Help! I Fried My Hair with Flat Iron – How To Fix and Prevention Tips

If you ever straighten your hair with those super hot flat irons, or even if you let your hairdryer stay in one place too long, you are all too familiar with the terrible smell of burned hair. Not to mention, you have turned your hair into straw.

What to do? I have accidentally burned my hair one too many times and the worst is sitting at my desk smelling that burnt hair all day. It is enough to make you sick! I have received a few emails from readers about this issue – My straightening iron just fried my hair! asking how to fix it. Here are a few ideas to help repair your hair after this common mistake.


  • After the burn, reach for your hydrating leave-in conditioner or light oil. Even olive oil will work in a pinch! Run your fingers through your strands and concentrate on the scorched part. Be careful not to saturate. A little will go a long way. After you apply, comb through with your fingers.

“It will instantly smooth and moisturize the straw-like texture,” says DJ Riggs, hairstylist and TIGI creative director. This trick will also get rid of the smell of burned hair.


  • If your iron has a temperature gauge, keep the temp at no higher than 350 degrees.
  • Need to go a step further because your hair is very damaged from all your flat ironing? You can apply a protein hair mask. They can be purchased at any salon or beauty supply store like Sally Beauty Supply. Apply to your hair twice a week. A hair protein mask is a deep conditioner protein-enhanced treatment that is helpful for hydrating and nourishing the hair that has been damaged from the burn.
  • If you have had your flat iron for more than five years, it is probably time to replace it. After time the temperature gauge will stop working properly. Replace it with ceramic plates that will evenly distribute heat and reduce damage.
  • Make sure your hair is completely dry before you use a flat iron. If your hair is wet or damp, the flat iron will boil the water that is in your hair and damage the ends.


  1. Anonymous says

    The most important thing is prevention!! Everyone who uses heat on their hair, even if it is just a blow dryer, NEEDS to use heat protectant!! Talk to your hair stylist about what heat product is best for you and your hair routine! If you’ve already done the damage you also need to ADD a hair mask and deep leave in conditioner to your hair care regiment.(which now includes heat protectant) :) I’m a hair stylist by the way ;)

  2. says

    My stylist demands I not wash my straightedged hair for a day or two. So my go-to plan is to blow out and straighten on day one. Rock a ponytail on day two, then dry shampoo on day three and do a funky up-do. I also do a professional look by busting out some gel to smooth fly-aways and go for a braid and twist or bun. The reason I do a day 2 pony is because I don’t like the feel of dirty hair. If you can stand it you could do day 2 down. Then I use a good hair regiment and get a deep conditioning treatment from my stylist every 8 weeks. My hair seems to respond well to it in my very dry Colorado environment. :)

  3. Anonymous says

    I know this blog is directed at ladies in their 30s, nevertheless, hair is hair! Born in 1953, I’m fortunate 2 still have hair, which I have grown out for a few years now, to past shoulder length, in the tradition of my rock n roller (still am!) days back then. To replace my beginners flat iron, looking for professional results, I bought a RUSK iron, which works great. BUT, I overdid it too frequently, as I did like the results it gave, as far as making the hair look “cool.” I was using the 2 highest heat settings of 410 & 450, but on thinner segments of hair, as well as the thicker parts in the back. The damage was done to the thinner sections I ironed, e.g., using the aforementioned higher heat settings. One of the tips above: “•If your iron has a temperature gauge, keep the temp at no higher than 350 degrees” is great advice. The damage done was, I lost some length, where the hair turned to straw and broke on the sides. There was early signs of it, such as very short fragments of hair on the floor, but I didn’t put 2 & 2 together and “cool” it on the hot iron in time. So, I got an end trim. And, I bought some products that are typically recommended to help my hair to restore itself. I still do the iron, but less, and only go to 375 max with my RUSK. The argan oil leave-in treatment works fantastic for me. I think one solution is to find products that relax the hair’s wavyness or curlyness, so a blowdryer is sufficent to control your hair, and don’t go overboard, like I did in the beginning, with the str8 flat ironing. Take care, H. Kaplan Zihuatanejo, MX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *