At this point, every sista and her grandmother knows that blow-dryers, flatirons and any other heat styling tool can do major damage to African-American hair, not to mention contributing to next-day frizz. But what’s a gal to do if she wants to use these tools to rock a ’do for a special occasion? Answer: Check out these tips from to help you avoid breakage and damage to your tresses.

Don’t overuse these tools. The idea is to use them only on special occasions—or maybe once or twice each week. And when you do use them, steer clear of too-hot settings. (Special alert: Chemical treatments and coloring, such as highlights, also contribute to dry strands that snap easily.)

Do keep strands moisturized. That’s right: Healthy well-maintained hair responds better to heating tools and bounces back easier after they’re used. Create a good regimen to moisturize and protect your tresses every time you style. Also, treat hair to natural healing oil treatments after you use a flatiron. These can help replenish your hair’s moisture and counteract dry out and damage from heat styling.

Use heat protectants. These leave-in conditioners or styling products contain special chemical ingredients designed to prevent damage from heat-styling tools. But this doesn’t mean it’s OK to use heat styling every day. Go back to the first tip and read it again then use that as a guideline for all situations.

Did you know that natural oils can also help you avoid hair breakage? Click here to read about natural oils that do just that.