You likely know that daily heat styling isn't recommended. How often you can safely straighten your natural hair depends on the condition that your hair is in. If your mane is in any way dry, under-conditioned, damaged, or in any other less-than-healthy state, straightening very often will likely make things worse. A good rule of thumb is to consider what your hair has been through—if it's been colored, or chemically straightened recently, it's advisable not to heat style it for a couple of weeks at least. If, on the other hand, you're good about keeping your hair protected, you can work out a flat iron schedule for you.
It's generally suggested that heat styling be done not more than once a week. Natural hair should always be freshly shampooed, conditioned, and completely dry before heat styling. Straightening dirty hair with a flat iron will only burn oil and dirt, which will lead to more damage. Even on a once-per-week regimen, you'll need to consistently keep track of your hair's health. It's the best way to ensure you're not getting a lot of split ends, and that your curls don't become excessively dry or brittle.
If you haven't been using a flat iron with adjustable temperature controls, get your hands on one before the next time you intend to straighten your hair. Without being able to control how hot your straightener is, you won't be able to adjust the heat according to your hair's specific needs. Using too-high heat, even just once a week will still lead to dryness and damage if your hair is thin.
Of course, life doesn't tend to run like clockwork, so you probably won't have an exact weekly straightening schedule. In order to minimize heat damage as much as possible, give your tresses periodic rests from any heat styling; Going a few weeks without heat can do a lot to your hair. You could rather substitute them with styles that allow your hair to fully recover from the effects of heat. Some may find straightening once a month a better option for their hair, while some may prefer straightening their hair every week, especially over the weekends when they want to head for a party with silky smooth locks. It is really important for one to understand their hair type and decide which styling regime suits their hair the most.
No matter how often you heat style, regular deep conditioning is a must to prevent dryness, and you should be using protein treatments or home-made hair masks to strengthen your locks. Learning how to balance the moisture and protein levels in your hair will help you keep it strong and hydrated; healthy hair is much less likely to suffer damage and breakage from constant heat styling.
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