What is steaming when it comes to hair?
This process means the adding moisture in the form of moist heat (steam) to the hair strands. This can be done in a number of different ways such as using a handheld hair steamer, a standing steamer or even enjoying the steam after a long warm shower.
What steaming does for your hair?
Steaming helps with the elasticity in the hair (for it to be safely stretched), when this process is applied it opens up the cuticles of the hair with heat as to allow moisture to penetrate the hair strand, it also helps with blood circulation by opening the pores of the scalp.
Who is steaming better suited for? What hair type?
when it comes to hair type it doesn't matter or texture, steaming adds moisture to the hair and therefore benefits us all at any stage of your natural hair journey. Especially for the case of low porosity hair it opens up the cuticles to allow more penetration.Steaming is an excellent way to increase the hydration factor without any cause for alarm whether be it your hair is relaxed and colored, transitioning or completely natural.
Benefits of hair steaming.
⦁ Breakage: It renders assistance in the reduction of breakages by means of the steam adding moisture which in turn makes dry, brittle and thirsty hair supple, hydrate and of cause healthy.
⦁ Porosity: Steaming tends to lift the cuticles of the hair shaft as to allow product/ingredient absorption-this is done due to the warmth of the steam for easy absorption into the core. This can be particularly helpful for low porosity naturals that find it hard to get moisture deep into the core of the hair or products to be fully absorbed by the hair.
⦁ Elasticity: facilitates hair stretching, decreases shrinkage and tangles/knots due to the hair being hydrated. This makes it easier to detangle and can also lead to less breakage!
⦁ Hang: it causes curls to be refreshed without having to start over in other words your hair gets added moisture without having to soak your hair with water, therefore the
⦁ I.ncreased amount of moisture in the strands helps with better clumping and downward hang of the curls
⦁ Growth: it aids in cleaning of the scalp and promotes hair growth as the steams heat literally goes through some product accumulation/ dirt on the scalp, whereby making the scalp much easier to clean. A clean scalp is a healthy scalp and a healthy scalp means healthy growth. The warmth also helps stimulate blood flow in the scalp which again helps with hair growth.
⦁ leaves your hair soft and smooth while increasing fullness of hair.
How to Steam
For the process of hair steaming you will need some oil/deep conditioner that can seep/perforate into the hair during the treatment:
- For hot oil treatment, add drops of essential oil (e.g lemongrass oil, tea tree oil) to natural oil (e.g olive oil, coconut oil, etc) and heat up the mixture. Next, dip fingertips into the oil and massage your scalp. Saturate your hair with the oil mixture from root to ends. When this is done you can now apply heat.
- Steaming can be done using a hooded dryer, a handheld steamer or even a clothing steamer. Using hair dryer requires you to first wrap the hair with a plastic cap to prevent the dry hot air from drying out the product applied to the hair. If you are using a hand dryer, remember to place or hold steamer at least 15cm away from your hair so you don’t apply heat directly on your scalp. Do bear in mind that it’s not advisable to use clothing steamers on a regular basis on your hair. As a rule of thumb, steaming should last for about 20 to max. 30 minutes.
When to Steam
Is it better to steam your hair before or after washing? Both are acceptable, based on varying objectives.It is believed that hair strands expand when the hair is soaked during washing and contracts when the hair dries. When this happens repeatedly, the hair tends to be weak. This is the so called hygral fatigue. In this case steaming before washing would be aimed at preventing hygral fatigue. Essential for this pre-shampoo (pre-poo) steaming is coconut oil or milk which contains molecules that can penetrate into your hair and prevent it from absorbing excess water. On the other hand, steaming after washing is ideal for deep conditioning treatments. Apply your deep conditioner to your freshly washed hair and steam! The combination of your deep conditioner and moist heat would perfectly strengthen, nourish, and moisturize your hair.
How often should you steam?
There can be used in case of:
⦁ The point in time you find/feel your strands need an extra boost of moisture. For this instance, you can steam your hair at least every 2 weeks for strong shiny hair
⦁ It really depends on how dry your hair feels, how often you need to wash your hair and how difficult/easy it is for products such as deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners etc. to penetrate your hair strands. In all likelihood, you will not require daily hair steaming however you might feel that once a week gives you happy, hydrated hair that looks and feels lush, plump and truly hydrated.
Safety of steamer for your hair:
A steamer is extremely safe for your hair as it uses a fusion/merger of heat and water(steam), therefore it doesn't remove moisture from the hair but adds nor does it damage the hair from heat (direct heat).