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Hair Care Tips: How To Fix And Prevent Heat-Damaged Hair

Last updated Jun 25, 2024

Obsessed with the results of your favorite flat iron or curling wand?Tight afro curls? Big Hollywood waves? Sexy beach waves? However, these heat styling tools have already caused much damage to our hair. Luckily, there is some useful advice on how to fix heat-damaged hair, read on to learn how to repair heta-damaged hair or signs of heat damaged hair.

What Is Heat Damaged Hair?


Heat-damage hair is hair damaged by excessive heat/heated styling tools.

What Does Heat Damaged Hair Look Like?

In addition to looser curls and straighter strands, heat-damaged hair won’t hold moisture as well as healthy hair, which leads to dry, brittle strands. Besides, it may feel dry and stringy to the touch and break or tangle easily. Lastly, you may have split ends, frizz, and visible damage along the hair shaft.

How To Tell If Your Hair Is Heat Damaged?

Are you wondering whether your hair is actually heat-damaged or just be a little dry? In fact, the telltale signs of heat-damaged hair are pretty evident. For example, after one too many blow-dry sessions, your hair may start to show the signs of over-styling: It’s harder to manage, and it doesn’t hold its shape as well when you style it.

To help you know if your hair is heat-damaged, here’s a quick list of some common signs of heat damaged hair. Once you’ve one of these signs, it means some damage has been done:

1. You can see plenty of split ends or breakage;

2. White nodules are at the end of your hair shaft;

3. Your hair is overly dry;

4. Your hair has a rough or brittle hair texture;


5. You are difficult to style your hair or brush it out;

6. Your hair tangles and knots easily;

7. Loss of your hair’s usual shine

8. Your tresses lack elasticity;

y It’s also worth adding here that heat-damaged hair exists on a spectrum. How to treat heat-damaged hair depends on the severity and your hair type. Now, let us learn which severity levels of heat-damaged hair have. There are three levels of damaged hair.

Level one damage includes lifted cuticles that create a jagged appearance, but the cortex is not completely exposed: lightly less shiny and thinner ends.

Level two hair has experienced abrasions to the cuticles, which means the cortex below has been exposed: Your hair color may fade, your hair feels rough, and you have split ends.

Level three is the most extreme damage. The cuticles are the most damaged at this level and parts of the cuticles may be missing completely: The hair feels very rough and coarse, dull, with tangles and knots, and breaking off easily.

To understand the extent of the damage to your hair, consider the following:

Have you applied chemical treatments like perms or relaxers to your hair?

Do you rub your hair with a towel after you shower?

Do you bleach or color your hair often?

Do you skip moisturizing products post-shower?

Do you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun?

Do you tend to brush your hair aggressively to work through knots?

If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these questions, your hair might have been further damaged by environmental or mechanical factors in addition to heat.

What Causes Heat Damaged Hair?

As the above mention, heat-damaged hair is caused by using hot tools on a regular basis. For instance, you blow-dry, flat iron, or curl your hair at the highest temperature settings over an extended period of time. Most hot tools reach temperatures of more than 400°F, all types of hair from pin straight to tightly curled can not handle such high heat, thus occurring heat damage.


To test and tell if your hair is heat-damaged hair, pull a strand of hair from your head after you shower, wet it, and then carefully pull the strand from both ends.

If the hair stretches approximately one-third before returning to its normal length, your hair might just be dry but has not been heat-damaged.

If the strand only stretches a small amount and doesn't stretch at all, or breaks when you stretch it, you’re getting heat-damaged hair.

How To Fix Heat-damaged Hair Fast

Treatment options for heat damage will vary according to how damaged your hair is and your hair type.

1. Curly Hair

Heat damage isn’t kind to curly hair, resulting in frizz, tangles, and an unpredictable texture. To restore natural curl patterns to heat-damaged hair, focus on sealing moisture back into your hair follicle.

In this case, hair masks and deep-conditioning treatments that are rich in moisturizing ingredients, such as shea butter and argan oil, can help bring your hair back to its bouncy best. Of course, it is an excellent option for you to choose moisture-rich conditioners with coconut oil, avocado, or aloe vera to repair heat-damaged hair.


