Can I Repair Heat Damaged Natural Hair?

Sarah asks-

So I decided I needed a trim on my natural hair and thought it would be an opportunity to get my hair straightened. I went to a salon.

The stylist used a pressing comb and a curling iron and got my hair straight, but now I wash my hair and in some areas it will not revert to its kink.

It is bone straight in some places and it’s evident that I have heat damage. I’m so upset. The first time I get my hair straightened since being natural and now my hair is damaged.

Is there anything I can do to revitalize the curl? Anything? Or am I gonna have to cut my hair again? -

My Answer

Hey hon,

I hear the frustration in your email and I feel your pain- I really do. I’m really sorry that this happened to you.

As you probably already know- the damage is done and the only way to remedy damaged hair back to 100% no heat damage is by cutting off the damaged ends BUT you can do some damage control.

I would say if your intention is to retain length (regardless of the fact that the hair may remain permanently straight) then don’t cut your hair and do some serious damage control.

The bonds in your hair have broken down and so your hair is now extra fragile. I’d suggest a simple protein/reconstructor treatment (protein will coat outer layer of hair while reconstructor treatment will penetrate to cortex of hair. In this case you need a two in one)- Aphogee’s 2 Minute Reconstructor followed by a deep moisturizing conditioner (any conditioner you like mixed with an oil will help to restore heat damaged hair).

Your hair probably won’t revert to its kink but the protein treatment followed by a deep moisturizing conditioner will be super helpful.

Do this consistently every week.

As your hair grows out and after you do some damage control you’ll have a better idea of what you want to do with the straight parts.

Try to work the straight ends into your hairstyles. If after you do the damaged hair treatment and you find that you can’t deal with it then by all means- cut it off.

How have you dealt with your heat damaged strands??

46 Comments

  1. My 12 year old daughter had her natural hair flat ironed this summer for her Grade 8 promotion and now has heat damage. There’s no way she will cut her hair (its longggg) so this is very helpful.
    To deal with her damaged strands I will be trying the Aphogee and I will continue to braid her hair. Thanks!

    Reply
    • no prob! Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
    • You’re welcome! Let me know how it goes.

      Reply
      • hi I’m struggling with massive heat damage I’ve cut out heat for the past 10 months and I’ve seen change in my hair course more towards the ends of my hair my roots are still straight and I don’t know how to repair the roots I deep condition weekly and I have natural 3c hair and i don’t know what to do HELP :((

        Reply
        • So sorry to hear your issue. Try some of the things mentioned above. If you continue to suffer with damaged ends I recommend cutting the damaged ends so that it doesn’t effect your length retention.

          Reply
    • You are not alone! My daughter is 9 years old, it has been a year now dealing with her damaged hair. I wished I have never put heat in her hair (professional) straighten her hair. My daughter hair is thick but it’s thinning in a lot of places because of the heat damage. I have cut the straight strands myself because when I style her hair I can hear the strands popping. Since I cut majority of her hair, it’s a lot better. I thank God she was blessed with thick hair, it’s not hard to see the thin strands. I will soon put braids in her hair but like Cassandre said, “It’s not the end of the world” We have to work with it until we get their hair back healthy. We have learned from our mistakes and now we must go forward. Stay natural and stay strong my sista!!

      Reply
  2. Flat twists sets, roller sets, twist outs with rollers on the end would help blend the textures and still provide a textured look.

    Reply
  3. This is a very good post! The same thing happened to me. I got my hair flat ironed and now I have heat damage in the front. I’m going to try this but I’m sure eventually I’m going to have to cut it. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  4. Hi, I have never had any chemicals put in my hair but I did go get my hair flat ironed every 2 weeks. My friends and I are going all the way natural and my ends especially won’t curl on their own any more. How effective is flat twists and braids on the ends?

    Reply
  5. Thank you! I had my hair flat iron a week ago and now after washing my hair I have sections that are bone straight. In fact, my curl pattern is a lot looser than it was before having it flat iron. Needless to say, I’m extremely upset. I will try the suggestions mention and hopefully I won’t have to cut to much out. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome Charron! Best to you and your hair!

