By Chin­we of Hair and Health

heat train­ing Noun
the loos­en­ing of one’s nat­u­ral curl pat­tern through the reg­u­lar appli­ca­tion of high heat.  This process is usu­al­ly grad­u­al and sub­tle. (Loo’s def­i­n­i­tion.)

Heat train­ing is essen­tial­ly a form of heat dam­age, which is why I have been so again­st the tech­nique for some years.  How­ev­er, my thoughts have changed recent­ly since see­ing a class of “healthy” heat-trained nat­u­rals arise.

“Healthy heat-trained hair” may seem like an oxy­moron but I can argue the same with “healthy hair”.  Our strands face dam­age on a reg­u­lar basis through sun expo­sure, styling, wash­ing, detan­gling, and oth­er forms of wear and tear.  So where do we drawn the line between what is healthy hair and what is not?  I think it rea­son­able to draw it between hair that is strong and sup­ple (healthy) and that which is break­ing and brit­tle (unhealthy). To me, hair that retains a rea­son­able lev­el of strength and sup­ple­ness is hair that is healthy.  That being said, there is such a thing as heat-trained hair that is strong, sup­ple, … and thus healthy.  How­ev­er, this is only true for some ladies.  Keep in mind that heat train­ing can work well for some nat­u­rals and not so well for oth­ers.  For the for­mer group I answer the fol­low­ing ques­tion …



1. Easier Detangling …

comes with a loos­en­ing of the curl pat­tern. For some nat­u­rals, the mass of curls/coils/kinks makes detan­gling a very tedious task. Gen­er­al­ly, I’d say, “suck it up”, but as my hair has got­ten longer, I can tru­ly under­stand how bru­tal such a task can be for some nat­u­rals.  It can be bru­tal to the point of mechan­i­cal dam­age (e.g., break­age from impa­tient comb­ing ses­sions).

2. Fewer SSKs …

will form if the hair is heat trained.  What is a sin­gle-strand knot (SSK)?  It is essen­tial­ly a knot formed from a strand of hair that has wrapped around itself.  What is an envi­ron­ment con­ducive to SSKs?  A mass of coils and kinks.  SSKs trans­late into more trims and some­times break­age.  Heat train­ing or oth­er hair care steps (read here) can mit­i­gate this issue.

3. Length Retention …

comes with eas­ier detan­gling and few­er SSKs.  “Prop­er” heat train­ing can the­o­ret­i­cal­ly help some nat­u­rals achieve longer lengths.  Will I ever heat train for length reten­tion?  In all hon­esty, I do not know yet.

4. Increased Versatility …

is anoth­er ben­e­fit of heat train­ing.  It becomes eas­ier to achieve stretched or straight styles when desired.  Addi­tion­al­ly, the­se styles will last longer.

Ladies, would you con­sid­er heat train­ing? In your mind, what are the ben­e­fits and dis­ad­van­tages?


Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.

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164 Comments on "Are There Any Benefits to Heat Training Natural Hair?"

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Tiff Dizzle
oth­er races blow dry their hair after they wash it… is their hair not con­sid­ered “nat­u­ral”? When I was younger my mom washed/blow dried and pressed my hair every Sat. It always revert­ed back to its nat­u­ral curls after my wash and I must say I had a thick healthy hair. In mid­dle school I begged my mom to let me get a relax­er so I wouldn’t have to sit through those press­ing comb ses­sion. Need­less to say my hair was nev­er the same.  Now that I am 26 I have recent­ly big chopped and im remem­ber­ing the strug­gle with my… Read more »
Tiff Dizzle


Tiff Dizzle

berries… lord at the­se typos

When I first became nat­u­ral, I did fol­low a lot of nat­u­ral hair “rules.” Although some were very ben­e­fi­cial, they were also time con­sum­ing. With that being said…I min­i­mized a lot of steps and have com­plete­ly cut my styling time into half and still receive the same ben­e­fits of hav­ing, what I think for myself is, rel­a­tive­ly healthy hair. My new rou­tine includes the use of cold air blow dry­ing with every wash (1.5–2 weeks, so two or three times month­ly). I blow dry on cool set­ting, only to stretch my nat­u­ral hair for man­age­abil­i­ty after it has air dried… Read more »
LHDC and long­hair­dont­care2011 are two com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent Youtu­bers. Please make sure you are refer­ring to the prop­er per­son. LHDC tran­si­tioned to nat­u­ral over a 2–3yr peri­od and wears large­ly twistouts and braid­outs, with a hub­by going on a loc jour­ney and two kids with gor­geous hair. Long­hair­dont­care2011 has the nose pierc­ing and the waist length hair which she wears in pro­tec­tive styles — braids and twists.  I dont have any opin­ion on this, i think any manip­u­la­tion of the hair, mechan­i­cal or chem­i­cal can be dam­ag­ing, and you just have to pick and choose what is most do-able for your… Read more »

