Article by Diane Shawe
According to master signature hair extensionist and author Diane Shawe the steamer uses heat and water to lift the cuticle on the hair shaft and allow conditioners and treatments to penetrate and condition hair.
Another benefit of hair steamers is that the moist heat encourages blood flow to the scalp, aided circulation of the scalp equals healthier, longer growing hair when hidden away under hair extensions.
Black women with natural hair have used steamers for years because it helps to hydrate and define their coils. It is also recommended steaming for women who are transitioning from chemically-relaxed or colour treated hair to use steaming
Whether you have blonde, fine or coarse hair, long or short, or no hair extensions your hair will benefit from hair steaming.
Diane advises doing a steam treatment every two weeks to build up moisture retention. If alternating between pre-shampoo oil and deep conditioning treatments, Just be sure not to overdo it, because over-steaming can actually over-moisturise the hair making it limp and weak.
Amongst other benefits, steaming helps to increase blood circulation and flush toxins from the body. But since this post is about haircare and hair extensions, we are infinitely more interested in the benefits to hair. This is an area that is still very much in debate, with the science behind it a work in progress.
That being said the reputed benefits of steam for hair are:
1. Added moisture
2. Increases hair shine
3. Softens hair making it more manageable
4. Decreasing de-tangling time by reducing tangles and knots
5. Reduces hair breakage
6. Reduces dandruff and helps with exfoliating the scalp by softening flaking skin making it easier to remove
7. Hair feels healthier
Pre-pooing is simply using some sort of conditioning treatment on the hair prior to shampooing. This can be with oils, special treatment conditioners or even regular old instant conditioners. Adding steam at this stage can often increase the efficacy of the treatment.
This is the point where most people incorporate steam as it’s the easiest and most obvious. The steam increases the absorption potential of the conditioning product used whilst providing additional moisture. Apply the deep conditioning product to the hair then add steam via whichever method you prefer. Steam should be used for 15-20 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
This involves covering the hair in a light layer of oil, leaving it to sit for a while then rinsing it out. This helps keep hair lubricated reducing tangles and single strand knots. It also adds shine and depending on the oil used, can add strength. I like coconut oil as it penetrates the hair shaft and help reduce hygral fatigue. Using a steamer can take this process to the next level by helping the oil absorb even more deeply. After applying the oil, leave it to sit under steam for 15-20 minutes then rinse with cold water. Dont use too much as this can make the hair heavy during styling.
Using the steam room at the gym/spa
Whenever I use the gym or go to a spa with a steam room, I always make sure to pack my deep conditioner. It’s a great way to get a full body steam session going. You can slather the conditioner on your dry hair, no need to add a shower cap walk in and steam away.