My answer to What are the dangers of using a flat iron on wet hair?
Answer by O. Franklin:
Using a flat iron on wet hair will cause bubble hair. Bubble hair is when the naturally occurring spaces that exist in hair become filled with water, and then heat is applied to the hair. The water in the hair vaporizes, and when it vaporizes it expands and causes hair damage.
The following study explains this very nicely:
“Bubble hair is a sign of thermal injury. Hair dryers operating at 175°C or more can cause bubble hair. The use of hair curling tongs operating at 125°C and applied to the hair for one minute can also induce bubbles in hair fiber. All hair fibers contain air-filled spaces called vacuoles. These spaces can also become filled with water when the hair is wet. Too much heat vaporizes the water in the hair fibre into steam. This vaporization of the water may force the spaces in the hair to expand, eventually turning the hair into a sponge-like structure. These damaged hairs are weak and brittle as the bubbles destroy the integrity of the fiber. Chemical treatment may also precipitate the onset of bubble hair and any already weak hair, whatever the cause, may be more susceptible to bubble development.”
Bubble Hair and Other Acquired Hair Shaft Anomalies due to Hot Ironing on Wet Hair
My low maintenance natural hairstyle
Me pulling some of my hair
My two strand twists
Close up of natural hair with curls defined
Close up of natural hair
After recognizing that I needed to spend more time nurturing my hair from the inside out, I decided that I wanted to care for my hair without heat. I felt that this would be the best way to help my hair recover (see my previous post for details). After a lot of trial and error, I have come up with a low maintenance natural way to care for my hair. Basically I am defining the curls in my hair and wearing my hair in this state in between washes. I like this method because it leaves my hair really soft, and once I do it, all I to do maintain it is tie up my hair at night with a couple of silk scarves. When I get up, I take off the scarves, pull on my hair a little bit to arrange it, and I’m good to go. My favorite hair accessory to wear with this style is a simple fabric headband.
My method is still a work in progress, but what I am doing is the following:
In the shower:
- Shampoo my hair with Northwest Scents™ shampoo.
- Cleanse and detangle with Northwest Scents™ Keratin and Silk Curl Cleansing Cream.
Get out of the shower and apply Northwest Scents™ conditioner liberally to my hair to seal in moisture.
Divide my hair into four sections, braid each section, and let the hair dry.
After my hair has dried then I:
- Unbraid a section of hair.
- Apply Northwest Scents™ hair oil liberally to that section of hair.
- Separate that section of hair into smaller sections.
- On each smaller section I apply additional Northwest Scents™ hair oil, then I apply Northwest Scents™ hair gel. I rake the gel through the hair until it straightens out partially. I then twist the section.
I repeat the above four steps until I have finished all of my hair. Then I let the hair air dry and I take the twists down. I then carefully separate the twists, and I am done.
I have been experimenting with this method for a few months and I like the fact that it keeps my hair soft and it is easy to maintain between washes.
In the photo above, I dampened my fingertips with a teeny bit of water and applied that water to the sections of hair in between applying the oil and the gel (Part B after applying the oil in step 4). What that did was use less gel and create a fluffier hairstyle. When I didn’t apply the teeny bit of water to the sections of hair I got more definition.
The products that I have used are available in a sample kit (it is called the curl defining sample kit) for anyone who wants to try them.
Over the past ten years I have learned a lot about my hair. The main lesson that I have learned is that what you put inside your body is as important as what you put on the outside of your body when it comes to hair care. I learned this lesson the hard way. When you are older and you don’t have as much time to spend on your hair as you did when you were younger (as in my case), it is easy to overlook things that can end up having a detrimental effect on your hair. In my case, I have food sensitivities, and because of that I had eliminated a major source of protein (in the form of yogurt) from my breakfast (I am allergic to milk). I had also eliminated my favorite source of iron (Malt-O-Meal cereal) from my breakfast because of a slight wheat sensitivity. (I’m allergic to dietary wheat, not wheat based products applied to the skin and/or hair). I eliminated these two sources of nutrients, and didn’t replace them adequately, and as a result, my hair suffered. Even though my multivitamin has 100% if the daily RDA of iron for women, this form of iron doesn’t absorb as well as food sources of iron. I know because I can tell the difference in my hair now that I have added a food source of iron back to my diet (see below). Hormonal changes (those that come with age) also affected my hair. It took several years, but even with taking care of my hair on the outside, the elimination of important nutrients affected my hair from the inside. My hair became dry and brittle, and it broke off and thinned. I knew something was going on, but again, being very busy, I didn’t take the time to really look at my hair until the damage was done.
So phase two of my hair journey is the process of me nurturing my hair back to health from the inside out. These are the things that I have started to do to nuture my hair:
- Eat two hardboiled eggs a day (for protein). Based on what I am seeing with my hair I think that the eggs are better than the yogurt I was eating previously. According to Dr. Mercola “Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, fat, and other nutrients, including choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They are so good for you that you can easily eat one dozen eggs per week, which is actually a simple and cost-effective way to add valuable nutrition to your diet.”
- Take 1 tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses a day for iron. According to what I have read, food sources of iron are much safer than supplements. The brand I take is Plantation. Their organic blackstrap molasses is rich in iron, calcium and magnesium. I mix it with almond milk for a beverage, or almond butter for a creamy treat.
- I’ve changed my hair routine to go heatless. I have challenged myself to do my hair without any form of heat. I still believe that pressing hair has its place (see my earlier posts) and I am not against hair pressing as a way to manage natural hair, but I think that it is good to have multiple options when dealing with natural hair, and for my needs at this point in my life I have decided to go without heat. As a result, I am learning to do two strand twists on my hair, and have developed a couple of new products to help with this process (I will talk about my experience doing two strand twists and a twist out in an upcoming post).