Direct Heat versus Indirect Heat: Which is Best for Your Hair Health?

When many people think of heat damage, they are only considering one kind of heat damage- which is from flat ironing and blow drying hair, however, there is another kind of way where hair can suffer from heat damage, which brings us to the topic of "direct" and "indirect" heat damage.

Direct Heat

Direct heat is the most common and discussed type of heat damage. I'm sure many of you can figure out which is considered direct heat without me even writing the list of direct heat, however I will still put the list of where direct heat comes from:
  • Flat-ironing
  • Blow drying (no diffuser) 
  • Curling iron
  • Hot comb
  • Wand
Basically, any hair styling tool that involves heat directly touching or coming in contact with the hair is considered "direct heat." They create an irreversible damage to hair that can be repaired for a time, but will still eventually need to be removed (trimmed/chopped off). 

You should try to refrain from having direct heat on your hair, limiting usage of these products to a few (3 or less) times per month as well as using them on their lowest heat setting. Also, remember to always use heat protectants on hair if you are going to be putting your hair under the duress of direct heat. 

Indirect Heat

Indirect heat comes from tools that do not directly touch the hair, but the heat is still present enough to damage the hair. Things like:
  • Hooded Dryers
  • Hair Steamers (that do not touch the hair)
  • Heating caps

However, in the case of indirect hair, the heat damage is far less than direct heat and often has the benefit of increasing moisture in hair and helping hair retain moisture. 

While indirect heat can benefit the hair, it is still heat on the hair and over-using of these tools can cause damage to hair as well. When using the tools, try to use them on the lowest setting possible, following all directions of the tool and refraining from over-using.
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