AHHH!!! Heat Damage


A member of the NHR family has had a very negative experience with the flat iron.  Can you answer her questions? Comment below with your feedback on http://www.naturalhairrules.com. Chime In.



Tonya writes: I mad a stupid mistake and got my hair flat iron thinking I had to for my ends to be trim. Sad to say I do believe it is burnt. My hair smells so bad. I washed,Deep Treated,& Deep Conditioned for 2hr. [Burnt] Smells was to there..that was a week ago today. Oh I have notice more broken and split ends & some parts of my hair didn”t curl back up. 2 1/2 years natural and this happens.

Question…Do I have to cut my hair? If not how can I save my hair? And will that nasty smell ever go away?

Has this ever happen to you? Give your feedback below!


23 thoughts on “AHHH!!! Heat Damage

  1. Nancy

    Im in the same boat. I got my hair straightened for the 1st time 2 1/2 weeks ago to get a trim. I washed it out about a little over a week ago and I wanted to cry. Half of my hair curled back {1/2 of it w a looser curl patter and the other half normal}, and the rest of it is bone straight. I freaked out after many washed n DPs, and youtube searches. Form YT it seemed like a lot of ppl use protein treatments and beer rinses to revert it but I didnt have time to try either. I just did an intense deep conditioner {that resulted in another portion of my hair to curl back}, then gave up and just braided it up. Its been in braids since and hoping to take them out in a month or so then decide if I want to chop it all off {after 19 months}. Would love to hear if anyone else has actual solutions for this besides another BC

  2. Tori D.

    *hugs* Hun I am so sorry this happened to you! I feel your pain; I had the same experience. Unfortunately I didnt find any remedy for heat damage. I ended up cutting most of the damaged hair, but I just camouflage the damaged piece at the very front until it grows out long enough to cut. Hope you have better luck than I did!

  3. DeeDee

    You may not have to cut it, depending on how severely burnt it is. Usually severe burnt hair would burn and disengrate (like a burnt piece of paper).
    As far as the smell, baking soda will remove the smell. Also, you can use fresh lemon juice or vinegar (these use small amounts due to their high acid levels).
    The good news is hair grows all day everyday, maybe not the speed that you would like, but with time it will Grow.

  4. franz

    Unfortunately, this happened to me 5 yrs ago….I had a professional flat iron my hair. I had several straight pieces that never went back to natural curl pattern. After several weeks and washing hoping it would change, I finally had to cut my hair and start all over. I think that if u flat iron ur hair on the correct setting, u can prevent this. But I have not straightened my hair in 5 years!!!

  5. Tara

    I flat ironed my hair a few months ago and had heat damage and ended up cutting about 3 inches of hair off, if you check out my tumblr you will see my post along with pictures about the situation. Unfortunately your heat damage looks pretty severe and your best bet IS to cut it because you WILL notice that braid outs and such will NOT look the same, so dont hold onto fried hair, as much as you dont want to cut it (cause trust me I didnt want to do mine as well) but youre gong to have to do so UNLESS you can tolerate how your hair will be.

  6. Tonya

    Thank you all for the comments..I just want to cry.I wash and did two strand twist and just pin and tucked my ends away. It’t time for a wash tomorrow will do another DC…if it doesn’t work I will get it cut:( Question I am scared to death about any heat in my hair. How would I go about getting it cut? Don’t even want a blow dryer near me.

  7. Honey

    This happened to me as well. My cousin, who is a professional stylist, explained that the heat damaged the cuticle of my hair shaft, leaving some ends straight. Unfortunately, this damage is irreversable and the straight ends had to be cut. The best thing about growing your hair natural is the learning process. I went natural in ’98 and went through several trials. Back then, there weren’t half the products on the market targeted for natural hair as there are now! I believe this experience will allow you to grow and promote a better crop of hair as a result, as the afro hair never really reverts back from flat or ceramic heat styling. The good thing is the pat method of pating down the longer parts of your natural to blend in w/the shorter parts. Godspeed!

