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Heat Training Hair: A Balanced View

Hot comb and straightener Since featuring Brittany, an avid heat training enthusiast, on the website a few weeks ago, I have had few emails and comments suggesting that I give a more balanced view on the subject so here it is!

So what is heat training? From my research online, I have found two definitions for it.

► Using heat often to straighten natural hair so that it does not revert easily in response to atmospheric humidity. Pretty self explanatory and this is probably the more common understanding of heat training.

Virgin black natural hair is notoriously difficult to keep dead straight and will normally start poofing up within hours of being straightened. People however have found that the more they straighten, the longer they can wear it straight without it reverting.

Using high heat to straighten natural hair with multiple passes to both assist with preventing easy reversion but more importantly to change the texture of the natural hair. Essentially texturizing the hair with heat, also known as Thermal Texturizing. This is heat training as I have come to understand it recently and probably the source of all the controversy.

Ok, right off the bat let’s address the fact that heat training is not a new technique. We are all familiar with the hot combs and Marcels used by our mums and aunties back in the day to straighten their hair, they obviously noticed that their hair did not look quite the same when they next washed it, results that were only more pronounced the more they visited the stylist for yet another press and curl.

I have written before about a friend who would brag about her leave out hair that she used to blend with her straight weave. ‘It doesn’t kink up any more’ she would say happy as Larry! I might add that her hair never grew past shoulder length.

Looking at heat training by the second definition I will use Brittany as an example as many of you have probably watched her videos on the subject but just in case, here she is in her own words on what heat training is and what it is not. My take on it is after the videos.


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About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.

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  1. 1

    Thanks for the more balanced view, but in the light of the fact that your hair can be permanently changed using this process, it is unlikely the hydrogen bond. Also gradually loosening or burnt straight are both forms of damage, one more extreme than the other, but at the very least at least you seem to be calling a spade a spade. You did admit it is a form of damage, which other sites seem unable to do.

  2. 2
    Seafoam5111 says:

    i have always had “good hair” and coincidingly has been way past my shoulders for as long as i can remember but when i was 10, i blew it out and flat ironed it for the first time. it didn’t stay straight for very long but i was only my first experience. for the next few years, i alternated pressing it and twists and during then, i have had regular deep conditions. my hair has been growing thicker when straight, longer, and my kinks have been loosening as well. so, as long as you do it right, heat training is fine :) i hope this helps

  3. 3

    Thank you for this article. One thing I find is that a lot of people don’t see that no matter what you do you will damage your hair if you manipulate it in ANY WAY. This is not the end of the world. It is just a matter of choosing your preferred poison. Yes of course we all know that relaxing and heat styling damage hair in varying degrees depending on the application, method used and the temperament of the hair.

    Why is it that no one is willing to admit that simply combing your hair is a way to damage it? Washing your hair to often or to little can also have damaging effects. It is like anything else in life to much of anything is not usually good. It is up to the individual to find the correct balance to achieved the desired results

    This is about personal choice if you find that manual damage is more acceptable to you then chemical or thermal then that is fine but lets not pretend that anyone’s way is better as a rule. What ever your choice just be sure that they type of manipulation you choose allows you to enjoy your hair in the way you want desire.

    • 4

      Absolutely. I agree ANY manipulation will damage your hair, but not everything is breakage causing damage!

    • 5

      I agree. It is up to the individual and their personal preferences and it’s about discovering what works best for you and your hair…

  4. 6

    exactly…if  hv natural hair and u tear and rip through it…its breaking

  5. 7

    I have started to texturize my hair for a few months and I have not done any hair styles that add heat to my hair, recently I just pressed my hair for my graduation. When I washed my hair out it took a little while for the hair to revert back, but the front is still straight. The roots are curley but it seems to not curl when it becomes wet. Will my hair revert back since its the first time I pressed it out, and I dont have any heat damage? Or will the front just stay straight? What can I do to help revert the hair back? 

  6. 8
    Faye Wallace says:

    I concur with your take on it. When I was growing up, my hair was heat trained. It didn’t revert in the rain but if I got my hair washed it would curl right back up! It didn’t damage my hair or make my hair break off at all. Relaxing it did however, and that is why I am going back natural again. I love the versatility of natural hair and am not a natural nazi so I will be straightening and coloring my hair as much as like and as much as my hair can stand and still be healthy! Thank you for this post!

  7. 9

    Nooooooooo. NEVER!!! I have it pressed out right now, been a week, and I miss my curls!

  8. 10

    No…I came too far trying to NATURAL TRAIN my damn hair…count me out!

  9. 11

    NO Heat plz……

  10. 12

    Not worth my curl pattern! !!!

  11. 13

    Yes. I am transitioning right now and have been flat ironing my hair. I haven’t decided how I’m going to wear it once all the relaxing has been cut out but haven’t rules out wearing it straight.

  12. 14

    Once you straighten your hair by any means…’s no longer in it’s natural state…. is it???

  13. 16

    Why use them? You are beautiful just the way you are! <3

  14. 17

    I’m trying to untrain the top of my hair now

  15. 18

    I love the diversity of straight and curly : )

  16. 19

    Angelique Estella i was just talking bout this!

  17. 20

    NEVER!!!! I had straight hair long enough and don’t miss it! My natural hair is luxurious :) If I need to see my length, I will do a wet set. No direct heat.

  18. 21

    There’s nothing wrong with straightening your hair every now and then. Sometimes we need a new look and as long as you take care of it your curl pattern will always come back.

  19. 22

    I had my straighten. I loved it but it became a hassle having to straighten it everyday. I go to the gym 4 to 5 times a week and I was having to straighten it every morning.

  20. 23

    That is called heat damage.

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