It’s no secret that heat can pose a serious threat to the health of your locks. However, it’s not necessarily the case with steamers for hair. In fact, the many benefits of steaming hair might even convince you to give it a shot. Steamed hair is said to be healthier, softer, shinier, and more manageable, so a hair steamer might just be what you need to revive your dull tresses.
Curious as to what these beauty tools can offer to you? Let this quick guide teach you what you might need to know about hair steaming.
Hair Steaming: What Is It?
First things first: you might be wondering, what is steaming? Is it the same kind of steaming as you do with your clothes and skin? What has it to do with your hair?
Hair steaming is exactly what its name suggests: it’s the process of steaming your hair. Unlike when steaming your skin, this method isn’t meant to deeply cleanse your locks. It’s said to be an effective way to deposit moisture into your hair shaft, however.
By applying the heat of the steam to your hair, your hair cuticles will be opened up. This will make it easier for the moisture in the steam to get inside your hair shaft and get deposited there. As a result, it can offer a more effective way to moisturize your tresses.
This might explain why hair steaming is more popular among those who have dry hair. In general, this method is more commonly practiced by folks of African descent than other ethnicities.
As these folks usually have very curly hair, their locks are also prone to dryness and breakage. The shape of their hair strands makes it hard for the natural oils in the scalp to travel down the entire length of their hair so there’s no way that their bodies get to moisturize their tresses on its own.
This results in dryer locks since their hair wasn’t able to absorb the moisture and nutrients that natural oils carry.
Steam treatment for hair isn’t just for black folks or those with very curly tresses. Anyone can give this method a try if they want.
If you’re wondering how to steam hair, you don’t have to fret about it. The process is very simple but the steps might differ depending on the type of hair steamer you intend to use. This is why it’s also crucial to learn about your options so you can easily choose which one will be handiest for you. To better explain to you how this process works, we’ve listed a quick guide below.
Hair Steamer Basics
To help you get better acquainted with the whole concept of hair steaming, you might first want to know more about the tools used in the process. We’ll break all of the major information down below for this.
What are Steamers?
The first thing you might be asking is, ‘what is a hair steamer anyway?’. Simply put, this is a beauty appliance that is made to produce steam for your hair. They’re designed to direct the hot steam into your locks which will effectively condition and moisturize your tresses.
You’ll find hair steamers in different shapes and sizes. This diversity allows them to offer convenience for different users. So at the end of the day, you can definitely make sure that you won’t have a hard time steaming your hair.
What are the different types of steamers for hair? Here are the three most popular examples:
Also referred to as floor standing steamers, these are the units that look like a salon hair dryer. However, instead of warm air, these items release steam. They’re usually very easy to use since you just really need to adjust them to the proper height, add some water into its tank, turn the unit on, then sit under the hood. After 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll already get better-moisturized locks.
These products are the smaller versions of standing steamers. Instead of placing them on the floor, these items need to be placed on a higher surface so you can sit comfortably under its hood. They’re more compact and easier to store than the standing steamers so they’re better preferred by a lot of users.
Using them, however, is just as easy as using standing steamers. So making a choice between the two can really boil down to how much space you have at home.
Those who really can’t spare a lot of floor or surface space at home can also opt for handheld steamers. These items are quite compact and are also similar to your other heat styling tools in appearance.
Their use varies depending on the product design, however. The most popular one, however, functions similarly to a diffuser, so if you’re already familiar with such, you won’t have a hard time using this particular hair steamer.
Most standing and tabletop steamers are also classified as hooded hair steamers. As the name suggests, these devices feature a hood where you’re supposed to place your head under. The hood effectively traps the heat and mist in between the top of your head and the hood so your hair can really soak in the moisture that the mist can offer.
The Benefits of Hair Steaming
Now that you have a good understanding of the basics of hair steam treatment and hair steamers, the next thing you might want to know about is the very benefits you can enjoy from these appliances. If you’re going to invest in a device and make an effort in using it, it makes sense that you’d want to make sure that your efforts will give you something in return.
What are the best benefits of steaming hair? Here are a few examples that might just convince you to give it a shot:
Adds moisture to your locks for healthier and stronger hair.
As mentioned above, steaming your hair is meant to add moisture to your locks. It effectively does such because the heat slightly alters the structure of the hair. By being able to lift the hair cuticles, the steam can be deposited directly to your hair shaft which helps hydrate your locks.
This results in softer and more lustrous locks. This will definitely make your tresses look more healthy and beautiful. It can also get the bounce and life you’ve always wanted to have.
As steaming also helps hydrate your hair strands, it can also improve your locks’ elasticity. As a result, you can also expect stronger and healthier tresses with this hair care method. It can help minimize breakage and help your hair grow longer with ease.
Helps repair damaged tresses
In many instances, adding moisture and hydration to damaged hair can also help it revert back to its healthy state. As most hair damage comes with hair dehydration, steaming it can be the most effective way to reverse the condition. This process can directly deposit moisture to your locks, so it can definitely help satiate parched tresses.
Helps hair growth
Another reason why a lot of people enjoy steaming their locks is the fact that it helps stimulate hair growth. It’s said that when the skin is exposed to heat, blood circulation is stimulated in the area where the heat is directed to. This works for the scalp, too, and it can bring the additional benefit of encouraging hair growth.
As steaming your hair also exposes your scalp to a good amount of heat, the high temperature can stimulate the blood flow to the skin under your scalp.
It will then stimulate the hair follicles in the area which helps encourage the healthy growth of hair. So if you feel like your locks are also thinning out, hair steaming might just be a good way for you to address such a concern.