Thanks for the clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

I wouldn’t do this on my own hair because it doesn’t respond well to heat in gen­er­al and it has a tight but weak curl pat­tern (by which I mean, it straight­ens eas­i­ly and also has a hard time revert­ing after straight­en­ing, even with heat pro­tec­tant). I don’t see why this is so bad, though… it’s like the chem­i­cal process­es I guess, but with­out the dam­ag­ing chem­i­cals. I think the “what is nat­u­ral” bat­tle is kind of futile, too, because if you get down to it, unless you wash your hair, shake it dry, and don’t touch it what­so­ev­er you’re… Read more »
I find nat­u­ral hair ‘sis­ters’ to be some of he worst crit­ics ever. As if it’s not hard enough hav­ing to deal with the igno­rant peo­ple who pres­sure you into relax­ing your hair again, you now have to deal with nat­u­ral ‘sis­ters’ who try to judge just how nat­u­ral you hair. Per­son­al­ly, I don’t heat train because my goal is to get waist length hair that is waist length in its shrunk­en state! Yes, hard for a 4b/4c/4-I-don’t-know-what-curl-pattern-it-is-but-it’s-really-curly nat­u­ral hair girl. LHDC’s hair is gor­geous! I would love to try heat train­ing but I am so rub­bish at doing hair that… Read more »

I agree, you should do what you are com­fort­able with. I fig­ured out that with my also very coily 4a hair that shrinks to 50–60% of true length I would have to grow hair to my feet to have it waist length shrunk­en! lol.


lol i can relate. mine draws up about 40 per­cent when dry and i know that when it gets longer i’m prob­a­bly not gonna wan­na be both­ered. it’ll be either straight­en or cut. btw, i love your site. it’s very well put togeth­er, infor­ma­tive and impar­tial. thanks for cre­at­ing it!

thank you, well stat­ed. when my hair gets to waist length (straight­ened) i aim to “heat train” once more. because then i won’t have to be going uphill to grow the hair; it’ll sim­ply be a mat­ter of main­tain­ing the length that i have at that point. for now i’m total­ly nat­u­ral with pro­tec­tive styling at the fore­front til i get there. i’ve seen many exam­ples of long and healthy nat­u­ral hair that imple­ment heat to main­tain, and i think they’re just as beau­ti­ful as the total­ly nat­u­ral heads that do twist/outs, braids, afros, etc. there are so many more… Read more »

Would I heat train? No, I don’t see the point of destroy­ing the curl pat­tern for the sake of being able to pull a comb through my hair. 

Do I care if oth­ers hear train? No, peo­ple can do what­ev­er they want to their own hair. But this train­ing busi­ness is sim­ply not for me.

Do what­ev­er you want to do with your hair, do it. I don’t know what nat­u­ral means for oth­er wom­en, but for me it means not putting a relax­er in my hair. And most­ly wear­ing my hair in twists, pin ups, twist outs. But I’m inter­est­ed in wear­ing my hair straight for a dif­fer­ent look, it just doesn’t stay straight.  Now for those who use hen­na to loosen their curl pat­terns, are they sup­posed to be con­sid­ered not real­ly nat­u­ral either, or even hav­ing “dam­aged” hair? Or if they didn’t want the hen­na to loosen their curl pat­tern, has their… Read more »
ta ney-ney

Im con­fused I thought heat train­ing was the slow process of elim­i­nat­ing your curl pat­tern through heat?! like if youre a 3a hair pat­tern you slow­ly work towards a 2a? 

why are peo­ple talk­ing about keep­ing curly hair and being able to rock curly fros? i guess i need to wash the video…

If you are keep­ing your curl pat­tern but just wear­ing it straight some­times, then why isnt that con­sid­ered just tem­po­rary straight­en­ing?? some­one paint me a pic­ture

@ta ney-ney Hey I was the one who post­ed about wear­ing my hair straight a few times but also wear­ing my curly hair most of the time. I must say I may have jumped too quick­ly on this top­ic since I do NOT heat train my hair but most of the times when top­ics like this arise there are a few ppl who believe heat to be the dev­il and those who use it how­ev­er spar­ing­ly as not com­fort­able with them­selves or their hair. Like I stat­ed before I have been nat­u­ral ALL my life so I nev­er had hang… Read more »
THANK YOU. Thought I was the only one confused…I had no idea that there were degrees (pun unin­tend­ed) of heat train­ing. I thought the goal of heat-train­ing was straight(er) hair. I’m of sev­er­al minds about this sub­ject: 1) I don’t care what oth­er peo­ple do to their hair, so long as they don’t tell me what to do with mine. Heat train­ing is some­thing I’m not even remote­ly inter­est­ed in doing. 2) There are many ways to dam­age the hair and still have it “look healthy” to the untrained eye. For far too long black folks in par­tic­u­lar have cared more… Read more »

+1 Espe­cial­ly #5. Since I’ve gone curly girl and wear­ing my shrunk­en WNG my detan­gling and SSK knot sit­u­a­tion has improved 1000% over when I was doing stretched styles like curl­form­ers and twists.