      Reply
  6. Hi, at the begining of the year I decided to commit to healthy hair. Now Ive been a weave girl for a very long time and I always had a leave out. About five months ago my hair in the front and the back broke off and the rest of my leave out heat damaged. Then the hair that was under all that weave is slightly physically damaged but still curly. And I have no idea what to do with this partially curly, straight, and uneven hair…. given that I am NOT a fan of cuting my hair all the way down to the new growth and there are no natural hair salons in my area. Please help me like I have a big head lol and I just cant do the short style

    Reply
    • Hi Zoey! It’s hard for me to say what you ought to do. Most women already have a strong sense of what they don’t want so I say explore what you do want. Do you like extensions, do you like cornrows, do you like curls, are you into rolls and twists. Once you you figure out what you do like than find tutorials to show you how to achieve that style. I’m up for giving more suggestions vie my one-one-coaching All the best to you!

      Reply
  7. Why can some people continuiously straighten their hair and others do it once after months of doing the “right things” and have heat damage while others never have any?

    Reply
    • Hey Blandgirl. The issue comes down to several factors including hair’s texture (meaning thickness of strands), it’s level of damage from previous processes and it’s moisture content. The coarser, less damaged and more moisturized a strand is the lesser the chances of heat damage.

      Reply
  8. Hello! This happened to me too! In 2010 I straightened my hair with a straightener that got too hot and burned my hair. Throughout 2011-2012 I was cutting out the burned bits and letting the natural hair grow in. Now it’s nearly two years later and my hair texture is completely different. I went from being a curly-coily 3c to a 3b…and the hair dressers say there are parts that are curlier (the front) and parts that are wavier (back) but from the roots all the way out (ie even from the root the hair is growing in wavy/not 3c curly). How is this possible? They’ve all said there’s no way hair texture should have changed and the new hair should have re grown like my original, 3c hair I had all my life. I’m 29 now, so it shouldn’t have been a hormonal change. Any advice on how I could get back to my 3c hair? Is it still just not fully grown out? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi! I think adding vitamins and exercise to your regimen will help greatly. In corporate those things to keep your stress and hormone levels in equilibrium and I imagine you will see you hair getting back to normal by the end of the year. All the best on your hair journey!

      Reply
  9. Thanks for the “damage control” tips! Nice read! Good job! :)

    Reply
  10. I have also experieced heat damage. After trying several things, I found that the one that worked the best was to shampoo my hair with regular bar soap and rinsing with water as warm as I could stand it.. followed by a deep moisturizing conditioner. Althogh this method is very helpful to restoring softness and elasticity to the hair, I DO NOT RECOMMEND doing this any more often then 4 to 5 weeks apart. Bar soap can be a great tool to remove buildup and restore some if not all of your curl pattern but if used to frequently it is highly damaging.
    Good luck and I wish you all happy, healthy growth.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for you tips! Wishing you well on your hair journey!

      Reply
  11. im sooooo sad. i did weave for my prom and did a leave out ( the first i have done with completely natural hair). the hairdresser straightened my hair and now some sections of the leave out is super straight. im sooo sad because even though my hair is rather short, my hair is healthy and i take pride of it. now my hair is damaged :(
    Defo never doing that to my hair again!!!!! next time i will buy a closure ( i would have but i didnt have enough :( )

    Reply
    • So sorry to hear that Marisa! I hate realizing after the fact that something I’ve done has damaged my hair. Keep taking care of your hair and it will grow back with no issues. Wishing you all the best in your hair journey! :)

      Reply
  12. My heat damage is at the root! The curls seem fine about mid way down to the ends in most areas!!! What do I do with that? I can’t shave it, my head is too big!

    Reply
    • Just let it grow out and use curl rods to style your hair so that the texture difference isn’t so noticeable. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  13. I have been natural transitioning for almost 4 yes and my hair has grown a lot but I have noticed that no matter how much it has grown the right side of my hair has a coil pattern but the left side still does not at all. I was thinking after reading these post that maybe my hair has heat damage but that’s strange that the entire head receives the same amount of heat and still be so different. Not sure what to do. I really don’t want to cut my hair but if I decide to I’m not sure if the hair would be (grow) any differently since this is continuously growing hair with these conditions. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Mona, what you do is really up to you. You can choose to
      1. cut your hair all around and deep moisturize weekly.
      2. you can keep doing what you’re doing or
      3. you can deep condition weekly using products like aphogee 2 minute recontructer and moisturize daily with this product and blend your damaged, straight ends with the rest of your by using styles like this.

      Reply
  14. I’ve gone through with my second big chop a couple months ago and I’ve been natural for about two months. This past weekend, my sorority had an event so I decided to straighten my hair for the first time in 2 years! Unfortunately, this resulted in heat damage around my edges and some of my curls aren’t tight like they usually are. Honestly, I don’t want to do a third big chop. I’ve been thinking about getting braids and transitioning over again. If I do this and not cut off the heat damage, will it make my hair worse?

