Can Protective Styles Help Heat Damaged Hair

In the realm of hairstyles, a lot can go wrong. There are instances where the stylist gets the style completely wrong and cuts your hair far too short. You may color your hair to an unflattering hue. You may even manipulate your hair to the point where breakage starts to happen. But nothing is worse than heat damage. Heat damage can ruin your hair.

Can protective styles help heat damaged hair? They definitely can as they protect your hair and promote future growth. Wash and Go, Bantu Knot Out, Perm Rod Curls, Afros & Puffs, Crochet Braids Curls, Faux Locs, Twist Out, Braid Out, Twin Braids, No Heat Curlformers, Havana Twists, Goddess Braids, and Box Braids are our favorite protective styles for this purpose.

There’s a lot more to it than just picking a style and doing it every day. Heat damage is a serious issue that requires prompt attention. Don’t worry, we’ve discussed the way you can heal your damaged hair thoroughly in this article.

Characteristics Of Heat Damaged Hair

Characteristics Of Heat Damaged Hair

Heat-damaged hair is exactly what it sounds like, it’s hair that has been deformed due to excessive heat. These key characteristics help instantly identify hair that has suffers this fate.

Split ends

This is the most obvious sign. Overheated hair has small tears at ends of the strands. It makes the hair look dry and unhealthy.


Heat turns the outermost layer of hair, cuticles, rough. Damaged cuticles can’t lay flat on the hair shaft and that leads to a puffy untidy look.

Damaged Hairshaft

The hairshaft is not a part of the hair that is instantly visible to a person. Upon closer inspection of heat-damaged hair though, you can see some clearly visible issues such as cracks, splits, and breaks in this region.


Heat causes extreme weakness and makes hair prone to breakage. If your hair is brittle, the slightest bit of manipulation can cause hair loss.

No Shine

Damaged cuticles can’t protect hair or retain any moisture. This rapid loss of moisture causes the hair to lose its sheen.

Aesthetic Downgrade

As the bonds of the hair are damaged, the natural shape of your hair such as curls are destroyed. On top of that, the heat causes low elasticity which also makes it difficult to style your hair as you like.

How Hair Becomes Heat Damaged

How Hair Becomes Heat Damaged

Hair doesn’t just naturally become overheated. In fact, well-managed hair seldom is. These 3 practices are likely the cause of heat damage.

1. Blow Drying

High temperatures are bad for your hair, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends against exceeding 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of us are too lazy to let our dry, trust us when we say you should use the cool setting or opt for air drying. Hot blow-drying can do some damage. Also, wait until it is at least 75% dry if you plan to style your hair.

2. Heat Styling

Speaking of styling, the most likely culprits for heat damage are blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons. These tools are a direct cause of dryness, it also instantly leads to breakage if used on wet hair. It even damages the natural patterns of your hair, for example, it can severely impact the curl pattern of curly hair. You are essentially going for short-term beauty in exchange for long-term damage

3. Dirty Hair

Hair must be washed regularly to keep it clean, especially if you are heat-styling it. Dirty hair is difficult to detangle and has a lot of product build-up. In extremely humid weather or just a sunny climate, hair is at risk of overheating due to tangles and unwashed product accumulation. Also, if you take cold showers, the water has a cooling effect on the hair.

Can Heat Damage Be Repaired?

Can Heat Damage Be Repaired?

Healing heat damage requires time and effort. Especially if you looking to revive curls. Your best bet is to go for these 4 techniques.

Apply Natural Oils

You need to add moisture back to my hair. Oils allow you to do that quickly. Coconut oil is a good option as it gives the hair a lot of nutrients as well.

Deep Conditioner

It is one of the best ways to add moisture. It may be an intense process but it is necessary to repair the damage to your natural hair.

Hair Serums

Special serums help promote hair growth and remove frizziness. These serums are a bit expensive but healing your hair is going to cost a bit.

No Heat For A While

We strongly suggest against doing any sort of heat styling until your hair completely heals. Otherwise, you may worsen the damage.

How To Prevent Heat Damage On Hair?

How To Prevent Heat Damage On Hair?

The best cure for any issue is prevention. That’s why a few of these tips are similar to the repairing methods. Make sure you follow them to avoid heat damage.

Avoid Heat Styling

Don’t do it unless you have to. Minimize the frequency of your heat styling sessions. Even when you do, use the lowest setting on your tools.

Use Heat Protectant

If you must heat style, use heat protectant as a protective measure. As the name suggests, it acts as a barrier between your hair and styling tools.

