Although you may love -- or need -- to use a hair dryer and curling iron on a regular basis, it can cause some serious heat-damage to your hair. You'll know if your hair is in this condition if it continually breaks off, looks frizzy and is generally hard to manage. Should you find your hair in this sad state, you can maintain its health as you grow out the damaged portion, retaining your curls in the process.
Stop With the Heat
The first step in mitigating the damage from excessive heat is to temporarily stop using so much of it. If your hair is naturally curly -- you don't need a curling iron except to accentuate your natural gifts -- stop using one. By preventing further damage to existing hair and new growth, you can add moisture back in daily, without it becoming stripped out immediately when you fire up the iron.
As with any dry part of your body, you'll need to continually apply moisturizing agents to augment the natural oils it produces. Using a quality conditioner daily as your new hair grows back out is a proven way to, not only treat your existing damaged hair, but make new growth that much more supple. Leave-in treatments that sit in your hair during the day without getting washed out are ideal, allowing maximum moisture penetration for hours on end.
Tricks and Tips
The key to how a curling or flat iron works is the heat itself. More heat produces more ability to manipulate the shape and form of your hair. Naturally, the less heat you use for this process the better -- even if your hair really isn't damaged yet. Using heatless curlers and wraps helps form you hair's shape, without breaking out the hot tools to finish the job. Heat damage is cumulative, so the less you use each time the less damage you inflict.
There are products available that shield your hair from the varying degrees of heat you apply. This is not a cure-all however. Using too much of the stuff can make your hair look like you haven't washed it in a week, in addition to attracting more contaminants. Making faster and fewer passes with flat irons, while leaving hot curling irons in for a few seconds less, can help prevent revisiting the issue more often than necessary in the future.