  8. Honey

    Regarding styling options, you can have a tapered back (kitchen) and longer top. You may want to add a touch of color to your longer strands to make your style pop. Blow dry heat is fine as long as you start by drying your ends working up towards your roots.

  9. Tesha

    After one dominical blow-out, I am currently waiting for the back of my hair to grow out enough to cut my stringy ends. I will cut what hasnt fallen out anyways O(

  10. ebonee

    i feel you pain I have heat damage in my hair in the front. but im unsure how much and will it revert back. I just did my bc and dont want to cut it. i would say do more dc and see what happens but alsodo some styles that will not make it noticable, or use curling rods at the ends to help out with the curl pattern.

  11. Jr Jeremy

    The Shielo Leave in Protectant was recommended to me by my hairstylist a few months ago after my hair suffered major heat damage due to excessive flat ironing and blowdrying. In just a few minutes, the Shielo Protectant transformed my hair completely and I definitely noticed a difference after just one use. I cannot stop touching my hair – it went from dry, damaged, and dull to shiny, healthy, and super soft. It is a little expensive, but it is a great investment and this product lasts for a long time ( I only use it 1-2 times a week because that is plenty).

  12. Adrienne

    I UNDERSTAND!!! A couple weeks ago I went to have my hair straightened to get it trimmed. My curl is burnt out around my crown.I have been natural for 5 and a half years. 😦 I hate that I have to start over again, and I miss my hair. I’ve just been braiding it until I can put my twist extensions in. I really don’t even want to look at my hair, so I think that may be the best route. I may cut it after a few rounds of twists. Needless to say I shall NOT be going to another salon unless have done more extensive homework. But on positive note, at least now when I start I’ll know what I’m doing, what my hair needs, and how to achieve it. It’s going to be okay. It’s just an unexpected turn in the journey. Peace.

  13. Apples Landrum


    I know this is a late response, but usually one has to ‘cut’ the heat damaged hair. I’ve been natural since 2002 (several BCs, transitional states, styles, products, presses, even one slip-up on re-perming, etc.) and my hair was heat damaged one time.
    —-I use to let a old black lady ol’skool press (hot comb over fire w/A LOT of grease) my hair and I noticed the SAME issue. It didn’t bother me too much b/c at the time, ‘natural’ hair wasn’t “the thing to do” or “socially accepted” therefore I was use to the stares, comments, jokes, and the non-knowledge regarding why some of my coils were loose curls!

    Some say you can’t or shouldn’t press your own hair: I disagree. Remember, ALWAYS use heat protective serums and (depending on the texture of your hair) the amount of heat (fine hair, low to med. heat; strong hair, med. to high heat….constantly moving the heat…example: going SUPER slow down the strand thinking more direct heat at that moment will make it straighter, quicker: wrong!)
    —-I never damaged my hair while pressing at home! Even till this day!

    I absolutely LOVE the Dominican blowout!! Wash, deep condition, comb-out (I’m tender headed), roller set, under the dryer, blow dried, then pressed cycle. It last me (a VERY active and sweaty at the scalp type chick) a month and two weeks! I wrapped my hair every-single-day (makes a major difference). My lady charges $68 in Houston, TX.

    Products, products, products. I use ‘the basics’, as in for Softee grease, or African oil, Olive oil heat protective serum (& it’s other products), head and shoulders 2 in 1 (or random CHEAP shampoo/conditioner), etc.. People in the 60s, 70s, 90s (braids era) they didn’t use all of these EXPENSIVE products and they had huge, beautiful, healthy hair! I stick with that concept!