Don’t Over-Manipulate

Hair doesn’t like to be touched, with or without heat. Even if you are not heat styling, try to avoid styling it too often as the constant tugging at the strands may weaken them significantly.

Deep Conditioning

Not only is it great for repair but deep conditioning can also be used for preventing heat damage as well. Paired with hot oil treatments, this can add a lot of moisture to your hair. Well-moisturized hair is less prone to heat damage.

Hair Masks

This can be considered an upgrade on the deep conditioner. It is thicker and needs to be left on for a longer amount of time but the results are worth the effort and wait. Your hair will be rejuvenated.

Cut Down On Shampooing

Over-shampooing strips natural oils from your hair and hence weakens the hair’s defenses. Also, use lukewarm or cold water whenever you do wash your hair.

Don’t Be Afraid To Trim

Hair grows back stronger and healthier if well maintained. So, you may benefit from regularly visiting the salon.

Only The Best Products For Your Hair

Always look for healthy natural moisturizing products for your hair. It will keep it hydrated and stop it from becoming dry and brittle. You need to look for ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and argan oil. Avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach and dye.

Feed Your Hair

Your diet plays a key role in providing in enough nutrition to your hair roots for stronger, more robust strands. Drink plenty of water and eat a nutrient-rich healthy diet to keep your hair healthy inside out.

Try Protective Styles

Last but not least, you should opt for one of the many protective styles we’ll cover later in this article. You’ll not only look stylish but you’ll have a few key benefits.

Why Protective Styles Speed Recovery From Heat Damage

Why Protective Styles Speed Recovery From Heat Damage

What makes protective styles so good for heat-damaged hair?  There are 3 benefits you can expect from wearing these styles.

1. Protection From The Environment

A protective style creates a dome that keeps out foreign elements including additional heat. In this done, your hair grows back healthy and strong.

2. Added Moisture

Heat takes away a lot of the moisture present in your hair. Protective styles are excellent at moisture retention. Together with regular care, protective styles make the perfect recipe to getting back your hair’s original shine.

3. Low Tension

Low-tension protective styles exert minimal pressure on hair strands and make them stronger. This reduces breakage greatly.

13 Protective Styles Perfect For Heat-Damaged Hair

Now that you know why protective styles are the way to go if you have heat-damaged hair, here are 13 fashionable protective styles that will help you heal your hair and grab some attention.

1. Wash and Go

Wash and Go

We start off with a style that does not naturally offer much protection. You’re just leaving your hair natural out of the shower, no manipulation of any sort. In fact, it is technically not even a protective style as it doesn’t tuck away the ends. However, you can pair it with head protection like a scarf and it can be considered a protective style.

2. Bantu Knot Out

Bantu Knot Out

We go from super simple to a complicated yet beautiful hairstyle. The bantu knot out is the hairstyle of choice for the Zulu people of South Africa and few styles are able to keep your hair this safe while making you look so good.

3. Perm Rod Curls

Perm Rod Curls

Perm rods are horizontal hair curling tools that can help shape your hair in those famous perms you saw in the 70s. Perm rod curls are a bold yet classic style that isn’t naturally protective but you can accessorize to make it so.

4. Afros & puffs

Afros & puffs

Afros and puffs are a strong part of African heritage. Curly hair, which is common in these regions, often naturally falls into these shapes so you may not even have to work on your hair. They look great the way they are and with a little bit of styling can be made protective.

5. Crochet Braids Curls

Crochet Braids Curls

Braiding your hair is a safe bet if you are looking for maximum protection. Crotchet braids add that extra pizazz to this style to make you look ready for any occasion.

6. Faux Locs

Faux Locs

Faux locs are an ingenious way of minimizing the manipulation of your natural hair using synthetic hair on each strand when braiding. The only drawback is the weight it exerts on your scalp.

7. Twist Out

Twist Out

If you are looking for a style that will get you noticed, look no further. Twist-outs are a loud and fun style that is sure to turn a lot of heads. Just know that not everyone can rock this style.

8. Braid Out

Braid Out

Although it has a similar name to the previous entry, it is in no way as loud or experimental. This is a relatively flat style but what it lacks in attention-grabbing skills, it more than makes up for in classiness and simplicity.

9. Twin Braids

You can’t talk about simplicity and not mention twin braids. Pigtails have been the go-to choice for most schoolgirls because of how easy and safe they are. Anyone looks good in a well-made pair of braids.

10. No Heat Curlformers

No Heat Curlformers

If you don’t have naturally curly hair and want to get those luscious curls, this is a life hack for you. No heat curlformers create curls without the use of any heat, completely protecting your hair from the heat damage usually involved in this process.