When I was about about 7 or 8, I remem­ber my moth­er and hair styl­ist (a 70 year old wom­an) talk­ing to each oth­er about “heat train­ing” my hair so it would be more man­age­able, and that was over 20 years ago, so the terminology/idea is not new. It prob­a­bly just wasn’t heard as much since we didn’t have the blogs and Youtube back then.

Heat train­ing — a cop out! Either you’re going to deal with your nat­u­ral hair or you’re not! Don’t play on words — heat train­ing — aka press­ing, apply­ing heat to straight­en, length­en­ing or oth­er­wise to appear near straight. To change the tex­ture of your hair!  As black peo­ple, we’re still very ashamed of our hair. When I read black peo­ple say­ing they don’t know how to deal with their hair!! Hold on — what were you born with?? Don’t be delu­sion­al.… in oth­er words, to thine own­self be true… and stop try­ing to fool oth­er peo­ple.

It depends on the per­son and the hair… My sis­ter heat trains and I don’t, I don’t like the results but she does — over time her hair is get­ting straighter and straighter. She’s had to do some trim­ming and “take a break”. At the end of the day — Keep Calm and Do You.

eh about this top­ic. Why do peo­ple do stuff to their hair that they know most nat­u­rals con­sid­er to be unhealthy( and at its basic core heat train­ing is not good long term) and then feel the need to seek other’s opin­ions to make it valid? Why does one need con­sen­sus from inter­net strangers about what you do to your hair? Heav­en for­bid some­one dis­agrees. Then your a nazi. Basi­cal­ly you’re gonna do with what your com­fort­able with. If heat train­ing, relax­ing, tex-lax­ing works for you then GOOD. Don’t feel bad. Stop advo­cat­ing for your cause. Don’t even feel guilty.… Read more »
I agree noth­ing wrong with heat train­ers but they seem des­per­ate to be seen as nat­u­ral and have their hair choice val­i­dat­ed. Fun­ny nat­u­rals who colour don’t seem to hold that inse­cu­ri­ty. If you heat train, so what? Why do you need oth­er peo­ple to either antag­o­nise or back you up so you can go on jus­ti­fy­ing your choice? I think at that point you’re jus­ti­fy­ing it to your­self more than any­one since when it comes down to it no one is going to bed at night wor­ry­ing about your hair except you. Out­side of the Inter­net most of us… Read more »

Agree 1 thou­sand times!

‘Heat train­ing” is not for me or my very fine type 4 strands, but DO YOU.  Being in my 4th decade of life, I’ve come to see many changes with my hair (body, mind, etc too-some could be con­sid­ered (-) but many of the­se changes I con­sid­er to be(+); it’s real­ly about adapting…anywhoo) espe­cial­ly with den­si­ty. No one can pre­dict the future, and I cer­tain­ly nev­er thought I would loose the den­si­ty I took for grant­ed as a child, teen, and young wom­an; but alas, I did. So for me, the kinkier, the bet­ter =) Besides, I want the world to… Read more »

It actu­al­ly decreas­es the ver­sa­til­i­ty of your hair because you can ONLY wear stretch­es styles, as opposed to shrink­age allow­ing for afros and afro puffs but also being able to stretch out. So that last one doesn’t seem true to me. Even the third one is a lit­tle sketch. May­be it’s just me, but I already try to min­i­mize the harm done to my hair, so apply­ing heat is only going to weak­en it and make retain­ing length hard­er.

…That being said, when my hair is down to my back I might recon­sid­er >.< I’m afraid of limp hair though lol


The ridicu­lous­ness of this con­ver­sa­tion is incred­i­ble. If you want more man­age­able hair, do what you want.…relax, texlax or heat train your hair. This aver­sion to the “creamy crack” is too much. For some peo­ple it works! Almost every­one on this site, tries to stretch­es their hair so it is more man­age­able. They are not ear­ring it in its most nat­u­ral state. They use all the­se prod­ucts that will stretch the hair and has no resem­blance to the nat­u­ral tex­ture. Stop sit­ting on your high horse and let peo­ple do what they want to their hair.


I think in time most nat­u­rals will get to a point where they don’t give two craps what oth­ers do to their hair and stop try­ing to police oth­er peo­ple. I know i’m there already. There are too many impor­tant things in this life to get riled up about.

