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Heat training FAQ


A few recurring questions about heat-training, answered.



Why did you decide to heat-train?

I started heat-training because my hair was like carpet on my scalp.  I couldn’t feel the skin through the hair, and I couldn’t effectively detangle the hair in the time I had to spend doing my hair.


I was tired of having my 6 inches of hair coil down to a 1 inch rug on my head.  I didn’t like the way it looked.  I had no “quick fix” option if I had to “do something with my hair” to run my kids somewhere, or unexpectedly had a visitor, or had to appear “put together” in a hurry to deal with a patient, etc.


I was growing increasingly frustrated with my hair.  Initially, while I was transitioning (I did a long transition) I expected that it would be “difficult” with two different hair textures.  But this was actually okay, as it allowed me to pull those strait ends into a ponytail as a “quick-do” if I needed one.


As I fully transitioned, I could no longer even *find* the ends of my hair they were so spiraled up into the carpet on my scalp.  Something HAD to be done!


So I started pressing it, and liked the results.  I recall my mother blow-drying and pressing my hair every 2 weeks, and how healthy it was.  I heard about the (toxic) keratin treatments, and ultimately learned that it was the HEAT component that contributed the most to the straightness.  So I thought I’d give heat-training a try.



Did your hair break off, shed, or dry out?

My hair actually did well with a relaxer, and it does well with heat.  The thing I didn’t anticipate (nor adjust for) were the variances in hair textures (including hair shaft diameters) on my scalp.  So I initially used 450 degrees on all of my hair.  And it looked fabulous.  It was perfect.  Ends were a bit straight, but I LIKED that because it eliminated single-strand knots (and therefore breakage).  But after a couple of months (of me not adjusting down the heat) I did (finally) notice that the hairs at the nape of my neck were broken off.  I was disappointed in myself for not realizing earlier that this hair is “finer” and “thinner” than the rest.


My hair did not shed more (or less), and yes it was dry…but dry is how you want it when you’re wearing it straight because moisture converts the texture.



How did you adjust for the break-off at the nape?

I continue to heat-train, but I used less heat (300 degrees) on the edges and nape.  I use about 400 on the rest.  I WILL use 450 on new growth when it gets long enough (and carpet-like enough) to catch my attention.



How often do you heat-train?

At first I did it weekly (for about 2 months).

Later, I would alternate wet/dry looks, straightening my hair about twice a month for 6 months.

However, my technique later on was slightly different from the first couple of sessions in the following ways:


  • I did 2-4 passes on the hair near the scalp, and only one quick pass the length of the hair at 450
  • I avoided using added moisture because I felt the “sizzle” was doing damage and I noticed breakage (but that was probably due to the high heat setting I was using at the time).
  • I used less heat on the edges and nape.
  • Ultimately I didn’t even run the flat-iron all the way down to the ends.


Now I am in what I call a “maintenance” stage where I use less heat on my entire head (unless, as stated above, the new growth becomes long enough to warrant higher heat and more aggressive ‘training’ which happens every few months, or about once a season).



What do you like best about your hair now?

I like that the coils have loosened, and now I can appreciate length.  I like that I can comb through it in the shower before the water turns cold.  I like that I can quickly pull my hair back (without using a comb and only brushing the front back) for a decent ‘do.  I really like that there is LESS breakage due to detangling and single-stranded knots.  And above all, I like that I feel like I can *enjoy* my hair, instead of fighting with it.