I experienced heat damage literally a year ago from now. In March 2011, I had my hair "pressed" at a salon. I remember thinking that the stylist hardly used any heat protectant and "smoked" my hair quite a bit.But since it was my 1st experience, didn't say anything and thought it was the norm.
I had deep conditioned extensively prior to attending this appointment and thought I was "covered" but then clearly that had not been enough.
I wore the style for only five days, before I yearned for my coils again, but they never came back entirely. Some tightened up a little 2-3 days after more afterwards, but they never quite returned to that tightly kinky state they originally had. The root to about 3/4 of each straight clump (yes they still clumped despite being straight) would curl but the ends would still be stick straight, so I took a scissors to the straight strands..to retain my sanity. I tried Aphogee, Aubreys GBP, steaming, deep conditioning for weeks on end until I gave up. Certain strands were never going to return back to their original state again.Here are my observations over the past year with heat damage:
The Good: it made me appreciate and realise even more just how fragile my strands were. I relied even more on finger detangling. You know the saying, you don't know what you've got till it's gone? Lets just say this experience made me appreciate my texture even more.
The Bad: Though the bulk was reduced, the strands were weaker. So even more care had to be taken while manipulating the hair strands. The general appearance of my coils was disrupted. Straight strands would stick out where they were not expected. Couldn't wear a decent wash n go with my hair just out.
The picture below shows what would happen to my hair, if I tried a wash & go. It looked like I had taken a trip back to the 70's with a Jherri Curl.. Ugh! Not a pretty sight at all.
The Neutral: the straighter hair strands reduced the bulk of the hair. I could still get away with pinups, updos & buns so I wore a lot of those. (Can you spot the straighter strands within the bun?)
My conclusion: My choice of styles had to change. I had to forfeit my shrunken w-n-g fros and go for the buns/updos/pinups, as these kept the straight ends out of sight and protected them especially as the kinky strands grew out even more.So the focus turned to TECHNIQUE. The only thing that kept the hair on my scalp was my finger-combing.
If you are fortunate to straighten without experiencing any loosening at all, then you are lucky and most likely stayed below the damage threshold for your hair. In this case IMO any product could bring back your curls. If you went past that threshold of damage then it will never entirely be the same. No matter what product you use. It is possible to "baby" your hair while gradually cutting the damaged strands off. In the end, the penultimate choice will be up to you. Do you cut them all off yourself? Or do you let the heat damaged strands fall/break off on their own? What would you do?
As for me, for the next year, following the damage, I ended up cutting off the damaged strands.