How to fix burnt hair from flat iron

Flat irons are some of the best options if we want to straighten our hair. The final result is usually a smooth, shiny and sleek look. However, if there are some mistakes that are made during the flat ironing process, you may end up suffering from heat damage. In the unfortunate event that heat damage happens, do you know how to fix burnt hair from flat iron?

I shared my heat damage story on this post. I suffered hair breakage as a result of heat damage after blowing drying my mane.

Just as is the case with blow-drying, regular flat iron use can do a number on your hair.

Not only are you putting your hair at the risk of heat-related damage, but you also run the risk of damaging your scalp with repeated exposure to high temperatures.

All hope is not lost though. You can restore your fried and frizzy locks to their natural, healthy glory with the following tips.

Use olive oil

Immediately your hair is burnt, look for olive oil. Use a pea-sized amount and run through the burnt parts to prevent the damage from spreading.

This will instantly smooth out and remove the straw-like texture that is common with burnt hair.

Olive oil can also mask the smell of burnt hair. It has a great moisturizing effect and strengthens the burnt hair by penetrating the hair shaft and preserving moisture.

At a time when your hair has literally been fried, you need moisture.

This means that olive oil is used as a conditioner is this case, in a bid to add moisture and softness to the burnt area.

If you don’t have olive oil at hand, you can use any hydrating leave-in conditioner. The goal is to moisturize the burnt part.


Deep condition on a regular basis

Deep conditioning can help prevent further damage to your hair. You need to replenish the lost keratin and give your hair a healthy shine.

Keratin is a protein that is the key structural material that makes up a hair strand. It strengthens hair to help prevent things like chemical damage, heat damage, and breakage.

There are deep conditioning treatments made specifically for damaged hair.

You can do the treatment at home. To get the best results, cover your hair in a shower cap after application and leave it on for 10-20 minutes.

This is often enough time for the protein in the treatment to settle into the damaged hair strands and fill them in, giving you healthier-looking hair.

It’s advisable to do this about once or twice a week, as you carefully observe whether the condition of the hair strands is improving.

You can also do this at a hair salon. Book a session with your hairdresser and explain the situation.

An experienced professional will advise you on the deep conditioners in the market that will be perfect for your hair.


Use the right shampoo and conditioner

Buy a shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for dry and damaged hair. These often come with keratin and other proteins that will restore your damaged hair shaft.

They are also formulated to be more hydrating so that your hair stays soft when dry.  

The ideal shampoo should have rich formulas start to work at the root. It should also be able to lock in moisture and strengthen ends to prevent and heal split ends.

Shampoo that contains nutrients, antioxidants, ceramides, and UVA/UVB protectors is highly recommended.

You may also want to go for shampoos that contain glycerin. This is because glycerin is a great humectant. It pulls moisture from the air and adds it back to dry hair strands.

Having glycerin as one of the ingredients in shampoos specially made for damaged hair is a plus.

A good conditioner for damaged hair should be able to work from root to tip to boost vitality and overall hair health.

The cracks in your hair cuticles need to be filled. This can be done using a protein-based conditioner that is also great in smoothing flyaways.

An ideal conditioner will help restore the damaged strands and leave your hair soft, sleek and shiny.


Hot oil treatments

This tip is not the same as using a pinch of olive oil on your hair immediately the heat damage occurs.

This is one of the easy tips for someone trying to find out how to fix burnt hair from a flat iron.

A hot oil treatment is the act of using heat and oil to moisturize your hair. This can be done in two ways.

The first method involves heat one type of oil or a blend of many oils and then applying it on your hair. Be careful not to use very hot oil that might end up burning you.

Gently massage the oil on your scalp and then cover it with a shower cap for about 30 minutes before washing your hair.

The second method involves applying a generous amount of the oil(s) of your choice into your hair and scalp.

Cover with a plastic cap and apply heat for 30-45 minutes.

To apply heat, you can choose to sit under a hooded dryer, wrap your head with hot towels, or using a heat cap.

Wash your hair after the time is up.

Burnt hair is dry and brittle. Hot oil treatments help to replenish oils back into the hair strands.

This, therefore, helps to prevent breakage which can be caused by the brittleness of the burnt strands.


Use heat-free alternatives

There are a number of heat-free alternatives that you can use to straighten your hair.

Since you want to avoid subjecting your hair to further damage, steering clear of any hot tools is the best way to go.

You can still attain a sleek, frizz-free look without using heat styling appliances.

First, use a leave-in conditioner to keep the frizz at bay. You can also opt for hair serums that keep the hair hydrated and soft all day.

If you have naturally wavy or curly hair, use curl enhancers to give your curls or waves body and shine.

You can also opt for various hairstyles, like a classic French braid or a fuss-free ponytail to give yourself a new look without damaging your locks. 