So don’t try to police peo­ple but its ok to police the gen­uine thoughts of oth­er com­menters using the old Inter­net tac­tic of shout­ing peo­ple down and try­ing to cur­tail their true opin­ions. If nobody cares and things are more impor­tant in real life, why are you and the rest of the unin­ter­est­ed-but-jump­ing-on-every-com­ment brigade even here. This site thrives on the debates of the com­menters, no oth­er hair blog site is so built around or gen­er­ates so much debate. Like every­one you want your say so dis­agree with peo­ple but do not try to shut down the debate under the… Read more »

I’m not sure if this is direct­ed towards me, but if it was when did I ever put for­ward the opin­ion hair isn’t impor­tant or even imply that. You seem to be invent­ing argu­ments on my behalf and then shoot­ing them down. I didn’t police any­one or imply that oth­ers opin­ions should be cur­tailed. Most of the opin­ions on this top­ic seem to be do what­ev­er you want with your hair, which is essen­tial­ly what I said — so why aren’t you attack­ing any­one else. 

We were dis­cussing choic­es and opin­ions and I put mine for­ward. Nev­er said oth­ers can’t do the same.


No Nooni, this is towards df and her co-sign­ers.


Right! At the end of the day one has to do what is best for THEIR hair. For some it is using heat, oth­ers keep­ing their twa, twists, using hen­na, etc. Per­son­al­ly I am not a slave to the­se self impose “nat­u­ral hair rules”. I do what­ev­er I want to my hair and what is eas­i­est for me most­ly pro­tec­tive styles so I have no rea­son to use heat but who knows down the line may­be nut at the end of the day it isn’t that seri­ous.


I agree. Take it easy Nooni. I was talk­ing in gen­er­al. As a lit­tle girl, I wore 2strand twists.…I con­sid­ered them braids. So we all use dif­fer­ent ter­mi­nol­o­gy for dif­fer­ent tech­niques.


Thank you!!!!


love this respon­se


+1. Love it! It’s absolute­ly true. The only true nat­u­rals are those who wear shrunk­en hair every day not twist outs right?!

I like the idea of peo­ple doing what they want, but the idea that ‘true nat­u­rals’ only wear shrunk­en hair is sil­ly and just as sil­ly as peo­ple car­ing about how oth­ers stretch/heat train or what­ev­er they do to their hair. Does that mean every­time a white per­son decides to wear rollers, she ceas­es to be nat­u­ral or every­time some­one combs their hair, they cease to be nat­u­ral. Comb­ing hair alters anyone’s hair by stretch­ing it out, so for the few min­utes u do that u aren’t nat­u­ral. Every­one does some­thing to their hair because no hair type is designed… Read more »
This is dif­fer­ent. Twist out can be con­ve­nient. Braid­ing is a time homored tra­di­tion. not twist outs. Some wom­en spend hours or a full day to wash and style their hair. This is insane! But if you have that time to spend, more pow­er to you. In the end, do what works for you. Even if that means using chem­i­cals to make life eas­ier. Most of us use some chem­i­cals any­way in our prod­ucts. My grand­moth­er nev­er used hair prod­ucts in her life. She used soap and water and her hair was beau­ti­ful. She was a true min­i­mal­ist! Love your… Read more »

Braid­ing is a time hon­oured tra­di­tion? Who are you speak­ing for exact­ly. You don’t know what my back­ground is to tell me what counts as a tra­di­tion. Twist outs and braid outs have actu­al­ly been used in my fam­i­ly for gen­er­a­tions — we didn’t call them by that name, but plaiting/twisting your hair and then undo­ing it is hard­ly new.

Don’t get me wrong, I def­i­nite­ly agree with you Nooni, what I said was a joke(tone does not trans­port well on the inter­net!). Twist outs are no more nat­u­ral than heat train­ing is. Con­stant ten­sion braid­ing also has the poten­tial to alter tex­ture by over­stretch­ing hair. Some peo­ple seem to go by a rule­book that that some of us clear­ly missed. Heat train­ing is not a mind­set, like some peo­ple here are sug­gest­ing, that we feel that our hair is in need of ‘fix­ing’. It is a choice that speaks to the fact that hair is in fact not self… Read more »
@ Alma: “How dif­fer­ent is a nat­u­ral who nev­er uses heat but who wears twist outs 24/7 from me who heat trains? We are both show­ing the world less than ‘nat­u­ral’ hair tex­tures aren’t we? The fact that one change is per­ma­nent has no bear­ing because peo­ple are still see­ing an arti­fi­cial tex­ture either way.”—————-> NOT TRUE! Ummm how about if you touch or style your hair in any way via a comb, brush, fin­gers, wash­ing, con­di­tion­ing, etc, you are show­ing an “arti­fi­al tex­ture” as you say. The only way that a per­son can tru­ly show his or her nat­u­ral tex­ture… Read more »
I think heat train­ing is fine, since it has noth­ing to do with me, but com­par­ing heat train­ing to twist out is wrong. Heat train­ing fun­da­men­tal­ly changes the phys­i­cal struc­ture or your hair. If you wet your hair after a twist out,it will revert back to its ful­ly nat­u­ral state.  Heat train­ing us a form of con­trolled dam­age and it will not revert back to a nat­u­ral state, but to a looser ver­sion. That’s like say­ing some­one with a texruris­er is the same as some­one who wears twist outs, because the end results looks dif­fer­ent to the nat­u­ral tex­ture. BUt they… Read more »

ha! moral­ly wrong?
or flawed log­ic wrong?

