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Ask Kcurly-Breakage and Flat Ironing

by kcurly on July 21, 2011

in Ask Kcurly,Heat Damage,Straight Natural Styling,Tips

An email from SRM:


I love your site!  I am a BC and have been for about two years now.  I flat rion my hair or press and curl it with the comb frequently and am experiencing a lot of shedding.  Mainly short pieces of hair.  I took a break from flat ironing for a few months and did some protien treatment and deep conditioning treatments and my hair felt healthier.

Now I want to wear it straight but have the breakage again and as soon as I walk out side, my hair poofs and reverts very quickly.

Oh, and I workout six days a week, sweating in my scalp often.

Any suggestions?



SRM, thanks for the email. I think you know what needs to happen. Sounds like the flat iron needs to go.

To be clear, if you’re getting a ton of short pieces of hair that do not have a white bulb (hair follicle) on one end, then you are experiencing breakage, not shedding. I hear a lot of people use these terms interchangeably, but it’s important to establish the difference.

Your hair has a natural shedding cycle that it is always going to do. The rate of shed may be increased or decreased by internal factors (ie pregnancy). Breakage is caused by damage or weakness of the hair.

If you want to be sure which is which, examine each hair closely to see what the deal is.

If it were me, I would give up the flat ironing. Especially since you work out so much. I am guessing that “frequently” means every week or more? That’s a lot of heat and a lot of potential damage. I would find that very frustrating: the breakage and the constant flat ironing. Your hair obviously doesn’t like it since it flourished during your break from heat. If you don’t stop completely, at least decrease the frequency with which you flat iron.

If you are still wanting to wear a straighter style, I would suggest trying rollersets on very low heat or air drying. I would also suggest that you leave your hair alone as much as you can. Don’t stop working out because… body /health > hair …any day of the week.

To decrease reversion, perhaps you should try some products that fight humidity. Sabino Moisture Block is highly recommended.  Though I have to admit that these types of products don’t always have the best ingredients.

Also, I don’t know where you live, but in an area of high humidity, you may be better off leaving the straight styles for the fall/winter time when you won’t be battling moisture in the air.

I know this probably isn’t the answer you want to hear, but that’s all I got!

Love, peace, and hair grease!



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  • Sara

    If you like straight, go for some wigs! I have four and love switching up my look without damage to my hair.

  • monniej

    great advice, as usual! i know we want it all, but sometimes you just have to make a choice.

  • kcurly

    Good suggestion, Sara. I turn to wigs to get a straight fix when I have the urge

  • ShaSha

    In my case, I like to switch things up by straightening my hair from time to time as well. I’ve found that deep conditioning my hair every time I wash my hair, blowdrying my sectioned hair using cool air and a paddle brush puts me in a good space to use a flat iron.

    USE A HEAT PROTECTANT before you hit your hair with the flat iron! I use a few drops of grapeseed oil for this, rubbing it between my hands and working it over all of my hair (it has a high smoke point and is good for your hair in general).

    You might want to look at your ironing technique – take small , narrow sections, carefully working from root to tip, passing the iron over each section only once tops. (if your hair is well conditioned that is all you need!)

    Also, does your flat iron have temperature control? You could dial down the heat so your hair won’t get damage.

    Lastly, the weather report is my best friend: if its going to rain or be disgustingly humid, I give my hair a good break and don’t bother with heat at all. For me, these are the times when wet sets or bantu knots are best.

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