Mane Objective Reader E-Mails: Will My Natural Curl Pattern Ever Return?

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Below is an e-mail inquiry from a Mane Objective reader. Hope this is able to help someone!!!

Hello,

I read your article about heat damaged hair, which some like to refer as "trained" hair but I need some advice...I colored my hair 2 1/2 years ago (beautiful red) and it stripped me of my beautiful natural 3b/3c curly/wavy tresses. In addition, I get my hair professionally styled weekly (i.e.flat ironed). My hair is healthy to say the least but I miss the wash and go look; therefore, I decide I'm doing the big chop over again. I originally chopped off my long (middle of my back) tresses in 2008 so I could start the transition, which was tough but I pulled through...so to do it all again it a little traumatic. I started cutting the color out, which my hair is now past my shoulders but my hair is still what people call heat-trained hair.

Now, I have three textures: my roots are 3c, my hair is 2b/3a and straight on my ends. To say the least, I'm frustrated!!! I've decided to do sew-ins and braids as well as refrain from heat for year. However, I want to know do you think my natural hair pattern will ever come back? I'm plan on cutting all of it off next summer worst case.

Please help!
Kindest regards,
-W

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Hi W,

Thanks for writing. I totally understand and feel your frustration. I dabbled in all kind of hair color -- blonde (my all-time favorite), black, reddish-browns, purple, Rihanna red, and many more.

I'm going to give you the "bad" news first....
Unfortunately, when it comes to hair color, it has a similar impact on hair as a relaxer. It can permanently alter the texture of your hair. That, coupled with heat damage makes the return of your natural texture highly unlikely to occur. A lot of people utilize the term "heat trained" to describe their hair, but all that essentially means is that your hair cuticle is melted to some extent (from utilizing heat tools at too-high temperatures). In this state, your hair gets bone straight and sleek -- but the trade off is that your hair is most likely thinner, and more prone to breakage. Not to mention, the texture is gone.

Here's the good news...
All hope is not lost. As you probably know, I suffer from heat damage too, and I am on a long-term transition plan. Transitioning the damaged hair out incrementally is probably the best shot you have at retaining length while bringing that texture you love back. Sew-ins and braids sound like great ideas. Protective styling is always the best route to go, to avoid frequent/extensive manipulation of the hair, and protect the ends. Just be sure to not forget about your actual hair in the process! Under the sew-ins and outside of the braids, your hair needs to be regularly washed, moisturized, sealed and trimmed/dusted on the ends. Otherwise, you run the risk of really bad breakage as a result of neglect. Also, be sure to try to avoid tugging too hard on your edges and hair overall -- I would hate for you to grow out a lovely head of hair and develop traction alopecia in the process.

I wish you the best of luck in growing out your hair. I know working with multiple textures can be frustrating, but definitely the long-term transition route (once you get your routine and products down) is the best bet and alternative to the big chop. Definitely let me know if you have any more questions! Thanks for reading and writing me!!!

--Christina

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Questions? Hair concerns? E-mail me at tinapatrice@gmail.com and I'll do my best to help you out!

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