actu­al­ly i think alma makes a very good thought. She is right in that you can stretch your hair by repeat­ed­ly doing cer­tain styles. so to what extent then, by this nar­row def­i­n­i­tion of nat­u­ral, is one who twistouts or braids out nat­u­ral?
the gen­er­al def­i­n­i­tion of nat­u­ral, and the one i stick to, is some­one who doesn’t use chem­i­cals to alter their curl pat­tern. That’s the def­i­n­i­tion that all of us gen­er­al­ly agree with. The rest of the con­fu­sion is mere­ly seman­tics.

for me it depends on the con­text. i still con­sid­ered my hair nat­u­ral while i was reg­u­lar­ly using heat to the extent that i almost nev­er wore my hair nat­u­ral­ly styled, if that makes sense. but this year i con­sid­ered myself tran­si­tion­ing out of heat so from that con­text i dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed between my heat train­ing days to my more nat­u­ral­ly-styled days. so it depends on the speaker’s point of view. but i will say there’s def­i­nite­ly a dif­fer­ence between heat train­ing and relaxing/texturizing because the dif­fer­ence and ver­sa­til­i­ty is like night and day. overnight when i decid­ed i want­ed to quit… Read more »



For me “heat train­ing” didn’t work. I didn’t know that was what I was doing, I just blow dried and flat ironed my hair 2 or 3 times a mon­th, I was a for­mer straight hair nat­u­ral but for MY hair as fine and del­i­cate and prone to break­age as it is…a no go. For oth­ers it works beau­ti­ful­ly. My hair burns eas­i­ly so lit­tle to no direct heat works best. If it works then go for it.


I don’t get it. Heat trained = Heat dam­age. Point blank peri­od.



I have very thin and when I say thin I mean thin hair (low den­si­ty). I use heat to help cre­ate vol­ume. After wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing my hair I blow dry it. It leaves me with a lot of vol­ume to then style my hair how­ev­er I would like whether it be twist out, bun-outs, braid outs etc.… I also use the dif­fuser when I just want to plump up my curls and rock my curly fro, with­out the use of heat my hair would lit­er­al­ly lay flat on my head like lil limp noodles. I don’t do it all… Read more »

the whole rea­son for me going nat­u­ral was to acheive healthy hair. I’m inter­est­ed in heat train­ing but also scared that I’ll end up with the same results i once had when my hair was relaxed. I gues I’m still learn­ing


Me too!

I would heat train (I real­ly don’t like that term) but I’ve put in two years into grow­ing out my relax­er and 6 months of being nat­u­ral. I don’t want to mess all that up


At first I was anti-heat, but its tak­ing me soo long to do my hair. Now I blowdry about once a mon­th to put a pro­tec­tive style in. And strange­ly enough my hair is so soft now. But in the sum­mer I don’t use heat, cause its already out­side lol


I don’t have an issue with nat­u­rals that straight­en their hair.I do ques­tion it being called “heat train­ing” as I won­der if that is applic­a­ble to oth­er races too?

As all races do suf­fer dam­age using heat and some straight­en it sev­er­al times a week or every­day! O_o I don’t have any sources just my own opin­ion.

it’s great you men­tion that. sev­er­al white girls have told me that because they apply heat to their hair almost every­day, their hair is straight and won’t revert to its orig­i­nal pat­tern which, though by my stan­dards could have been con­sid­ered straight to begin with, usu­al­ly had more of a wavi­ness to it that fre­quent flat iron­ing caused to loosen per­ma­nent­ly. there­fore, you’re absolute­ly right, that wom­en of oth­er races can “heat train” and suf­fer the effects of “heat dam­age” too. the dif­fer­ence is that for them the change isn’t as dras­tic as it is for us, it usu­al­ly doesn’t… Read more »

I have a friend that straight­ened her hair on a dai­ly basis and her hair out the show­er was such a mess, she couldn’t leave the house with­out it straight­ened.

HelowAddicted on Youtube

A tan is not a skin respon­se to dam­age: a tan is a skin respon­se to pro­tect peo­ple from the sun.
I think there are too many nat­u­ral try­ing to write the book of “the per­fect nat­u­ral”. For me, hav­ing your hair nat­u­ral is not putting harsh chem­i­cals that will dam­age your hair.


Heat train­ing is a form of dam­age how­ev­er. I agree with you that your hair is still nat­u­ral, apply­ing heat to the hair is not a chem­i­cal process; but it doesn’t make it any less dam­ag­ing than chem­i­cals.


