This Is Why Straightening Natural Curls Is Bad

by Stephanie Chon

I'm sure we've all seen or read countless of articles that talk about how horrible it is for you to apply direct heat to your hair, but did you know that heat reacts differently to different types of hair? If you have naturally tight curls and you're constantly trying to straighten them out with a hot flat iron, a recent study has proven that curlier hair is more susceptible to heat damage than straighter hair is.

Mechanical engineer, Tahira Reid, and her colleagues from Purdue University, conducted research on how much heat different types of hair can withstand before getting damaged. Using a method called Segmentation Tree Analysis, Reid and her team came up with eight different types of hair based on their degrees of curliness — Type I is straight hair and Type VIII is tightly curled hair.

One at a time, each type of hair was put between the clamps of an automated hair straightener and using an infrared microscope, the team carefully observed how the different types of hair reacted to the heat. At the end of the study, Reid came to the conclusion that curlier hair can't withstand heat as well as straighter hair. The reasoning behind it has to do with heat conductivity.

Straighter hair is able to spread heat evenly a lot better than curly hair does and spreading out the heat avoids the hair from getting burned. So all my ladies who have been blessed with curly hair, I say, embrace it!

I mean, look at how gorgeous it is, as is!

You do realize people spend countless hours (see: perms) and lots of money (see: curling irons) trying to achieve natural-looking curls, right?

So the next time you think about touching that straightener, repeat after me: curly hair, don't care.

Video: Purdue University/YouTube