Is My Flat Iron Thinning My Hair?

Why is my Hair Getting Thinner?

I try to explain to so many of my clients how important it is to control the temperature of your styling tools. When I have a guest in my chair who has noticeably thin hair, they always want to know how they can fix the problem.

{Side note: there are many causes of hair that is thinning. This post is for those of you who have thin hair because of heat styling}

How can I tell my thinning is from heat styling?

  • Your hair is much thinner toward the bottom of your hair than the top.

  • You have lots of broken and fragile hair around your face, and on the top of your head.

  • You use a blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron, or other heat styling tool on a regular basis.

How does heat styling, thin my hair?

Have you ever burned your skin with your flat iron? If you have, then you know it hurts, and usually takes several day to heal. Have you ever noticed how the burned spot dries up then peels off? Well this is what we are doing to our hair when we use the flat iron. Our hair is already dead when it grows out of our scalp, so when we burn our hair we can’t feel it, obviously. Hair can be fragile, especially fine hair, and it can only withstand so much heat. When we use high temperatures on our strands regularly, our hair is essentially melting off. This is not the hair melt technique that anyone wants!

How do I fix it?

The honest answer is that once hair has been destroyed, it can’t technically be repaired; despite what many product companies like to claim. You can add protein and conditioners to prevent further damage and make the hair feel better, but you cannot actually rebuild the hair! Remember this! The saving grace to this type of thinning is that you are not damaging the hair follicle, which means that the hair growing out of your scalp is healthy! The only way you can eliminate this damage is to cut your hair, and no, I’m not suggesting you shave your head or chop it all off. You do, however, need to start getting regular haircuts so that you can eventually cut off all the damage. Keep in mind it could take months or years to complete this task depending on the severity.

What can I do at home?

  1. Products: As I mentioned above, you can use masks and other products to help prevent further damage. Click here for my recommendations. You absolutely need to be using a protectant any time you heat style. I also recommend doing a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week.

  2. Check the heat temperature on your flat iron. Very thin, fine, or damaged hair: no more than 365 degrees. Fine to medium: no more than 385-400. If you don’t have heat settings, then toss it and buy one that does! And make sure it has real temperature settings and not 1-10.

  3. Find ways to minimize heat styling. Wear your hair up, scrunch it, braid it, use dry shampoo, etc. Anything that will keep the flat iron away from those strands. I would also recommend setting goals such as: instead of using the flat iron every day, only use it every other day. Or commit to taking a heat break on the weekends.

  4. Don’t linger when using a heat styling tool. Don’t make multiple passes on each strand with the flat iron, and only leave your hair in the curling iron for about 3 seconds. Reducing the amount of time your hair comes in contact with any hot tool will reduce the damage caused.

  5. Get a haircut. Most people who have heat styling damage will not be able to cut all of the damaged hair at once, because the majority of the damage will be around the face. You should consider cutting bangs, and getting heavier face framing. The most important thing, though, is getting your hair cut regularly. If you don’t do this, then the above steps aren’t going to matter much.

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