You may never be fully dressed without a smile -- and the same goes for great hair. Beautiful tresses are a powerful thing for women, and many of us turn to blow-dryers, straighteners and curling irons every day as the path to a polished look.
However, these hot styling tools can damage healthy hair if they’re used too often. Break out of your heat haze, find your new go-to ‘do (no matter your hair type) and commence a little mane damage control to keep your lovely strands, well…lovely! Here’s how to style hair without heat.
Hair Solutions: Braids, Buns, “Born” (a.k.a. Natural)
Always look to the three B’s: Braids. Buns. Born (and by “born,” we mean natural):
- Braids: The braid is the new black, figuratively speaking. This ever-versatile style lends a certain boho-chicness to an ensemble, plus it requires little to no effort (and especially no heat!) and can be worn in a variety of ways. Try a messy side braid for a casual look, a crown of plaits for an über-romantic vibe, or a partial side-swept version to tame unruly bangs.
- Buns: Be it a low chignon or a high topknot, buns are the instant-chic answer to the persistent “what to do with my hair” question. This style beautifully transitions from office to happy hour, is flattering for every hair type, and, to top it off, works best with locks that have a little texture on them (read: not freshly washed or styled). Try gently teasing a high ponytail before twisting your hair up and bobby-pinning it for a fuller look that is special-event worthy without doing any damage.
- Born: Many women have a bad habit of wanting what they don’t have, especially when it comes to hair. Instead of using heat tools to force your hair to do what it doesn’t do naturally, embrace what Mother Nature gave you -- with a little help from styling products.
“Air-drying, especially if your texture is curly or wavy, is a great way to style without heat,” says Luca Blandi, senior stylist at the Oscar Blandi salon in Manhattan. “A little extra conditioner after a shampoo will make it beautiful.”
Vaso Spirou, owner of Salon Vaso in Miami Beach, Fl., and her team at the salon agree: “Depending on the event -- work or play -- a simple styling product to add wave and movement is all you need for beautiful hair without the heat.”
Undo the Damage
How much heat is too much? Spirou recommends turning to heat styling tools no more than once a week. “Especially in sunny climates, you really want to limit your use to keep your hair healthy. Use an at-home deep conditioning treatment to recharge your strands and bring them back to health.” To get the most out of a conditioning hair mask, cover your strands with the mask, then cover with a shower cap and let your body heat do the work while you do chores for half an hour.
You can also make the styles you achieve with heated tools last longer between washes, says Blandi. Sprinkle your roots with a dry shampoo to keep your hair looking fresh. And, of course, never underestimate the power of a trim. Since your tips show the most wear-and-tear, snipping them off every few months will keep your tresses fresh and healthy.
Use Heat Wisely
When you do use curling irons and straighteners, “look for tools with ionic capabilities and titanium plates, which are less damaging,” says Spirou. Good tools should also have temperature-control options so you can keep the heat on the lowest setting. Lastly, don’t forget to reach for hair prep before heating things up. “A heat-protecting treatment or spray before styling will shield your hair and make it less vulnerable to damage,” says Blandi.