6 Best Ways to Avoid Heat Damaged Hair (VIDEO)

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Video Transcript:

Hi guys, I’m Keonna from Indara Naturals and in this video I’m going to give you my best tips and tricks for avoiding heat damaged hair.

You can see here I’ve already washed my hair with the Ayurvedic Clay Mask and the Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner. I blow dried my hair, and now I’m ready to flat iron.

#1 Use a Heat Protectant

The first tip is that you should always use a heat protectant. You don’t want to use too much because the heat protectants can have an oily consistency.

They can weigh your hair down and make your final results feel heavy and stiff if you go overboard. We don’t want that, but you do want to make sure that your hair is coated lightly before you use any heat.

I applied the heat protectant before I blow dried, so I’m not going to apply it again before I flat iron.

I took out my braid combed through a little bit to make sure it’s all nice and detangled. Then I’m going to section my hair and clip it up and start the flat ironing process.

Before we move on to the next tip, another thing to note about heat protectants is that they are made from various types of silicone.

When you wash your hair after you’ve straightened it, you need to make sure you’re using a clarifying shampoo to get those silicones out of your hair.

When I wash my hair again I’m going to use a clarifying shampoo, then the clay mask, then the deep conditioner, and then the leave in conditioner to style.

#2 Don't Use Too Much Heat

Tip #2 is to make sure that you don’t turn your flat iron up past 400 degrees. A lot of us think that because our hair is thick or coarse or kinky, we need to have our flat iron turned up to the max.

That is just not true. You can get good flat iron results with 400 degrees or less, no matter what your hair type is.

I always flat iron my hair between 375 degrees and about 390 degrees. I try not to go all the way up to 400.

I used one of those people who thought that my hair was so coarse that I always needed to flat iron my hair on 450. But no, you will give yourself heat damage that way and you’ll end up having to cut off all your progress.

Now the trick to being able to flat iron your hair on a lower heat setting is that your hair needs to be in good condition.

So if you’re using your clay mask regularly, you’re deep conditioning regularly, and your hair is nice and hydrated and moisturized – you will not need to turn your flat iron up to 450 degrees to get nice sleek, straight results. 

Flat ironing your hair at a high temperature is pretty much asking for heat damaged hair and split ends.

Another thing you want to stay away from is using a flat iron that does not have an actual temperature reading.

You need to use a flat iron that has either a digital display or a dial that shows you the numbers, not just high or low, so that you know within a few degrees how hot your flat iron is getting and exactly how much heat you’re putting on your hair.

A Marcel iron where you go to the salon and they just put the iron the little oven and then use it on your hair, or a hot comb that you just put over an open flame – those are really damaging for our hair. You don’t know what the temperature is, it’s not regulated, and those irons get extremely hot – like 500 degrees or better.

Yes your results come out straight and shiny, but when you wash your hair your curls are going to be gone. So please don’t feel like you need extreme heat to get your hair straight. Your hair should not be smoking when you straighten it.

This is also why it’s really important that if you’re going to a salon to get your hair pressed, you need to find out beforehand what kind of iron they’re using, what their philosophy is on heat use and heat damage, and if you can, you want to watch them straighten somebody else’s hair first.

A lot of stylists now have videos on social media that you can watch to get an idea of the techniques they use, or you can ask for a consultation before you schedule your appointment.

There are many stylists out there who will fry your hair to death in order to get that nice silk press, and then you end up having your hair ruined. So make sure that you’re doing your research before you decide on which stylist to go with.

Another note on this same point about heat and temperature – you do want to be careful about how much heat you’re using with your blow dryer and your flat iron combined.

When I blow dry my hair, you can see that it’s not blow dried completely straight. My blow dryer has a cool setting, low, and high – so I blow dry on low heat with a comb attachment. 

Now, you can blow dry your hair on high heat if you want, and you can use a Denman brush or a paddle brush to get your hair pretty straight with just the blow dryer.

Don’t use a round brush because those can be really damaging, but a paddle brush or Denman is fine.

The problem is that a lot of people and a lot of hair stylists will blow dry their clients hair on very high heat with a paddle brush or a round brush and get it almost bone straight.

Then they go back over it with a very hot flat iron or hot comb to get it even straighter and then that’s their silk press. And again, that will get your hair very straight, but it’s also very damaging.

