If you've pressed your natural hair for years (or even once with an iron or comb that was too hot), you may find some sections don't snap back anymore, even after shampooing. What happened to your hair's ability to revert back to its natural texture once water hits it? What happened is flat iron damage. Yes, your hair can lose its ability to curl and will remain permanently straight and damaged. This happens when you use heat that's too high; it doesn't have to happen over time. One incident with a too-hot curling iron, flat iron or hot comb and this could happen.
Even if you wear your naturally curly hair straight all the time, this isn't a result you want because the hair has been fried straight and is not healthy.
How Do You Know Flat Iron Damage Caused Your Texture Loss?
Sometimes, your tresses may bounce back, but hair that's suffered permanent damage displays these telltale signs:
- Remains straight, even after repeated cleansing, conditioning, and protein treatments
- Is brittle
- Suffers split ends and mid-shaft splits
- No longer holds a curl
Flatiron damage causes a loss of elasticity in the hair, which is why it doesn't readily "bounce back."
What Can You Do?
Once you've determined that heat damage has occurred, you have several options:
- Leave your hair alone
- Treat it with protein and/or moisture in hopes your texture returns
- Cut the damaged hair off little by little as your mane grows
- Cut the damaged hair off all at once
If you don't do anything, you'll eventually have new growth, but it won't seamlessly blend into the damaged areas. You can attempt to treat your hair with protein and plenty of moisturizing conditioners; your texture may actually return after a few weeks (in which case, it wasn't irreparably damaged to begin with). If you can't bear the thought of cutting away all the heat damage at once (the final option), you can cut it as your hair grows out, about 1/2 inch per month. Whatever you decide to do, be careful with heat going forward because you probably don't want to go through this nightmare again.
Some Protein Treatments You Can Try
In hopes that your tresses aren't hurt past the point of no return, you might want to try protein in an effort to strengthen your hair and stop any breakage ASAP. These treatments are worth a shot:
The Real Solution for Heat Damage
The only real solution for hair that doesn't ever regain its natural texture is, unfortunately, to cut it off. If you have several damaged sections all over, you'll need to get rid of them, which means an overall cut. If you're trying to grow your hair longer, this is probably the last thing you want to hear, but it's necessary for the complete health of your hair. Once you cut off the damaged parts, you can start or return to a healthy hair regimen.