Some days, heat tools can feel like your BFF. In a few short minutes your hair is totally transformed. Especially perfect on days when you wake up to a mess of frizz or challenging hair. Yes, heat tools certainly have their advantages. That's the good news. The not so good news? Improper use of heat styling tools - like your beloved flat iron - can cause serious damage to your hair.
To keep your tresses healthy and perfectly styled, it's time to change how you approach your flat iron. Not sure where to start? We give you five ways to use your flat iron better, helping you get that sleek and sexy hair.
1) Use a Heat Protectant
You probably have a raft of hair care products in your bathroom. Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray...the list goes on. But what about a heat protectant? If there's one thing we can't state strongly enough, it's the need to always use a heat protectant. Not using a heat protectant can be a costly mistake as unprotected hair can become brittle. Something like CHI 44 Iron Guard will work to protect your hair against all heat styling tools. You'll notice a difference both now and in the long run.
2) Conscious Styling
We all have our own techniques when it comes to styling. Maybe you start on the right side or prefer to tackle the back first. Whatever works for you is great, but when it comes to flat ironing avoid pulling your hair straight down. This can cause it to look limp or fall flat quickly. Instead, start with the flat iron as close to the roots as you feel comfortable, pull the hair in an upward direction to create volume.
Another great tip? Reduce damage by changing your grip. "When using a flat iron, the amount of pressure you put on the handles can affect the amount of damage you do to your hair. The tighter you squeeze the more damage you create. If you are having to squeeze tight, try adjusting the heat a little higher," says hair stylist Teddi Bickers.
Remember to also invest in a professional flat iron. "Using a higher quality flat iron means you are investing in a high grade of metal plates, a more consistent heat temperature, and even the ability to do more than just style your hair straight," notes Bickers. We're fans of the Paul Mitchell Neuro Smooth and the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium U Styler.
3) Use The Appropriate Heat Setting
It goes one of two ways. We either crank up the heat or keep the temperature as low as it can go. Neither one is great for your hair. Just because your flat iron is on the lowest setting doesn't mean it will prevent damage, and just because your iron is on the highest setting doesn't mean you will straighten your hair faster. What actually happens? You either need to straighten the same piece multiple times or end up frying your hair completely. Follow these basic rules when find the right temperature for your hair:
- 380-410 for coarse, thick or curly hair
- 360-380 for normal, medium or fine hair
- Below 360 for fine hair
"Using a higher quality flat iron means you are investing in a high grade of metal plates, a more consistent heat temperature, and even the ability to do more than just style your hair straight. Professional flat irons typically have a dial to set your heat setting. Always start with a low heat and work your way up if you absolutely need to," says Bickers.
4) Let Your Hair Cool Completely
We've all done it before. You're getting ready and are mega short on time so instead of letting your perfectly straight hair cool down, you start messing with it. It's important to let your hair cool, as it will help set your style. Once you've finished with your flat iron, spray on a flexible hold hairspray or a finishing spray like OSiS Elastic Finish Hairspray. Then hands off for 5-10 minutes. When your hair looks picture perfect all day and night, you’ll be thankful you did.
5) Give Your Iron Some TLC
It’s amazing how many things we remember to clean, and how many things we don’t. Did you know your flat iron requires a little TLC, too? Styling products can build up on your iron over time. "Make sure to occasionally clean your flat iron or curling iron. Product buildup can get caked on the surface of the plates or barrel, and cause damage to your hair. Use a paper towel with a little alcohol to wipe down the metal surface (make sure your tool is off). Never run your hot tool under water under any circumstances to clean or cool down in a hurry," says Bickers.
There's nothing like a flat iron. It can transform your hair in an instant. For hair that looks healthy and stylish day after day, follow these five easy tips. Your hair will thanks us.