Can Heat Damaged Hair Be Repaired?

Can Heat Damaged Hair Be Repaired

The easiest way to style hair is by using hot tools like flat irons, blow dryers, and curling irons. But, over time, these hair styling techniques damage hair. In the quest to know how to fix heat damaged hair, we must first understand what heat damaged hair, its levels, and what causes the real issue.

What Is Heat Damaged Hair?

heat damaged hair

The luxury of self-styling makes these tools a must-have in every household. These tools help to achieve a great look at the comfort of home. But they also make your hair prone to heat damage as they usually do not have temperature control. Also, it is tempting to go to maximum heat level for the best result.

So, while you achieve the elegant, perfect style of either straight or curly hair, the high temperature undesirably affects hair health.

How Does Heat Damage The Hair?

How does heat damage the hair

The human hair has three distinct layers- the cortex, cuticle, and medulla. The medulla is not affected by heat, but the cortex and cuticle can easily be damaged when exposed to a high temperature.

The hair has a cortex that makes them elastic and firm. This cortex is shielded by the cuticle. When the hair is heated, the cuticle breaks and the cortex becomes prone to damage. This makes the hair weak, inelastic, and vulnerable to rupture. 

Such damage is irreversible as protein bonds and cuticles are permanently damaged, making hair weak and less supple. Such hair strands start splitting at the ends, and slowly the hair shaft splits multiple times, worsening the damage. As the hair becomes too weak, the ends will snap off, leaving frizzy hairs.

Symptoms Of Heat Damaged Hairs

How To Know If Your Hair Is Heat Damaged? 

The easiest way to check if the hair has been damaged by heat is a simple self-test

  1. Wet your hair and pull a strand out. 
  2. Holding the hair between the thumb and forefinger, gently pull. 
  3. If the hair strand stretches at least one-third before returning to its normal length, it has not been damaged. 
  4. If the strand doesn’t stretch or stretches only a little or breaks while stretching, then it is heat damaged.

Levels Of Heat Damaged Hairs

Level 1: This damage is observed if the cortex has been slightly exposed to heat and hair strands have lifted cuticles. Such hair is thin at the ends and somewhat less shiny.

Level 2: This damage is experienced when the cortex has been exposed too much, and the heat also damages the inner cortex. It damages the cuticles making hair rough and having split ends.  

Level 3: Such damage is seen when the cuticles are entirely damaged and missed. The cortex is fully exposed to the external environment and becomes weak, rough, and coarse. The hair becomes dull, tangled, breaks off, and falls easily.

How To Treat Heat Damaged Hair?

The best way to avoid heat damage to hair is to stop using such heat tools. However, if the damage has already been done, there are ways to manage it and maintain hair to avoid further damage.

Here are the tips on how to fix heat damaged hair:

  • If the hair has been severely damaged at the ends, cut off the affected part to prevent it from spreading. Get the hair adequately checked by an expert to assess the extent of damaged hair and remove it.
  • If you are not ready to reduce the length of your hair, you might opt for hair treatment options to minimize the feeling of damage and make the hair look better. Such treatment can help undamaged hair stay stronger to sustain the hair.
  • Get the hair regularly trimmed to remove the split ends. Once the split is removed, it prevents the splitting from moving upwards.
  • Avoid using heat tools as much as possible. Let the hairs dry out naturally. If you really need to use the heating tools, set the temperature to a lower range. Also, ensure that blow drying is done from a distance.
  • Always apply a heat protectant to reduce hair damage during heating.
  • Use a satin-covered pillow at night.
  • Use a microfiber towel to dry pat your hair. Do not rub the hair while drying it.
  • Apply a generous amount of moisturizing or damage-repairing shampoos and conditioners, preferably that are free of sulfates and parabens.
  • Use conditioners after showering to lock in the moisturizer and rehydrate your hair.
  • Regularly massage your hair with oil. Oiling not only retains moisture but also helps hair to regain its smoothness and luster. The oil acts as a protective outer layer, provides deep conditioning, and prevents hair from directly contacting the external environment. 
  • Choose suitable oils like coconut, olive, castor, etc. according to your hair type. Also, massaging the scalp with oil increases blood flow, promoting hair growth. After massaging, cover your hair with a soft cotton towel dipped in hot water. This provides steam that helps the hair cuticles to open up and oil to penetrate more in the scalp and the hair strands.
  • Use natural shampoo free from sodium lauric acid, formaldehyde, parabens, and other synthetic fragrances. A natural shampoo (preferably containing biotin) stimulates follicle growth and improves hair health. If you do not have the time and patience to use natural shampoo, you prefer buying mild shampoo that gently removes the product buildup.
  • Regularly use natural ingredients like vitamin E oil, glycerine, and aloe vera gel to lock in hair moisturizer.
  • Use ultra-nourishing natural masks made of oil and fruits to soothe and heal heat damaged hair.
  • Natural ingredients like Epsom salt and tea (green tea, peppermint tea, hibiscus tea, chamomile tea, and black tea) also improve hair and scalp health. Their stimulating effect activates the cuticles and hair follicles, promoting hair growth.
  • Regularly use a cool mist humidifier to restore heat damaged hair.


The heat damaged hair can improve with proper care. Depending on the extent of damage and hair type, this process may take a few weeks to several months to see noticeable changes. The key to regaining natural luster is patiently caring for the damaged hair and providing suitable treatment for fast recovery.

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