In addition, avoid shampooing your heat-damaged curly hair daily, as shampoo strips hair of its natural oils. Only apply shampoo to your scalp and the roots of your hair. Wash your hair once every couple of days — at least until your hair starts to retain its curly shape again.

2. Straight Hair

Heat damage can make straight hair appear dry and brittle. It can cause many split ends and make it harder for your hair to lie flat. To get your hair back to its glossiest, please focus on restoring its natural proteins.


A DIY hair mask may be able to improve the look of your heat-damaged straight hair for a night out, but that won’t solve long-term heat damage.

Why not consider having a leave-in protein treatment with yogurt, honey, and olive oil? It can help restore the natural bonds in your heat-damaged straight hair so that damage is less obvious. And conditioning sprays rich in keratin can also soothe broken bonds in the hair follicles.

3. Chemically Treated Hair

Coloring your hair with bleach or styling hair frequently can result in heat damage. To help hair that has heat damage from chemical treatment, you may need to ask for some help from the salon or hairstylist where your hair was treated.


A hair mask or professional deep-conditioning treatment may be the first step to restoring the sheen of your hair. Hot oil treatments designed for home use are another option.

While you wait for chemically treated hair to recover from heat damage, try not to wash your hair every day, and avoid using hot styling tools completely, which is especially important in the days right after you bleach or perm your hair.

How To Prevent Heat-damaged Hair

There’s not always a tonne you can do to completely fix heat-damage curly hair. Below are some tips you can get ride of heat-damaged hair and protect and strengthen your strands.

1. Regularly trim to manage and remove split ends, which can get rid of the most damaged parts of your hair, and it helps prevent the splits from moving further up the strands.

2. Rinse your hair with cool water, which can help seal the hair cuticle after a shower.

3. Switch to moisturizing or damage-repairing shampoos and conditioners and choose ones that are free of sulfates and parabens. After showering, apply products that help rehydrate your hair, such as argan or jojoba oil and leave-in conditioners.

4. Use a microfiber towel on your hair after washing, which can help speed up the drying process and seal the hair cuticle, which also means less time spent under the blow dryer.

5. Sleep on a satin pillowcase to make your hairstyles last longer. It means less fuss in the morning, less frequent shampoos, and a happier head of hair.


6. Reduce the frequency of heat! Experts recommend limiting the use of hot styling tools to once per week. Or you can use hair rollers or wraps to curl or straighten your hair without heat.

7. Try to let your hair air dry whenever possible.

8. When you must use a blow dryer, always keep your blow dryer 5 inches or more from the surface of your hair while using it. And make sure your hair is damp (not wet!) before starting. After all, blow-drying dripping wet hair is harsh on the protective outer layers of your hair and can lead to heat damage.

9. Turn down the heat on your curling wand, flat iron, blow dryer, etc. Lower temperatures mean less potential heat damage. Although it will be harder to get the look you want, try to stay under 350°F/175°C or 375°F/190°C.

10. Use a heat protectant! Heat protectants contain silicones that reduce potential heat damage from flat irons while adding a little shine, and reducing frizz. Apply yours to damp hair before blow-drying to keep the moisture locked in.

11. Try some protective styles, such as V part wigs, U part wigs, headband wigs, glueless HD lace wigs, and so on. These wigs not only can give you a natural look, but also protect your natural hair from heat damage. Since they are made of 100% virgin human hair they can be dyed, permed, bleached, highlighted, straightened, or styled as your own hair according to your need.

FAQs About Heat-damaged Hair

1. How Long Does It Take to Repair Heat Damaged Hair?

The result depends on each particular case. It’s much easier to restore heat-damaged hair at an early stage. For example, you may require a month of treating your locks with specific nourishing products to make them look shiny and healthy again.

However, if your hair is severely damaged, this process to treat heat-damaged hair may take up to half a year. It is better to chop off the damaged strands, and sometimes even need to go for a big chop.

2. Can You Reverse Heat-damaged Hair?

The answer is no, heat damage is irreversible. Once the protein bonds are broken and the hair cuticles are cracked, the inner cortex is exposed to all types of damage. With the cortex exposed, your hair will become weaker and less pliable.

3. Can Heat-damaged Hair Still Grow?

As we all know, hair grows from the root. So heat damage won't stop the growth of your hair completely, but it may slow it down. If your hair is dry and brittle, it may lead to breakage and split ends, thus affecting hair growth.

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