    Reply
    • Also, if I choose to do bantu knots and twist outs, will the heat damaged hair curl up?

      Reply
    • I think it’s a good idea to transition out like that. As for doing a bantu knot- you hair will curl up.

      Reply
  15. Hi, Im 15 and I have never gotten a perm in my life. I recently flat ironed my hair and when I washed it majority of my curls came back, BUT there were about 5 strands of straight hair on the left side of my head. I don’t know what to do! My mom is telling me not to cut it because I have had heat damage before and It was back healthy in about 2-3 months. Im not sure what to do

    Reply
    • Hi Raye! It all depends on you. I’ve shared a lot of information about this over the years and at the end of the day it’s really up to you what you want. Quick results mean you’ll have to cut it off, but if you want to see if will evert, set up a deadline and do all you can do to help revive your hair. If it reverts, than good for you- you won’t have to cut yoru hair off, but if not, just cut it and know that you tried. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  16. My vitamin D level was low therefore making my natural hair break down at the roots. I have been natural for sixteen months and was so proud of my hair,but now with the breakage I’m just hurt because I feel like I’m going to have to cut it all off and start over again. It even seems as if the texture has changed. I just don’t know what to do. Please advise.

    Reply
  17. Hey, I’m 15 and a few months ago my hair was getting kinda weird so I decided to straighten it and I kept doing It because I liked it and now my hair is a total mess! I Don’t want to keep using any heat but i don’t like the way my hair looks anymore so I keep using heat.:( what can I do so that my hair goes back to normal?

    Reply
  18. I’ve been sending my 8 year old to the salon and the stylist has straightened her hair she went from being naturally curly and long to straight, short and damaged! The last time it was straightened was Nov 6, 2014 now January 5, 2015 it’s damaged… What should I do?

    Reply
    • I think you should try the things mentioned in the article for a couple of months. If after a year the curls don’t come back, you can think about cutting off the damaged strands. Take care!

      Reply
  19. I have been natural for 6 years and have had many blowouts and NEVER suffered any heat damage. However, after getting a blowout about 3 weeks ago, it happened! I washed my hair and there were sections that were bone straight! I wanted to cry:( I was in denial for about a week. I wear a flat twist out instead of my fro now to hide the damage. Thanks for this article

    Reply
  20. Here’s two things that work for me – when I overly heat styled my hair. #1 is the hommade approach where you can use a teaspoon of olive oil and two teaspoons of mayonnaise – apply to your hair and then cover it with a plastic cap and leave it on for thirty minutes. That is the cheapest way. If you are a super busy mom like me and work also, you can use the heat leave-in protector from the Shielo brand BEFORE doing any heat styling. The Shielo protector will stop the heat from damaging your hair, and it just makes it super shiny and soft again.

    Reply
  21. I use the flat iron a lot. And this will do the trick for you: You will have no problems with heat damaged hair if you use a high quality oil before applying heat. Just my two cents.

    Reply
  22. I live in Minnesota but I am from Georgia. Went home for Christmas break and while I was home, I got my hair straightened. Everything seemed okay at first but when I used a paddle brush to wrap my hair, there was a lot of shedding. Then I came back to Minnesota and shampooed it to get my fro back and it is coming out in clumps. I can’t touch my hair without it coming out. This makes me incredibly nervous because I’m afraid that my hair is irreparable. I also have a newborn and breastfeeding. Is it damaged for good or do I have to just wait til my hormones mellow out to get it back to normal?

    Reply
  23. HI,I WAS AN IDIOT AND FLAT-IRONED MY HAIR EVERYDAY AND LOST MY CURLS. MY HAIR IS VERY FINE AND NOW I MISS THEM SO MUCH. I LOOK LIKE WHO SHOT JOHN BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO CURL IT ANTMORE SO MY HAIR WILL CURL A LITTLE WHEN WET BUT NEVER IN FRONT AND WHEN IT DRIES IT’S STAIGHT AGAIN. I CUT IT VERY SHORT SO PLEASE HEELLPPP MEE.

    Reply
  24. My friend is mixed and she has an Afro. All her hair at the top and middle is perfectly fine. But the bottom(back) of her hair remains straight. It’s not heat damage cause she cut it twice and it just keeps growing in like that..what should she do?

    Reply
    • Hi Donia! The best thing for her to do is to embrace the differences in curl patterns, but if she has a desired look in mind, she can create uniform curls by using curling tools like curlformers, flexi-rods or permrods. The curls can stay in for up to a week at a time. If she follows through with this it’s a lot of work.

      Reply

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