How I Dealt With My Heat Damage

Hair

When I decided to embrace my natural curly hair about a year ago, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. For one, I couldn’t picture myself with crazy, unruly hair at the office. Although I worked for a non-profit at the time and the environment was super chill (I got to wear jeans and sneakers to work haha), I worked in a corporate building and I would often get the side eye when I dressed down for work.

But what I didn’t realize at the time was that crazy and unruly hair was something I wouldn’t even experience for several more months. When I first laid off the heat my hair was straight and stringy. Leaving my hair in its natural state was unthinkable (I tried it several times and failed miserably), so I turned to pony tails and soon after sock buns became my best friend.

Alicia Manzano | Heat Damage Journey

Alicia Manzano | Heat Damage Journey

 

Then I discovered curl formers and flex rods and I loved my curl length and pattern. But it just took me a ridiculous amount of time to achieve and it would only last 2 days at most because I didn’t use a heavy holding gel or any spray. I like my curls soft and bouncy.

Alicia Manzano | Heat Damage Journey

Alicia Manzano | Heat Damage Journey

What I did know for certain was that I didn’t want to do a big chop. And I avoided trimming my hair for as long as possible. After all, when I applied heat daily to my hair, my only goal was to achieve long length. So saying goodbye to my long locks was a tear filled event that didn’t happen until 6 months into my journey. And when I finally did cut my hair, it wasn’t short enough for me to consider it a “big chop”.

Alicia Manzano | Heat Damage Journey

Since then I have been trimming my ends every 2-3 months, maintaing a length that I consider awkward but still suitable for my chunky, round face. And I’ll admit that now I’m eager to trim my hair because I know I’m closer to my goal. My hair is much easier to manage and maintain at this length now so I’m glad I eventually decided to get rid of some of the dead hair. My biggest issue now has been finding hairstyles that don’t showcase my different curl patterns during my transition. I’ve tried bantu knots, three strand twists, and braids to name a few. But once I discovered two strand twists, I haven’t deviated because they are just so easy!

Alicia Manzano | Heat Damage Journey

I still have a long way to go (about a year), before getting rid of all the heat damaged hair. But I find that the journey isn’t as long or torturous when I remind myself how far I’ve come and where I want to be. Looking back at pictures of my hair in the beginning and middle of my journey and looking at my hair now is a huge motivator. And following other curly girls and living vicariously through their luscious locks also helps me see the light shining bright at the end of the tunnel.

So if you’re trying to get through the awkward transitioning stage, hang in there girl! I know how you feel because I was there too. In fact, I’m still there! My heat damage began at the roots and 365 days of no heat has made a world of a difference. So keep pushing and remember to:

  • deep condition your hair as often as possible
  • up-do’s and protective hairstyles are your best friend
  • if you don’t want to do a big chop, trim your hair little by little as often as you can bear it
  • keep your locks moisturized
  • stay away from heat!!
  • and most importantly, be patient and try to enjoy your journey (Rome wasn’t built in a day!)

 

 

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    […] apply any heat (although I had a slight relapse in September but I totally regret it). I began my recovery from heat damage about two years ago and it feels like a lifetime ago. But I remember the very first products I […]

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