    Also, be sure to ask yourself this question: IF NO ONE ELSE WAS ROCKING NATURAL HAIR…WOULD YOU STILL GO OR BE ‘NATURAL’? if the HONEST answer is NO…don’t feel bad and do what makes YOU happy! After-all, it’s just hair!!! (India Arie “I am not my hair”)

    **did not proofread**

  14. shan

    I to can identify with the comments I read I myself has been on a hair journey from the ages of 16 to 20 I’ve had relaxed hair and texturized hair I didn’t have much problems with my relaxed hair until I had bad splits ends etc… till one day I decided to big chop I cut my next length hair bald in November 2014 and 3 months later I had 3 inches of hair I decided to straighten it to see the length more clearly and 3 days later I had extreme heat damage my afro hair wouldn’t curl and it was fried omg I couldn’t believe so I cut my hair to a level 1 which is close to bald hair, however now I look at this I’m glad because I won’t be using heat for a very long time and I no what to avoid so the best thing to do it cut it off however do try to condition your hair but you will no when you need to cut if of when it won’t curl and when it’s dry and brittle.

    1. Ttotslly

      My natural journey sounds a lot like yours. Six months after my big chop, when I took the sew-in out, my hair was so healthy and beautiful. Then about two months later I had a beautician to talk me into straightening (burning) my hair to trim it which ended up being a two to three inches cut off of my 5 1/2 to 6 inches of hair and hot curl. Now, I know her reason was to cut off what was burned out. I smelled the burned hair however was not certain it was actually damaged. I noticed my hair was no longer looking healthy or growing and the crown of my head was burned to a numb which I thought was thinning due to medicine. Silly me, still in denial that she could have possibly burned my hair out….went back to her to get it pressed again a month ago. My thoughts were possibly straightening it would spar regrowth. On that visit after the over pressing she suggested I let her trim my hair at that time (lol). I asked her what hair? I said I no longer have any hair to trim (only two and half to three inches currently). I explained that my objective for going natural was to regrow my long (10 – 12 inches) hair back thick and healthy. p Well, I noticed a few days after that visit that my then damaged hair was more damaged a fried. Back to square one on a journey to regrow my hair back healthy, long and thick. I am also focusing on conditioning and regrowing my hair in the crown of may head, along the edges around my ears and my nape which are badly damaged, thin, excessively short (almost bald). I have also consulted with my dermatologist to get help. My hair has never taken this long to grow back in the past however, I’ve never taken it through this much repetitive successive trauma either. (smh).

  15. jai_tro

    I used olive oil and eggs
    I coated my hair and put them in twists and let it sit for 3 hours
    I wash my hair moisturize with mizani or doo gro and twisted it with beeswax
    I did this treatment twice a weak for 3 weeks now and my hair is almost back to normal. Protein is good

    I also wash with mane n tail

  16. BNYC500

    Daily heat from the hot iron will strip your hair of moisture. This causes quite a bit of unnecessary damage – If heat is needed, aim to keep the temperature below 400 degrees. You also should use a Leave in Heat Protector before you hot iron. I use the Shielo Leave in Protector before I hot iron or blow dry. Plus it leaves my hair smelling great for two days. NO BURNT HAIR SMELL

  17. afrokinkyhair

    Hey Tonya! You have heat damage on your hair and I personally do not think that your hair can be saved. You can try different treatments to see if it will revert to your natural texture over a few weeks but I highly doubt it will change. I would remove the damage and let my hair grow out again.

  18. Tina

    Well, I think this answers my question. I have had my hair natural for 7-8 years this time around. It had been colored and when I got about three inches of new growth I cut off all of the color. I had the bright idea to flat iron it. Loved the results as did my family and coworkers. After two weeks of straight hair, I washed it so. I could revert back to my natural state and alas, some of my hair forgot what it was supposed to look like. Thankfully most of it is around the edges above my ears and my nape so I can make it work. I’ll settle in for the natural state to grow out some more and then cut it again. I’m not really feeling a TWA right now.

  19. blissful

    The very first time I had a silk belowout I got heat damage, everyone told me i needed to cut it off but I never did. It took awhile but it did revert to its natural texture.


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