I get this question frequently. A client has natural hair, they don’t want a relaxer…but they want their hair to be straight. They want to find a holistic way to straighten their hair, something without chemicals. I fully understand this quest, and would love to find or create the product that would do this without any possibility of damaging the hair. So far neither has happened (at least not to my satisfaction or knowledge).
What’s the alternative? Well, the only thing I can do is press the hair. Of course the next question is…is it too much heat? Certainly there is a such thing as too much heat, but if you ensure that your hair is properly conditioned and use a protectant before you press the hair you will most certainly limit any damage to the cuticle. Also, let me say this and there’s no good way to say it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, meaning you can’t be natural, want straight hair and not use any heat. If you have overly curly hair, natural hair, or as some would call it nappy hair and you DON”T want to get a relaxer then you must add heat. It’s just that simple.
Keep in mind if you like to wear your hair in natural styles with your natural curl pattern showing. IF you press your hair very often, your natural curls will be altered as the hair becomes trained to the press…meaning you will have less curl, or straighter hair, even when you shampoo it. Is that good for your hair? Probably not…for those like me who like straight hair, it doesn’t bother me as long as my hair isn’t coming out.
Of course there will be those who will disagree with the above statement, but I’m OK with it. As my father would say “there’s a lid for every pot”, my lid just happens to prefer my straight hair.
I’m not saying go crazy with pressing and flat ironing your hair. There’s a limit to everything. In fact, I do not recommend you applying heat to your hair except for when you initially press and style your hair. After that you should wrap it and tie it up with a silk scarf and let the hair naturally fall. Your pressed style should last for 2 weeks if properly cared for (or if it’s not too humid).
So the answer to the question is heat CAN damage your hair, but YOU have to control the amount of heat you put on your hair.
Hope this helps! I invite your questions or comments.