there is such a thing as heat-trained hair that is strong, supple, ... and thus healthy.  However, this is only true for some ladies.  Keep in mind that heat training can work well for some naturals and not so well for others.  For the former group I answer the following question ...


1. Easier Detangling ...
comes with a loosening of the curl pattern. For some naturals, the mass of curls/coils/kinks makes detangling a very tedious task. Generally, I’d say, “suck it up”, but as my hair has gotten longer, I can truly understand how brutal such a task can be for some naturals.  It can be brutal to the point of mechanical damage (e.g., breakage from impatient combing sessions).

2. Fewer SSKs ...
will form if the hair is heat trained.  What is a single-strand knot (SSK)?  It is essentially a knot formed from a strand of hair that has wrapped around itself.  What is a conducive environment for SSKs?  A mass of coils and kinks.  SSKs translate into more trims and sometimes breakage.  Heat training or other hair care steps (read here) can mitigate this issue.

3. Length Retention ...
comes with easier detangling and fewer SSKs.  "Proper" heat training can theoretically help some naturals achieve longer lengths.  Will I ever heat train for length retention?  In all honesty, I do not know yet.

4. Increased Versatility ...
is another benefit of heat training.  It becomes easier to achieve stretched or straight styles when desired.  Additionally, these styles will last longer.