The Benefits of Hair Steaming for Natural Hair

Benefits of hair steaming on natural hair
Photo credit: @bridgid_ryan

Hair steaming isn’t just for any hair type; it’s especially beneficial for those with natural curls, kinks, and coils. By incorporating hair steaming into their hair care routine, individuals with curly hair can experience remarkable improvements in their hair’s health and overall well-being.

What Exactly is Hair Steaming?

Hair steaming involves generating steam and directing it towards the scalp and hair strands. The steam gently elevates the cuticle, enhancing the absorption of nourishing oils and conditioning treatments. This technique has long been utilized by professional hairstylists and beauty enthusiasts to promote hair health and achieve a lustrous appearance.

The Benefits of Hair Steaming

The results achieved through hair steaming are truly impressive, even with just the use of simple heated water. Here are some notable benefits:

  • Improves hair elasticity, preventing breakage and promoting length retention.
  • Defines and revitalizes frizzy and lifeless curls.
  • Enhances blood flow to the scalp, stimulating hair growth.
  • Allows for better moisture penetration and eliminates scalp fungus and flakes.
  • Leaves the hair moisturized and shiny.
  • Reduces the time required for color processing in hair salons.

Additionally, there are three specific types of hair that can especially benefit from steaming:

  1. Low Porosity Hair: This hair type struggles to absorb and retain moisture due to tightly sealed cuticles. Steaming helps relax and open the cuticles, allowing for effective moisture absorption.

  2. Transitioning Hair: Steam softens the fragile line where relaxed hair meets natural hair, making it more manageable and less prone to breakage.

  3. Color-Treated, Dry, and Damaged Hair: Delicate hair types can greatly benefit from the concentrated moisture that steam provides.

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How Can I Steam My Hair?

Hair steaming is a highly accessible process. You can consult a stylist who may offer this service, or you can opt to steam your hair at home using a personal hair steamer. Many stylists refer to steam treatments as hydration treatments, so don’t hesitate to inquire about them.

If you decide to steam your hair at home, here are some options:

Hooded Hair Steamers

Hooded hair steamers, available for purchase on Amazon and at local beauty supply stores, resemble salon hairdryers. To use them, you sit with your head under the hood while the steam is produced from the water poured into the designated container.

Hooded Hair Steamers
(Left to Right: Artist Hand Professional Hair Steamer $152.99, DevLon NorthWest Rolling Salon Hair Steamer $189.95, HELLOLAND 650W Professional Salon Spa Hair Steamer $129.99)

Handheld Hair Steamers

Handheld steamers are great for those with limited storage space. The popular QRedew handheld hair steamer, priced at $79, is a convenient option for home use.

Q-redew hair steamer
(QRedew $79.00 on the Qredew website)

Alternatively, you can create a similar steam effect with a hooded hair dryer or steam/deep conditioning caps. Hooded dryers from your relaxed hair days can finally be put to good use. Simply cover your freshly washed and wet hair with a plastic bag or processing cap, sit under the dryer, and let it work its magic.

Steam or conditioning caps are available in electric or cord-free options, with heat activated by microwaving the cap before use. Although these options won’t generate the same amount of steam as handheld or hooded steamers, they provide similar results at a lower cost.

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Steam or Conditioning Caps
(Left to Right: VICARKO Hair Steamer Thermal Heat Cap $29.99, OULVNUO Electric Hair Cap $23.99)

If you’re still unsure, you can replicate a hair steamer by using a plastic bag to cover your wet hair and then applying a hot, wet towel. The Baggy Method is another option to consider.

Ready to Try Hair Steaming?

Follow these simple steps:

  1. After shampooing your hair, apply your chosen oil or deep conditioning treatment to wet hair and then steam using your preferred method.
  2. Allow the steam to penetrate the strands for 10 to 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse your hair with cool water, apply your favorite leave-in product to seal in the moisture, and you’re ready to style!

Can Steam Damage My Hair?

Steam can be hot and potentially cause heat damage or burns if applied too often or too close to the hair strands. When using a handheld steamer, it’s crucial to carefully follow the instructions and maintain a distance of at least 6 inches between the steamer and your scalp to avoid burns.

Here are a few other important considerations:

  • Use only distilled water in your handheld or hooded hair steamer to prevent introducing harmful minerals and chemicals found in tap water.
  • Avoid turning on the steamer without water, as it could damage the machine.

How Often Should I Use a Hair Steamer?

The frequency of hair steaming depends on your hair’s individual needs. For most individuals, steaming once a month is sufficient. Over-steaming can over-moisturize the hair, leaving it limp, weak, and prone to breakage—a condition known as hygral fatigue. Each session should last no more than 10 to 30 minutes to avoid any potential permanent damage.

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Have you ever tried hair steaming? We would love to hear about your experience!

Here’s to Softer Strands!

Benefits of hair steaming natural curls

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