Caring for natural hair is pretty straight forward. Wash. Condition. Moisturize. The added use of heat factors in an element of extra care, unless you have unicorn strands — which some of us do. With ever growing stashes, it’s a good idea to have products which are multi-purpose.
Not all leave-ins cater to the use of heat and can be detrimental to the health of your hair when heat is applied in conjunction. In general, when using heat, there are ingredients which have been scientifically proven to strengthen and/or increase your hair’s tolerance (nothing can prevent heat damage) and help even out distribution of high temperatures, reducing the possibility of scorched strands.
Look for these ingredients which increases hair’s tolerance to heat
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein – is well hailed for its strengthening properties. Penetrating the cortex, it provides replenishment by adding Cystine to hair weakened by chemical treatments and regular hair maintenance. This makes it an ideal choice for hair waving systems, post-perm conditioners and products for damaged hair.
- Cyclomethicone – when applied to the skin and hair, it gives a silky & slippery feeling to the touch and acts a mild water repellent by forming a protective barrier on the skin. It can also fill in fine lines/wrinkles, giving the face a temporary “plump” look.
- Dimethicone – one of the most widely used ingredients in cosmetics, dimethicone works as an anti-foaming agent, skin protectant and skin & hair conditioner- it prevents water loss by forming a hydrating barrier on the skin. Like most silicones, this ingredient has a unique fluidity that makes it easily spreadable.
- Glycerin – is an alcohol and is soluble in water and also in other alcohols. It is insoluble in oils, but is able to dissolve many oils and can be used as an emulsifier for adding oils into a formulation. It is a highly effective moisturizer and humectant for skin and hair. Its thick viscosity and high boiling point are what make it an effective curl-definer and frizz minimizer (in the right climate).
- Propylene Glycol – a petroleum derivative produced by propylene oxide hydration, is a versatile ingredient used in moisturizers, skin conditioning agent, carrier in fragrance oils, solvent and viscosity decreasing agent.
Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Nourishing & Conditioning Refresher Spray ($15)
Key ingredient: Dimethione, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Shea Radiance Moisturizing Hair Milk ($16)
Key ingredient: Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Mane n’ Tail Hairdressing Cream ($7)
Key ingredient: Dimethicone
Matrix Biolage Hydra-Seal Leave-in Cream ($15)
Key ingredient: Dimethicone, Propylene Gylcol
ApHogee Curlific Moisture Rich Leave-in Conditioner ($11)
Key ingredient: Dimethicone
Curls Unleashed No Boundaries Leave-in Conditioner ($10)
Key ingredient: Cyclomethicone
Miracle 7 Leave-In Conditioner ($20)
Key ingredient: Propeylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone
Mizani True Textures Moisture Stretch ($12)
Key ingredient: Glycerin
How to apply leave-ins for use with heat
When using heat, it is best that the surface of your hair contains the least amount of product. To do this, you must ensure that your hair is properly moisturized from within by way of the deep conditioning process. Follow with use of a leave in/heat protectant, sparingly on wet hair. Allowing your hair to mostly air dry before introducing heat is best practice and is another measure in reducing heat damage.
*Though most ingredients listed are not natural or Curly Girl Friendly, consider where they appear in the list of ingredients and how often you use before denouncing their use.
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