What To Do If You Accidentally Burn Your Hair, According To A Pro

All Your Hair Questions, Answered

What To Do If You Accidentally Burn Your Hair, According To A Pro

20 March 2019
girl using flat iron on hair
photo of Jessie Amato

Jessie Amato

Junior Beauty Editor

Everyone is guilty of making a hair faux pas every now and then—whether you’re strands end up crunchy by applying too much gel or a DIY dye job gone wrong turns your dark brown hair pink. Sometimes, however, our common hair mistakes can leave our strands with long-lasting damage. Worst case scenario: You left your hair wrapped around your curling iron a bit too long—leaving your strands completely fried. Yikes!

Stumped on how to deal with burned hair? We asked Amanda Epstein, Matrix artistic educator, for a few expert-approved tips about what to do when you burn your hair, the best products to care for burned strands, and more!

 

What should you do if you accidentally burn your hair?

First thing’s first: Don’t panic! Whether you’ve burned a small chunk of hair or what seems like half your mane, Epstein recommends seeking help from a pro before taking matters into your own hands.

Before doing anything else, I would say go see your stylist ASAP.

Since burned hair can’t be repaired, your stylist may need to rectify the damage with a fresh chop. They can also help you strategize about the best way to save your remaining hair. Not sure which cut to ask for? Check out some of our favorite short and very short haircuts.

Can’t get to the salon right way? Not to worry! Epstein has a few tips for concealing and caring for your burned hair before hitting the salon.

“In the meantime, I would do a mask such as the new Biolage HydraSource Deep Treatment Pack and keep any source of heat far away,” she says.

If you’re dealing with frizz, dryness, and breakage after burning your hair, skip tight buns and ponytails and opt for simple, loose hairstyles and hair accessories that won’t cause any snagging or friction.

“Braids are always helpful when trying to conceal broken pieces of hair,” Epstein says. “I’m also a huge fan of clips, headbands, or scarves.”

 

How can you prevent accidentally burning your hair?

Though heat styling will always cause some hair damage, there are a few ways to avoid completely scorching your strands. Step one: Never skip heat protectant!

“I always recommend using a heat protectant before applying any type of hot tool,” Epstein says.

From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, Epstein recommends the Biolage R.A.W Heat Styling Primer. Formulated with coconut milk and meadowfoam, the product provides an easy blow-dry with touchable, soft, shapely results and heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step two: Find the right temperature for your strands. If you’re unsure which heat setting is best for your hair type and texture, start with a lower setting and work your way up.

Epstein warns against cranking the heat up past a certain temperature, regardless of your hair type.

“I suggest keeping your hot tool under 350 degrees Fahrenheit and do not keep the hot tool on the hair for longer than 10 seconds,” Epstein says.

 

What are the best products to help care for burned hair?

Without the help of a salon professional, there’s not much you can do to help restore your strands to their pre-heat styling glory. If you’re looking to improve the look and feel of your hair, however, you’re going to need a few salon-quality products by your side.

To care for burned hair at home, begin by swapping your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated for damaged hair like the Biolage R.A.W Recover line. Formulated with yucca and goji berry, the shampoo helps restore shine to stressed, sensitized hair and leaves it feeling replenished. Be sure to follow with the conditioner for improved strength, shine, and bounce.

If the heat damage has left your strands feeling extra parched, Epstein also recommends adding a hair mask to your routine. She swears by the Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Hair Mask.

With Epsteins expert tips in mind, you'll know exactly what to do (or not do) if you burn your hair. 

Looking for more expert tips on heat-damaged hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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