Today marks month 10 for me of the No Heat Challenge!
For me, this has been truly a challenge, especially with my history of hair. I am used to having my hair bone straight. Rarely any hard curls or that sort of thing so this was a tough thing to do, completely the opposite of what I am truly accustomed to. I began this challenge back in August of 2016 after experiencing heat damage to my hair for years, particularly on the ends of my hair. Even though I was using heat protectors every time I applied heat, I was straightening my hair every single day in which there is not too much to protect when it is being burned every single day. The heat damage to my ends led to major breakage and I just did not want to end up having to start my entire natural hair journey over again for the third time due to this method of styling, so I stopped it all together. On that day, I made that vow, and now here I am 10 – 11 months in, fully natural and with no heat manipulation at all.
When I talk to other natural ladies who do still continue to use heat, I have learned that it is often hard for some to maintain their natural hair without heat manipulation. Below are some tips on making it an easier process:
Put Away All Heat Appliances
Once you put away any hair heat appliances including flat irons, blow dryers, hooded dryers, curling irons and curling wands, it will prevent you from being tempted to straighten your hair. Think about that popular saying, “out of sight, out of mind” while doing this.
Embrace Air Drying
With us being pretty much in the full summer season, this should be easy and your hair should dry fairly quickly with the temperatures being so hot outside right now. During the wintertime this hard to do though. I would not recommend anyone going outside with wet hair during the winter to prevent catching colds or becoming sick during the cold months. Wash and Go’s are great for air drying during the summer. I often do curly hairstyles at night and let them set overnight under my scarf and bonnet so it will be completely dry that next morning instead of using a blow dryer to set my styles.
Keep Your Ends Trimmed
This is so important whether you use heat in your hair or not, & whether you’re natural or not. I can admit when I first went the natural route, I did not stay up on keeping my ends healthy by doing regular trims. Now I don’t have a set schedule for trimming my ends as I should start doing, I often eyeball them. During the beginning of my journey, my ends were already chemically damaged, after a while they quickly became heat damaged since these are the oldest parts of your hair, they will experience the most damage compared to your hair at the roots of your head. If your ends are not naturally curling on their own when you apply water to them, then they are damaged and need to be cut off. Don’t worry about your length either as well. You should prefer healthy hair over long hair lengths. Also your hair tends to grow faster and longer after each cut, and it doesn’t take that long for your hair to grow back once it has been trimmed.
Wide Tooth Comb > Small Tooth Comb
Most of my damage was done with heat, but I also had a lot of breakage from using the wrong combs. Natural hair is very thick and curly, often so much that a regular comb can not go through it. You must invest in a wide tooth comb, or use the finger method when dividing your hair.
Hair Rollers Are Your Best friend
Any type of hair rollers will become your best friend. My go to rollers would be flexi rods, but I have also used perm rods and regular small rollers to curl the ends of my twist outs and flat twists. The rollers will only low manipulation to your ends while keeping your natural hair styled.
Protective styling including braids, twists, and wigs are great for maintaining length while you eliminate hair heat. Very ideal for the summer time temperatures, and the harsh wintertime temperatures. Once you wash and condition, along with trimming, go ahead and do a protective style. By the time you take that one style out in the following weeks, your length will already be back longer than it originally was before. Protective styling also leads to less hair breakage which improves hair length retention.
I encourage all natural ladies to embrace their curls for an extended amount of time. This challenge enabled me to fall in love with my hair all over again. I have been able to really accept my own natural hair state more now than ever. If you have decided to take on this exciting new hair challenge, we would love to read or see your updates by commenting in our comment section below. Of you can tag us in your photos on Instagram by using @delux_hair or hashtag #delux_hair in your captions! I am currently at month 10, August 01, 2017 would be the start of month 12 for me. Another update will be posted in August to show my progress over time.