Deidre DeFelice, director of operations at The Blowout Co., lends her expert advice on keeping hair protected from the heat of styling tools.
HealthScope®: What are some of your top tips for guarding hair from heat damage when using hot tools such as flat irons, curling irons, or blow-dryers?
Deidre DeFelice: I always tell my clients if they had to choose only one product to use, get a heat protectant. It should be sprayed on when your hair is wet, before you use any hot tools. If you insist upon using a flat iron after blow-drying, you should be using a light heat protectant spray on each dry section before each swipe of the flat iron. Also, using a deep conditioner every week or two will help strengthen your hair, leaving it less susceptible to heat damage.
Look for tools that have customizable heat settings. These days, on and off aren’t the only options if you buy a good flat iron or curling iron. Temperature choices can range from 175 degrees to around 400 degrees.
HS: Is there a product you recommend for keeping hair healthy and protected? Do you prefer a spray or a serum?
DD: A spray tends to work better as an all-over heat protectant because of the way it’s dispersed. People with coarse or curly hair could also use a couple of pumps of an oil, working it into their ends first and then about halfway up the hair shaft. A great product for all hair types would be the Davines Oi All in One Milk. This spray not only protects your hair from the heat, but also detangles and moisturizes. If you want strictly heat protectant, either for wet hair before blow-drying or dry hair before using a hot tool, I recommend the Kevin Murphy Damage.Manager. This spray is super lightweight and protects hair from temperatures up to 428 degrees.
HS: Speaking of 428 degrees, what temperature do you recommend people set their flat iron or curling iron to?
DD: The recommended temperature depends on the texture and condition of the hair. Strong and healthy hair with a medium to coarse texture could use up to 400 degrees, but damaged, over-processed hair with a finer texture is going to be a little more fragile, so I wouldn’t go over 350-370 degrees (with a heat protectant only of course!).
HS: What are some common mistakes that can lead to damaged hair when using hot tools?
DD: You should not be using any hot tool on your hair every single day. Not even a blow-dryer. Washing your hair less is the best way to avoid damage. When using a hot tool at home, don’t leave it on the hair for too long. Always keep it moving!
HS: What advice do you have for those who are afraid to try a blowout because they don’t want heat damage?
DD: It’s actually a professional blowout that keeps you from acquiring heat damage. A professional can style your hair smooth and bouncy with just a round brush and blow-dryer, while you would typically have to double up with a curling iron or flat iron to achieve that look at home. Plus, you get much more longevity out of the style. For instance, at The Blowout Co., we’re able to teach you how to make your style last and can help you start training your hair to produce less oil, resulting in fewer washes!
Don’t hold your blow-dryer too close to your head. Keep it at least 8 inches away to reduce the potential for heat damage.