If you have type 4 hair, there are various ways you can stretch your hair without putting it into direct contact with heat.

You can band your hair using elastic bands, do African threading, do bantu knots or bun your hair. You can also do twist outs, braid outs or use roller sets without heat.

Since my heat damage incident, I like to minimize the use of heat styling appliances.


Transition for a while

Let’s be honest. In most cases, heat damage is so severe it cannot be reversed. The methods discussed above can only do so much to fix the situation.

Since many women view chopping off the burnt hair as the last option, you can try to transition for a while.

This involves letting your hair grow to a length that you are comfortable with and then finally chop off the damaged ends.

During the transitioning period, observe the best hair care practices.

Do all the things I’ve mentioned: deep condition your hair regularly, use shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair and stay away from heat styling appliances.

This is because the line of demarcation where the two textures meet is very weak and needs to be protected.

Otherwise, it’ll end up breaking off before your transition period is over.

Some experts say that it’s better off to just cut off the damaged ends.

They explain that this is because the damage will travel beyond the line of demarcation, and you’ll end up cutting more than you initially expected.

This is one of the practical tips you can use if you are wondering how to fix burnt hair from a flat iron.


Cut off the damaged hair

I’m sure this is not the kind of tip many ladies want to hear but it’s actually the best option.

This is how I dealt with heat damage a few years ago.

Sometimes the heat damage is so bad that none of the above tips can salvage the situation.

In my case, my hair had weakened so much after the heat damage and breakage occurred soon after.

For ladies who don’t want to do a big chop, you can start by regular trimming.

Trimming can help stimulate the growth of new, healthy hair.

Experts recommend a trim every three weeks. During this time, it helps to swear off any styling tools that could damage your new growth.

Also avoid chemical processing, like hair relaxers and hair colors since these are also very harsh on new hair growth.  


How to prevent getting heat damage from flat irons

There are a few things you can do to avoid getting heat damage in the future.

Keep the heat to a minimum

If you must use a flat iron, keep the heat to minimum levels. Use the lowest heat setting for the hair type. For instance, for fine hair, use the warm setting.

Pass the flat iron plates rapidly through the hair once. Do not go over the hair again.

This will reduce the amount of damage that your hair is exposed to while allowing you to style your hair any way you want.

Ensure your hair is dry

You should dry your hair completely before you use heat styling appliances such as flat irons.

Air dry your hair or dry it thoroughly using a t-shirt before using a blow dryer to completely dry it off.

If you attempt to flat iron wet hair, it will lead to steam damage which can be viewed as boiling your hair from outside. This will result in heat damage.

Use a heat protectant

It’s important to a heat protectant on your hair before flat ironing your hair. This is because it creates a protective barrier between your hair and the flat iron.

This barrier helps to seal in moisture, helping to protect your hair strands from damage as I wrote about in this post.

Using a moisturizing shampoo

Before straightening your hair, ensure that your hair is squeaky clean. It’s advisable to use a moisturizing shampoo to clean your hair and get rid of dirt and build-up.

You can also go for a clarifying shampoo if you have a lot of product build-up or in instances when quite a lot of residue has accumulated in your hair.

Use a deep conditioner with protein

A deep conditioner with protein, especially keratin, is highly recommended for people who want to straighten their hair using a flat iron.

It helps strengthen the hair strands before heat styling.

Ladies with high porosity hair regularly use protein deep conditioners to repair and reconstruct their hair.

This treatment can also be used by people with low porosity hair who tend to be protein-sensitive. They, however, should use it occasionally to avoid suffering from dry and brittle hair which is caused by protein-overload.

Flat iron occasionally

I cut down my blow-drying frequency to once or twice a year after suffering from heat damage.

In the same way, you should also reduce the number of times you straighten your hair using a flat iron.

For my type 4 hair sisters, frequent flat ironing can change your curl pattern. When this happens, no matter how many times you wash your hair, the culrs just won’t come back.

Hair shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair. Heat damage manifests itself when someone straightens their natural hair but when they wash it, it does not revert back to its curly/coily state.

This may mean you have to cut off the damaged hair.

Seek straightening alternatives

You can avoid heat damage by choosing to stretch and style your hair using heat.

Type 4 hair ladies can choose to use rollers set without heat, band their hair with elastic bands or do African threading.

Braid outs and twist outs are also good alternatives.



Flat irons are great tools to get sleek and pin-straight hair, but all that heat can do your locks more harm than good.

If you get heat damage, deep condition your hair on a regular basis. Use shampoos and conditioners for damaged hair, as well as other tips discussed above.

To avoid suffering from heat damage again, you should always protect your hair even after the initial problem has been addressed.

Better yet, avoid using a flat iron, even for just a few months. Your hair will thank you.

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