Clears the scalp
Some experts also say that hair steaming helps deep clean your scalp without having to worry about product buildup. In fact, it can be an excellent way to get rid of such. Since it can loosen up the dead skin cells in your scalp, it can also help you easily remove the debris and residue that hair products leave behind.
A clear scalp, as one would probably expect, would have fewer issues. It can help you manage dandruff and other scalp issues. It can also help further encourage hair growth since there won’t be anything preventing the process.
Improves hair porosity
Folks with curly hair often struggle with low hair porosity. This makes it difficult for their tresses to absorb nutrients when they’re topically applied. As a result, they don’t necessarily respond well to a lot of hair products.
It’s a waste and a frustrating experience to have, really. It’s particularly disappointing not to get great results even from the top-rated hair products because your hair can’t process their ingredients properly.
So to help you avoid heartbreaks from such occurrences, you can just steam your hair to improve its porosity. By achieving such, you can also expect your hair to improve with the help of the best products.
Aside from helping add moisture to their parched locks, those with curly hair also benefits aesthetically from hair steaming. It doesn’t just improve the condition of their locks but they also help define and enhance their curls.
By making your hair more hydrated and elastic, your curls can also be better defined. The additional moisture helps boost and define your curl pattern.
This can result in bouncier and healthier looking hair. It also makes hair steamers some of the best hair tools for reviving your curls.
Won’t weigh your hair down while conditioning it
Unlike when you choose to apply moisturizing conditioners and serums to your hair, steaming doesn’t add anything to your locks aside from moisture. This makes it a more lightweight solution to your hair woes.
Conditioners and serums can be quite thick and heavy in consistency. And while they’re ideally absorbed by your tresses, they don’t just disappear without a trace.
This is why some products weigh your hair down and make them quite uncomfortable to use. Sure, a lot of them can be highly conditioning to your tresses but they can also feel sticky and gross, especially in hot and humid conditions.
Hair steaming, on the other hand, doesn’t leave any kind of sticky residue on your hair. As it only really use steam to moisturize your tresses, you don’t have to worry about your hair feeling heavy and limp after the process.
Makes detangling easier
Using a hair steamer for natural hair can also make very curly hair more manageable. By adding moisture to your locks and softening it in the process, detangling what once was a bird’s nest can be easily done.
This also has a lot to do with the improvement of hair’s elasticity. Hair strands that are more stretchable and stronger can also be easier to unsnarl. This can make brushing your hair a lot easier, quicker, and less painful.
Wouldn’t Hair Steaming Damage Your Hair Because of the Heat?
Since we’re looking closer at the benefits of hair steaming, you might also find yourself wondering whether the heat involved in the process won’t be damaging to your hair. It’s no secret that heat can damage your locks, so wouldn’t that be the case when you steam your locks?
Hair steaming is relatively safer and more beneficial to the hair’s integrity and health compared to heat styling because of the fact that it doesn’t apply heat directly to your locks. As the high temperatures also come with a mist, it doesn’t dry out the hair. It even adds moisture back into the hair strand instead, so it’s process is certainly different from heat styling.
Heat styling also often involves changing the shape of the hair strand which can strain your hair’s elasticity. Steaming has the opposite effect as it improves hair elasticity, so it can be safe to say that these two processes do not have the same effects on your hair.
Precautions to Keep in Mind when Steaming Your Hair
However, even if hair steaming comes with a lot of benefits, it doesn’t mean that you can just do it willy-nilly. The process still involves heat, so it can still put you at risk of burns and injuries.
To help you ensure safety while you improve your hair health and quality through this process, here are some of the most important safety precautions that you should keep in mind:
Do not oversteam your tresses
The ideal hair steaming time is 15-30 minutes, according to avid practitioners. Anything shorter than that might not give your hair enough time to absorb enough moisture to make a difference to its quality and condition.
Over steaming might cause your hair strands to swell and damage your hair. Some experts compare it to wetting your hair which can weaken its structure. This is why it’s not advised to steam your tresses for longer than 30 minutes or more than twice a month.
Make sure to protect your skin from the condensation
Drops of hot water from the hood of your hair steamer can burn your skin and make your steaming session a stressful and uncomfortable time. So it’s best to protect yourself against the possibility of getting hurt.
The good news is, there are tons of ways how you can do this. For starters, you can look for a hair steamer that is designed to minimize such occurrences.
Note that we’re saying ‘minimize’ instead of ‘eliminate’ because, honestly, we haven’t really found one that can offer such yet. There are tons of great products that are designed to prevent condensation from dripping to your skin, so those could be great picks for you.
You can also opt to drape a bath towel around your neck and shoulders to add an extra layer of protection to your skin. This will help ensure that hot water won’t get in contact directly with your skin while you steam your locks.
Do not settle for anything less than the best hair steamer
Last but not least, the appliance you’ll use will also play a huge role in how safe the process will be. As you’ll be dealing with heat, you should make absolutely certain that the product you’re going to use is made of high-quality materials and construction.
Its materials shouldn’t be flimsy as the heat can cause its parts to melt. It also shouldn’t be prone to overheating as that can cause injuries. The construction should be sturdy, too, especially for standing units.
By making sure that you’ll get the best hair steamer in the market, you’ll have better odds at getting your desired results. You’ll still need to take the right steps to steam your hair properly and safety to ensure the best results, however.
Hair steaming is definitely a beneficial beauty method if your hair needs some TLC. You can take this for a fact as a lot of people have already proven it to be true for decades. With the right measures in executing the method, you can be certain that your steam treatment can help improve your tresses.