Heat Trained Natural Hair

By . - Monday, May 28, 2012

I had no idea what heat training was when I first heard the term. Applying direct heat to my hair is always something I allow myself to do once or twice per month for a special occasion. I always make sure to use a heat protectant with direct heat. I would be mortified if my natural curls didn't come back after a flat iron session. Let's learn what this heat training business is all about.

•What Is Heat Training?•

Heat training is a process where you loosen your natural curl pattern with the gradual use of direct heat. This can be done with a hot comb, flat iron or blow dryer at the lowest possible temperature.

•What's The Difference Between Heat Trained & Heat Damaged?•

There is no difference between heat trained and heat damaged hair, because the hair will not revert to it's original curl pattern when exposed to moisture again. Heat has permanently altered the curl pattern. The heat trained hair must be grown out to get the original curl pattern back. 

•What Are The Pros & Cons?•


  • Less tangles
  • Less single strand knots
  • You may retain more length because of the two above points


  • Your hair is heat damaged
  • Your original curl pattern is gone
  • You may experience breakage, which may lead to no length retention

I couldn't see myself intentionally heat training my hair, because I love my curls and the current versatility I have. I believe that I would sooner relax my hair before heat training. That's my opinion...what's yours?

Would you consider heat training as an alternative to altering the curl pattern of your natural hair?

Have a Good Hair Day!!!

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  1. I stay off heat, cos I love my curl patterns. Whats the use of heat training when I can as well relax my hair?

  2. You mentioned: "Applying direct heat to my hair is always something I allow myself to do once or twice per month for a special occasion."
    Once or twice per month? Isn't that even more often than heat trainers do?
    Well, I must say I have nothing against heat training. In my eyes it seems less toxic than putting Sodium Hydroxide on your scalp and it seems that most of the girls in YT that achieve waist lenght 4b/4c hair do, or have done heat training at some point of their journey.
    Like you though, I am a bit afraid of my hair becoming bone straight, but if I heat trained and it became 4a all over my head or 3c or wathever,I would be happy, since my goal is not a specific texture, but long hair (with curls or maybe even waves).

    1. I have to be honest and say that heat trainers use heat in all different ways, so I can't really say if I use direct heat more than anyone else. All I know is that I allow myself a heat pass once or twice a month, because the way I have to prepare my hair for heat is so involved that I only allows for a max of twice a month. I love my curls and I love my straight hair, but most of all, I love the versatility. Thanks for the comment.

    2. I agree it's about long and tangle free, texture is good but not the goal

  3. it really irritates me that whites, Indians, Spanish, and other races can blow dry amd flat iron their hair and they are still considered natural with undamaged hair but when black people do it it's damaged hair even when the hair reverts back we call it damaged??? not everyone wants to airdry and wait till the next day to have dry hair. That does not mean blow drying to make the hair more manageable and dry quicker is a bad thing. All other races do it. why cant we? I always feel that black people are way to hard on themselves and their hair. putting everything in a box. if blow drying and flat ironing helps grows some natural hair long and thick how is it damage? i would think hair that is damage is hair that is neglected. before perms and relaxers we always use to press and hot comb our hair and it was longer and thicker then when relaxers came out that damaged our hair. I say it's time to go back to our roots.

    1. Hi anonymous, you sound angry. It sucks that this article brings you to such a place. I just want to state again as it was stated in the above post that heat damage is when the hair does not revert back to it's original curl pattern. The curl pattern ha been permanently altered much like a relaxer. People with afro texture hair can heat train and do heat train as they see fit. The facts still remain the same, the integrity of the hair shaft has been compromised and damaged in order to achieve the looser curl pattern. At the end of the day, I created this blog to share my knowledge. I don't have the time or desire to pass judgement. We just deal with the facts around here. Thanks for your comment.

  4. i'd had a positive experience with flat ironing my hair. i wasn't doing it for the purpose of curl loosening, but simply because i preferred straight hair. now after having experienced styling my hair air-dried and working with my natural curl pattern, for almost 2 years straight, i can now say that i know that heat training is for me, and preferred. less tangles less hassle and hair that is more predictable in general. i think heat training gets a lotta flak because it's not for everyone, and not everyone's hair can take it. another thing to look at is that not everyone goes about it the most safe way- from using bad, or low quality irons (which is where it starts) to not using the technique most appropriate for their hair, etc. But i actually succeeded in growing full 14 inch length heat trained hair prior to experimenting with wearing my hair in natural styles, and by all accounts, my hair was very healthy, although i attribute this largely to the fact that i didn't overdo the heat, i paid attention to my hair and trimmed whenever i saw my ends weather, and i religiously deep-conditioned. it's important to take the right precautions and be prepared for all the possible scenarios, and know when to back off when you start to notice your hair take a turn for the worse as a result of the practice (if it does at all). also, a lot of people go crazy when they flat iron their hair and start manipulating it like crazy, wearing it loose and wild and carefree all the time, playing in it more etc. but the same rules apply to heat trained hair care as to natural. protective styles are still your friend (best friend, in fact) if you heat train, and the less you comb/brush your hair the better. i used to go entire weeks of leaving my hair in the same single french braid without even combing it, which is why i retained length and the overall health of my hair. it's important to not neglect vigilance if you decide to heat train, because your hair is still just as fragile as it probly was natural, except just in a different way. now you no longer have to worry about tangles, per se, but your texture may still make your hair prone to general snagging at the ends. or perhaps as the heat degrades your hair's protein layers your hair becomes more weak, and therefore will need more protein reinforcement from products to restore the loss thereof, whereas without heat your hair might not have ever needed it. no matter which route one chooses (heat train or otherwise) the biggest aid to your hair journey is and always will be to pay attention to your hair and respond accordingly to its needs.


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