So if hair length and hair health are important to you, then all this excessive heat use is something that you really should avoid.

If you do choose to blow dry your hair straight, like bone straight with high heat, then you don’t need to follow that up with a flat iron.

You can do a roller set and get the same effect, or you can blow dry your hair on lower heat and then use the flat iron to straighten it.

But using a very hot blow dryer and then a very hot flat iron is a bad combination. Pick one source of high heat to try to minimize how much heat you’re exposing your hair to in one sitting.

#3 Ensure that your hair is properly hydrated

Tip # 3 is you want to make sure that your hair is in good condition – you want to make sure that you have a good baseline for flat ironing your hair. Your hair needs to be clean and free from product buildup before you straighten.

You also want to make sure that you deep condition your hair right before straightening because the heat will suck some of the moisture out of your hair.

And then if your hair is damaged – if it’s breaking, shedding, or feels very dry – you want to focus on correcting those issues before you start adding any heat to your hair, especially high heat because that’s just going to make your issues worse.

Make sure your hair is hydrated and don’t try to straighten it when it’s in a damaged state.

#4 Flat Iron each section only once

Tip #4 is you need to use one pass with the flat iron. When I say one pass, you’ll notice in the video I’m taking the flat iron, I’m running it down the length of my hair one time, then I’m using the Denman brush to smooth out my ends before flat ironing the bottom portion.

What I’m not doing is taking a piece of hair and flat ironing it over and over and over again. The more heat you’re applying, again the more likely you are to have heat damage. You need to be able to just run the flat iron over your hair once and that’s it.

If you find that you can’t get your hair straight with just one pass, then you need to go back to deep conditioning regularly, getting your hair into a hydrated state, and making sure that you don’t have any product buildup before you straighten.

Also if you’re having trouble getting your hair straight with one pass of the flat iron, you do want to make sure that you’re using a good quality flat iron as well.

You can use ceramic or tourmaline ceramic - there are a lot of different options out there. You just want to make sure it’s made out of a good material that conducts heat evenly over your hair, and that will help prevent damage.

It will also help prevent you from having to use excessive heat to get a good result.

#5 Use heat free curling methods 

Tip #5 is don’t curl your hair with a curling iron or with the flat iron after you straighten it. You’re just adding more unnecessary heat to your hair.

Like we’ve already said we want to minimize the amount of heat that our hair is exposed to in one sitting.

So if you blow dry your hair on high heat, then flat iron on high heat, and then you take the flat iron at 450 degrees and curl your hair – you certainly can’t be surprised if your hair is damaged right?

So what I do is I flat iron my hair and then if I want curls, I use rollers, or flexi rods, or even bantu knots overnight to curl my hair. For more info on heat free curling methods click here.

Now I normally straighten my hair myself at home, but even if I go to a salon I always specify that I want to leave with my hair straight. I don’t want them to curl it. I’ll curl it myself when I get home.

I just let them straighten it and then I go home and put my rollers or flexi rods in because I don’t want that extra heat on my hair.

I actually have a whole checklist of things I talk to my stylist about before I’ll let them touch my hair. I could make a whole video about that, so if you guys think that would help you let me know and I’ll make a video for you. You can also read more in my blog post on how to find a natural hair stylist.

#6 Don't flat iron too frequently

Lastly tip #6 is don’t use heat on your hair too often. We’ve already talked about not using too much heat in one session, but you also don’t want to use heat on your hair too frequently.

I personally only straighten my hair once or twice a year if that. If you want to do it once a quarter, that’s probably fine. Everybody’s hair is different. But you shouldn’t be flat ironing your hair every week or every two weeks.

And once your hair is straightened, you don’t want to keep going back every few days to touch it up.

For more information on how often to flat iron check out my blog post on how often to flat iron natural hair.


Alright, so those are my best tips for avoiding heat damaged hair. I hope you found them helpful.

You can see we’ve skipped ahead to the end here, so you can see is my straightened hair.

Blow drying took me about 40 minutes, and that was starting with soaking wet hair. As soon as I rinsed out my deep conditioner I went right into blow drying. And then flat ironing took an hour and a half.

And here you can see the length of my hair from the back.

So, as always if you have any questions you can email me at contact@indaranaturals.com and I will make sure you get an answer.

Also, if you’re not already on my email list, make sure you sign up for weekly hair care tips and more videos like this one.

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