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Hair Care

How to Prevent Heat Damage When Pressing Your Child’s Natural Hair

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Most parents can think back to their childhood days when their mother used to press their hair. There was nothing quite like the smell of burning hair flowing through the house.

Learning how to properly straighten your child’s hair is essential to keeping their hair healthy and preventing heat damage, and breakage. Heat can take a head full of beautiful curls and coils and completely destroy it in one pass of the pressing iron. Once heat has damaged your child’s hair, there is nothing you can do to repair it. There is no amount of product or revitalizing serum that you can use to get those precious curls back.

Use the following tips to help make sure that your child’s hair is heat protected.

Prep Your Child’s Hair Prior To Pressing It

Your child’s hair is best protected from heat damage when it is properly conditioned with both moisture and protein. Natural hair should always be cleaned and deep conditioned well prior to applying any heat to it. Prepping the hair with a moisturizing deep conditioner prior to using heat is crucial. Moisture increases the amount of heat your child’s hair can tolerate before burning. However, if you poorly moisturize their hair it can heat rapidly and damage more easily.

Apply A Heat Protectant

Parents should always use a heat protectant prior to applying heat to the hair. Not only do they protect against heat damage, but they also reduce hair friction, ensuring that the hair smoothly glides through the pressing iron. Aim for a protectant that will absorb most of the direct heat from your pressing iron, yet still conduct enough heat to temporarily straighten your child’s hair. Silicone based products like Biosilk Fusion, Redken Smooth Down Heat Glide, and Chi Silk Therapy, are great for protecting the hair against heat damage. Silicones work best in absorbing heat and preventing heat damage. Dimethicone is slated to be the lowest conducting silicone (best), followed closely by Cyclomethicone- so look out for these two “cones” in your heat protectant’s ingredient list.

Know your temperatures!

Before you can prevent heat damage, it is best to know how hot is too hot and what temperatures are safe for your child’s hair. Research has found that healthy hair burns at roughly the same temperature as paper which is 233C (451.4F); however, burning or scorching can occur at lower temperatures depending on the health of your child’s hair. Most pressing irons operate in the 100-170C (212-338F) range. Although these temperatures are still well below the burning threshold, the condition of your child’s hair can change your max heat tolerance.

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1 Comment

  1. LaShandra Williams

    January 13, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Hello,

    How can I restore my child’s natural hair from possible heat damage? Any product recommendations or best practices. Future protective styles?

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