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Although "dryer" is part of the name, steam dryers do no actual drying. These devices -- which look just like hood dryers, except they shoot steam rather than hot air -- soothe dry, damaged tresses naturally with hydrating steam. Steam is all-natural, which means no expensive products that break the beauty bank. Pencil in a half-hour to an hour for slow steam heat that will put the sexy back in your 'do.
A steam dryer works on the same principles as the steam room you might find at the fitness center. Steam imparts moisture into dry skin and hair. Strands that were dry receive moisture and heat. When used in combination with a hydrating hair treatment, such as hot oil and deep conditioning treatments, the hair receives oils, proteins and other soothing compounds that can reverse damage. The steam actually opens up the hair follicle, allowing the hydrating hair treatment to deposit in the hair shaft.
Anyone can use a steam dryer to give locks a little more love, but women with dry or damaged hair will get the most bang from this restorative treatment. If your hair appears brittle or dry, your scalp itches or flakes, or your strands fall out regularly, you're a prime candidate for steam dryer treatments. Find a salon near you that offers "hydration therapy" or hair steaming, or purchase an at-home hair steamer.
Using the Steamer
If you're going to steam with a hot oil or deep conditioner in your hair, prepare and apply the treatment to dry locks first. Next, place a shower cap on your head to prevent the oils from dripping down while you steam. Sit under the steamer for at least 20 minutes, and relax. Keep in mind you don't need to steam with a hair treatment on -- you can just sit under the steam dryer and set a timer.
Hair steamers with hot oil or deep conditioning treatments work like boot camp for damaged hair, helping hair heal. After a steamy session, hair may feel softer or smoother and look shiny rather than dull. Steam normal hair once a month or more often if your hair has sustained chemical damage.