11. Havana Twists

Havana Twists

You are going to some fiber extensions for this and you need to wait quite a while at the salon for it as well. However, you will be rewarded for your patience and investment with a style like no other. Havana Twists are a unique and interesting style that will elevate your look instantly.

12. Goddess Braids

Goddess Braids

It’s in the name. Goddess braids are an age-old classic and the braids of choice for so many of your favorite celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Zoe Kravitz, Lisa Bonet, and Tessa Thompson. This is an easy way to impress your dinner guests.

13. Box Braids

Box Braids

We end the list off with a bang. This is easily the most customizable style as box braids encompass a lot of amazing styles. You are free to express your personal style with these braids.


Can you get box braids with heat damaged hair?

It is not recommended to get box braids with heat damaged hair as the braiding process may further weaken and damage the hair strands.

Are braids bad for breakage?

Braids, when done correctly and not too tight, can be a protective hairstyle that helps reduce breakage by minimizing manipulation and friction on the hair.

Is it good to keep hair in braids all the time?

It is not advisable to keep hair in braids all the time as it can lead to tension, traction alopecia, and damage to the hairline. It’s important to give your hair regular breaks and care for it properly.

How do you restore damaged 4C hair?

Restoring damaged 4C hair involves a combination of proper moisturizing, deep conditioning, gentle handling, protective styling, and avoiding heat and chemical treatments. Consistency and patience are key.

How do you fix heat damaged African American hair?

Fixing heat damaged African American hair requires a combination of trimming the damaged ends, deep conditioning treatments, moisturizing, protective styling, and avoiding further heat styling. It’s important to consult a professional stylist for personalized advice.

Is it healthy to braid damp hair?

It is generally not recommended to braid damp hair as it can lead to mildew or fungal growth due to the moisture trapped in the braids. It’s best to ensure your hair is completely dry before braiding.

How do you restore heat damaged hair?

Restoring heat damaged hair involves trimming the damaged ends, deep conditioning treatments, using protein treatments, avoiding heat styling tools, and following a consistent hair care routine that promotes moisture and nourishment.

How can I reverse heat damage naturally?

While it is not possible to reverse heat damage completely, you can help improve the appearance and health of your hair by using natural remedies like deep conditioning treatments, hot oil treatments, and incorporating a healthy diet.

Can you actually repair damaged hair?

While you cannot fully repair damaged hair, you can improve its condition by following a proper hair care routine, using nourishing products, avoiding heat and chemical treatments, and regularly trimming the damaged ends.

Does damaged hair grow back healthy?

Damaged hair cannot grow back healthy, but with proper care and maintenance, new hair growth can be healthier. Trimming the damaged ends regularly promotes the growth of healthier hair.

How to repair damaged African American hair without cutting it?

Repairing damaged African American hair without cutting it can be challenging. However, you can minimize further damage by following a strict hair care routine, deep conditioning regularly, avoiding heat styling, and using protective styles to reduce manipulation.

How do I transition my heat damaged hair to natural?

Transitioning heat damaged hair to natural hair involves gradually growing out the damaged ends while maintaining a consistent hair care routine. This includes deep conditioning, moisturizing, using protective styles, and avoiding heat styling.

How long does it take to repair heat damaged hair?

The time it takes to repair heat damaged hair varies depending on the severity of the damage and how well the hair is cared for. It can take several months to a year or more to see significant improvement.

What does heat damaged hair look like?

Heat damaged hair may appear dry, brittle, and frizzy. It may have split ends, break easily, and lack shine. The hair strands may also lose their natural curl pattern and become straight or wavy in areas.

How do you smooth heat damaged hair?

Smoothing heat damaged hair involves using moisturizing and nourishing hair products, such as leave-in conditioners and serums, to help reduce frizz and improve manageability. Regular deep conditioning treatments can also help restore moisture and softness to the hair.

Let’s Wrap It Up

All in all, heat damage is a devastating experience for anyone who loves their hair. If anything, it should be a lesson in understanding moderation. Heat styling may make you look amazing but if you do it every single day, your hair may be irreparably damaged.

Can protective styles help heat damaged hair? Yes. However, there will come a point where even these styles can’t rejuvenate your locs if you keep exposing your hair to extreme temperatures.

The only real way to treat heat-damaged hair is to significantly limit exposure to heat at all costs and create a strict haircare routine focused on the recovery of the damaged strands. Without maintaining these factors, nothing can make your hair look as good as it used to before.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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