I love this site & the top­ics dis­cussed. So refresh­ing

For the Love of Curls

As long as it’s not a relaxed it’s fine with me. I prefer my nat­u­ral tex­ture but if you want to heat train then more pow­er to you. I think it’s sim­i­lar to wom­en who wear their hair stretched most of the time because it’s eas­ier to man­age. We have to accept our hair does take work and nat­u­ral hair care is new to most peo­ple so they have to do what works with their sched­ule.


I have to agree with the oth­er lady that you got to do what’s best for your own hair. I know a few peo­ple who perm their hair and its thick and looks healthy, a few that have nev­er per­med but get their hair straight­ened and theirs looks good as well. I think ill leave this be till i get a bet­ter han­dle on just main­tain­ing my hair as is, then after i know what works for my hair i can experiment…a lit­tle. May­be try it on a small sec­tion in the back and see how that hair responds to it.


i think its seman­tics.
if you use heat to make your hair man­age­able — what’s wrong with that? (please don’t answer)
now there are degrees of heat and i’ve learned that blowdry­ing on a cool­er set­ting works won­ders on my hair and i still have my curl pat­tern.
i’ll nev­er be a wash n go girl, but i do love my nat­u­ral hair.


I would nev­er do this. To me, it defeats the pur­pose of my being nat­u­ral, i.e., see­ing, styling, & work­ing with my nat­u­ral hair tex­ture as it grows out of my scalp. 

Also, I hate the smell of burning/heated hair.


Oh hell no. ce n’est pas pour moi


Oui mais tu n’as meme pas essay­er.


why? why would I want to?

Memoirs of the Chic

I tran­si­tioned and big chopped because I want­ed my nat­u­ral tex­ture back so I would nev­er “heat train” my hair. Will I straight­en it in the future for a ver­sa­tile style? Absolute­ly. I just don’t wan­na to risk hav­ing heat dam­age all because I want to retain length and have an eas­ier detan­gling process. If that’s the case, I would’ve con­tin­ued get­ting relax­ers and kept it mov­ing. I’m only speak­ing for myself though. If oth­er nat­u­rals decide they want to heat train their hair, by all means go for it!


I wrote about this on my blog last week — I am attempt­ing a once a mon­th heat regime and will be post­ing my pro­gress in 6mths.

In my blog post I neglect­ed to men­tion a wom­an from the YT chan­nel My Nat­u­ral Sis­tas, they are actu­al­ly 3 sis­ters that are nat­u­ral w/ diff. hair­types.

Here’s their blog:


SSK are killing me every day I have to snip my hair because of them.


Wait so will­ing­ly altering/damaging your curl in order to main­tain a looser look is now con­sid­ered ‘nat­u­ral’? Well I’ll be damned.

I’m new­ly nat­u­ral, just under six months, and it is very frus­trat­ing to me to see all the ban­ter about what’s nat­u­ral and what’s not. If some­one is blow dry­ing their hair (read using heat to losen curl) that has not been straight­ened chem­i­cal­ly to make man­age­ment easy…one that’s their busi­ness. Why do they have to get a relax­er or only wear it curly to avoid upset­ting someone’s idea of “nat­u­ral”???? two…that’s their busi­ness. What works for me is not going to work for some­one else…period!!! I went nat­u­ral to avoid hav­ing to use heat, to remove the chem­i­cals from… Read more »
LHDC is actu­al­ly the per­son who changed my per­spec­tive on heat train­ing. Before, I just con­sid­ered it heat dam­age but her hair doesn’t look dam­aged at all, and it’s not like her results aren’t desired. To me, heat dam­age is when your hair doesn’t return to its nat­u­ral curl pat­tern but you want­ed it to, and if your hair suf­fers break­age from the heat.  That said, I can see the ben­e­fits of heat train­ing, and if I ever decide to grow my hair very long, I’d con­sid­er it. But I enjoy afros right now, so I’m strict­ly no heat. I don’t think… Read more »

That’s like white peo­ple say­ing they have a “healthy tan” when a tan is your skin’s respon­se to DAMAGE. I think heat “train­ing” is the same old mind­set that kinky hair needs to be “fixed, tamed, or TRAINED”. If you want to straight­en your hair, it’s yours. Do what you want. But try­ing to mask it as “heat train­ing” because you still want to feel like you’re team nat­u­ral or some­thing is sil­ly.

I, Kathy

Thank you!


+1 Very true. Some folks can tan and be fine, oth­ers get sun dam­age and skin can­cer. My hair hates dry heat. Even when I relaxed I nev­er used any heat.

