The Impact of Heat Styling on Hair Health

The Impact of Heat Styling on Hair Health

Heat styling: many of us have mixed emotions about it. It helps achieve our desired style without the salon visit. On the other hand, it’s the reason for your hair’s heat damage. We want you to have it all: Beautiful, healthy hair styled how you want. That’s why we’re sharing how you can heat style without causing unnecessary damage.

How Does Heat Styling Damage Hair?

How exactly does heat damage hair? Exposure to high heat (temperatures over 300°F) permanently alter the shape of your hair’s keratin strands, converting ⍺-keratin to β-keratin. Over time, hair loses its elasticity, becoming weaker and damaged.

Here, eight ways heat styling can damage hair.

Dryness & Dullness

Your cuticles are responsible when hair looks healthy and shiny. The outermost layer of your hair, when cuticles are healthy and intact, they give hair its shine. But when there is hair cuticle damage, tresses can appear dull. That’s why one of the first signs of heat damage is dull hair. After washing with a sulfate-free, damage repair shampoo, your hair should look shinier. In fact, after just one use of Brazilian Joia(TM) Shampoo & Conditioner Set, 91% agreed hair looks shiny.

Another sign of heat damage is dryness. Damaged hair doesn’t properly maintain moisture, leaving strands dehydrated and prone to breakage.

Split Ends

Speaking of moisture, when hair is dehydrated, it becomes stiffer and more difficult to manage. When you apply heat on a regular basis, it affects the hair’s ability to retain moisture. This often leads to split ends—aka when hair frays at the ends. While they are more common at the ends, fraying can happen anywhere along the hair shaft.

There are numerous types of split ends, but a basic split is the most common. It’s when a single strand divides into two. It’s often caused by dryness, strain, or friction. A multiple split is when the hair begins to resemble tree branches. One side of the shaft has been damaged more than the other. A cuticle split is when part of the cuticle disappears at the end, but the cortex remains intact.


Split ends can cause major breakage. Once the hair splits, its structure is weaker. And, exposure to high heat robs hair of its elasticity, making it more susceptible to breakage. If you have ever had little hairs that stick straight up, they're likely the remains of strands that have broken off due to heat damage to hair.

Breakage can happen whether hair is wet or dry. And if it has become tangled, your hair may break as you work through pesky knots. If you want to test your hair for breakage, try pulling on one strand. Healthy hair will have some stretch. If the strand doesn't stretch and immediately breaks, that’s a sign of damage.


If you’ve ever planned a sleek hairstyle only to be met with short hair strands that will not lie down, then you know the struggle of flyaways. What you may not know is that they’re often a sign of damaged hair.

Hot tools, especially at high temperatures, strip moisture from your strands. This leaves your cuticles open to breakage and prevents your hair from lying flat. The result is difficult-to-tame flyaways.

Changed Texture

Another way heat styling can damage your hair is by altering its texture. The best way to determine if your texture has changed is to run your fingers through it. Heat damage can make curly hair lose its bounce, or maybe your strands have gone from feeling silky-smooth to rough or coarse. The ends may even appear frayed or singed––lacking luster and the bounce back of healthy hair.

Knots & Tangles

The cuticle is made up of overlapping layers called shingles. In healthy and well-nourished hair, all the shingles lie flat together. However, once hair cuticles become damaged, the shingles begin to stick out, causing knots to form. Tangles make brushing and combing your hair a (sometimes painful) challenge. They can also lead to even more damage.

Faded Hair Color

With heat damage on hair, color may fade faster than expected. One reason is that heat-damaged hair can't properly retain it. Because of its high porosity, hair might release more color on wash days. On the other hand, your hair could become too porous and absorb more dye than it needs. This will cause it to turn out darker than you intended.

Hair Loss

Ultimately, heat damage can lead to hair loss. Once strands are weakened, they are more vulnerable to breaking when brushing or shampooing. A breakdown in bonds—fats, oils, water, and protein—that make up each strand can cause loss of protein. While some breakage is normal— you lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day––breakage due to heat damage is often much more excessive.

Steps To Prevent Heat Damaged Hair

Now that you know how heat can damage hair, let's talk products and tips that can keep it from happening.

Use Heat Protectant

Heat protectants protect the outermost layers of your hair and can help minimize the effects of heat damage while locking moisture in. If you’re planning to style your hair with a hot tool, a heat protectant before styling is a must.

Brazilian Joia ™ Milky Leave-In Conditioner is a versatile spray that detangles, fights frizz, repairs split ends, and protects against heat damage. With up to 450° heat protection, it leaves hair healthy looking, silky-soft, and deliciously scented. Plus, it's designed for all hair types and textures. While hair is still damp, spray from mid-length to ends. Then proceed with heat styling. Make sure to start with this one if you’re using it with other styling products.

Lower The Temperature of Tools

Caution! Hot! You actually don’t need as much heat as you might think. Many people damage their hair with too-high heat settings on their curling tool and flatirons. We suggest starting with the lowest setting and slowly increasing as necessary. If hair is fine, stick to the lowest setting possible as it may be more prone to damage.

Style Without Heat

If your hair routine includes heat styling, it may be hard to completely give it up. So, start small. Try reducing heat styling to once or twice a week. Need inspo for how to style your hair without it? We’ve got you covered.

Keep Hair Healthy

Healthy hair is much more likely to withstand heat than damaged or brittle hair. Be sure to nourish your hair from the inside out. Start by eating well, staying hydrated, and taking the proper supplements. You’ll also want to add the right shampoo and conditioner combo to your routine—one that specifically repairs damage and prevents future damage. Ours goes even further by addressing bonding, as well. Make sure to apply hair masks as they’re designed to repair breakage. Leave on our Triple Brazilian Butter(TM) Hair Repair Treatment for just ten minutes to intensley nourish strands and mend up to 9^ of split ends.*