Is the writer heat trained? If this is suc­cess­ful for her, can we see pics? I feel like heat train­ing is often advo­cat­ed as an option by peo­ple who do not heat train them­selves but are just sug­gest­ing options apart from relax­ing to frus­trat­ed nat­u­rals who com­plain about their hair’s man­age­abil­i­ty. Oth­er­wise I remem­ber Brit­tanyn­ic and long­hair­dont­care on youtube being held up as the suc­cess sto­ries of heat train­ing. I have fine hair so it wouldn’t work for me but I can only speak for my hair. Beyond that I haven’t seen much evi­dence of the suc­cess of long term… Read more »

I don’t think Loo is heat trained as far as I’m aware but I have heat trained my hair in the past. The ben­e­fit for me is that I am able to avoid ssk’s with­out hav­ing to wear my hair in some sort of braid­ed style 24/7. I am hap­py to share pic­tures of my hair, they are on my blog here I am now graz­ing waist length based on yesterday’s wash day.


Black peo­ple have always heat trained. Ask your moth­ers, aunts, and old­er wom­en in your fam­i­ly who got press and curls. That is heat train­ing. My moth­er had beau­ti­ful hair down her back from that method. My grand­moth­er too. This is noth­ing new guys. It is just not on you tube.


Black peo­ple have always heat trained.

Real­ly? Gen­er­al­i­sa­tion much? MY moth­er, Aunts and old­er wom­en in MY fam­i­ly rocked braids and thread­ed styles, thank you very much.

Jo Somebody

Dit­to. Anoth­er exam­ple of Amer­i­ca = the world and AA = Black peo­ple.


+1 same here

The defen­sive reac­tion peo­ple have is always sur­pris­ing because if peo­ple are hap­py with their choice then why all the snarky come­backs as if some­one is try­ing to rain on their parades and the inevitable ‘per­fect nat­u­ral’ spiel? Per­son­al­ly, I don’t care what peo­ple do to their hair but I won­der as to how effec­tive it is long term and whether or not it does not cause sev­ere dam­age in the long run. We always have the few excep­tions thrown at us as the suc­cess­es of heat train­ing and peo­ple advo­cat­ing it but I have nev­er seen their hair or heard… Read more »
I have two friends who heat train and you would think their hair was weave. one has hair to her mid­back- pret­ty gor­geous thick hair. she rarely wears her hair with­out hav­ing added heat. she wash­es and flat irons her hair once a mon­th, just like Sis­ta with real Hair on YT. Her hair is obvi­ous­ly healthy. anoth­er of my friends has hair to her BUTT, i kid you not. I have only seen her hair nat­u­ral one time, because she flat irons her hair once a mon­th and it stays bone straight the entire time. I knew her back when… Read more »
Ola Mae

I’ve noticed less split ends and sin­gle strand knots with adding heat in com­par­ison to let­ting my hair air dry. With that being said now that the weath­er is chang­ing I will opt for blow-dry­ing my hair since it cuts back time.


This is a tpic I’ve been grap­pling with. I reg­u­lary blow-out my hair after I wash it. Why? It’s eas­ier to man­age that way. So in essence, I’m heat train­ing my hair. I have a SERIOUS prob­lem with SSK but when i start­ed blow­ing it out, I had less SSKs and bet­ter length. I thinkn we as Nat­u­rals, need to stop judg­ing everyone’s meth­ods and deal with what works on OUR heads. As long as you aren’t apply­ing the creamy crack every 8 weeks, I con­sid­er you nat­u­ral.


yeah, i think most peo­ple will get over it soon enough when their hair gets longer lol…it’s your hair, do what you like with it.


I think peo­ple should stop wor­ry­ing about what oth­ers think so much. Peo­ple will always judge oth­ers on some­thing, it is just human nature.

My hair is BSL and I have used heat to blow dry once this year. If a per­son wants to use heat that is great for them, but I would hate to put out the idea it is nec­es­sary for long and healthy hair. FWIW my hair is type 4 kinky curly/coily.


Hi Melis­sa! I also blow-dry my hair after wash­ing. Not only because it’s eas­ier to man­age, but my twist-outs are soft­er, fluffy and have tons of move­ment :). I nev­er thought of blow-dry­ing as heat train­ing because my curl pat­tern comes RIGHT back after wash­ing lol. But who knows? May­be after years and years of blow-dry­ing I’ll see a dif­fer­ence. For now though, I’ll con­tin­ue blow-dry­ing :)


I heat train but nev­er say on nat­u­ral hair sites. My hair is past my shoul­ders and I still con­sid­er myself nat­u­ral and oth­ers do to. I just think its one of the many ben­e­fits of being nat­u­ral. I can rock it straight one day and curly the next! love it!


Heat-train­ing the hair is like want­i­ng to have your cake and eat it too. Why not just keep your relax­er? All of the ben­e­fits men­tioned in this arti­cle could be used to jus­ti­fy chem­i­cal­ly-treat­ed hair. If you don’t want to deal with your curls, then why go nat­u­ral?

Total­ly dis­agree. Heat is NOT the dev­il that some relax­ers make it out to be.  Flat ironed/pressed nat­u­ral hair is most often still health­ier than relaxed hair. Peri­od. Before twist outs, wash and gos and braid outs and fros became pop­u­lar, many nat­u­ral wom­en wore their nat­u­ral hair pressed or flat ironed.  Now, it does depend on your hair, but I’d much rather risk the poten­tial dam­age of heat than a chem­i­cal relax­er. The key is mod­er­a­tion. Wore pressed hair for 10 years. Worked well for MY hair. I’ve worn my hair curly since 2008 and I’m seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing going back… Read more »
Jo Somebody
The ‘poten­tial dam­age’ of heat? Isn’t the whole point of heat train­ing to take advan­tage of the real dam­age of heat i.e. the per­ma­nent break­ing of bonds in the hair? Of course with peo­ple who use heat occa­sion­al­ly, if they pre­pare the hair well, they avoid dam­age, but that isn’t what this arti­cle is about. Also, if straight was the only option with relaxed hair, those of us who tran­si­tioned would have look like fools, unless we straight­ened our grow­ing nat­u­ral roots. There are many styles that can add tex­ture to relaxed hair. How­ev­er, I would say that relax­ers are more… Read more »

“With relaxed hair, straight hair is the only option, unless you texlax or risk poten­tial break­age by going a long time between your relax­ers” I’m sor­ry, but as a relaxed girl, I need to dis­agree, as I have been wear­ing my hair in many dif­fer­ent styles includ­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of curly, and I am not texlaxed, nor do I stretch for incred­i­bly long times. I touch up every 12 weeks and I think that mod­er­a­tion is the key to EVERYTHING in life.


Whoops, meant to say that heat is not the dev­il that some NATURALS make it out to be.


because a relax­er is a cock­tail of very strong chem­i­cals? me per­son­al­ly i went nat­u­ral because i was incred­i­bly uncom­fort­able with slather­ing my head with can­cer­ous chem­i­cals once a mon­th. heat­ed tools defi­nate­ly aren’t that.


Sor­ry, I know that this site is pri­mar­i­ly for nat­u­ral ladies, but as a relaxed girl, I still find lots of use­ful tips on how to increase the health of my hair and have it grow. I must then how­ev­er point out that even pri­or to me going on my hair jour­ney, I nev­er thought it a good idea to relax once a mon­th, and I always cringed at wom­en that did. Yes, it’s a lot of chem­i­cals, but I would rather care­ful­ly do a touch up once every 3 months than bring direct heat to my hair once a week.


Total­ly agree. “Heat-train­ing” more com­mon­ly referred to as “dam­age”.

Accord­ing to Long­Hair­Dont­care2011 in her video titled “#37: What is Heat Train­ing? Should I Heat Train?” she says,  “No, don’t use heat tran­ing to change the pat­tern of your hair, but use heat may­be if you feel like there’s no oth­er way for you to sucess­ful­ly grow your hair because with­out the usage of heat your hair will have either too many splits, too many tan­gles, or you’ll just grow so frus­trat­ed with your hair that you’ll start rip­ping through it.” She also claims to only use heat about once a mon­th. I’ve watched her videos plen­ty of times for a few… Read more »

Because with heat trained hair, you can retain your tex­ture. You can get the best of both worlds. Lit­tle to no shrink­age, less knots, and still have the regal beau­ty of a big thick afro. Hon­est­ly, if a per­son is real­ly good at heat train­ing or texlax­ing for looser tex­ture, peo­ple don’t even know it has been.

that’s not quite true. the whole idea of heat train­ing is to LOOSEN your tex­ture. it even­tu­al­ly per­ma­nent­ly changes the nat­u­ral tex­ture of your hair. i remem­ber i pressed my hair ONCE for some occa­sion and after i washed my hair, there were strands that didn’t revert back and remained straight. if i nor­mal­ly wore my hair straight, it would have been fine, as reg­u­lar appli­ca­tion of high heat will do that to your hair over time. it doesn’t mean that heat trained hair (like relaxed hair) will end up split­ting and break­ing off, but the tex­ture will be dif­fer­ent… Read more »
true. i used to use heat on my hair with reg­u­lar­i­ty and my hair grew to BSL effort­less­ly. But after that i expe­ri­enced break­age and split ends and had to snip off the length, so :( i’m back at wear­ing my hair nat­u­ral­ly. but when i had a relax­er my MBL hair almost overnight got so bad­ly dam­aged i end­ed up tran­si­tion­ing a few months lat­er and nev­er looked back since. based off the­se two expe­ri­ences, i’d take my chances with heat train­ing, since i think that you can con­trol a lot bet­ter than relax­er dam­age. And like some­one said… Read more »

I agree. I don’t have a prob­lem with nat­u­rals that heat train, but if you are going through all the effort you might as well texlax or relax. If it were between an every 8 week process to a once a week process, then it’s going to be the one that takes the least amount of time.


For the most part heat straight­ened nat­u­ral hair is still thick­er than relaxed hair.