Ride-or-die tricks from a professional straightener (me).
Confession time: Waaay back during my emo phase in the sixth grade, I’d straighten the crap out of my hair every single morning with a $15 flat iron from CVS (t-b-freaking-t, man). And as a 12 year old with basically zero knowledge about heat damage, you can imagine how fried and sizzled my hair looked by the time I grew out of my phase. Flash forward many years later, and I can confidently say I’ve mastered the art of straightening my hair without, you know, destroying it—and all it took was a little technique, a few products, and a genuinely good flat iron. So, if you’re still learning how to straighten your hair to sleek, shiny perfection, read on for my tried-and-true hacks for getting a perfect finish every time.
Sure, flat-ironing your hair is preeeeetty intuitive, but there are a few technique you should keep in mind. First and foremost: Make sure your hair is 100 percent dry before you do anything, since straightening even semi-damp hair guarantees a ton of heat damage.
You’ll also want to separate your hair into sections your flat iron can easily pass over—even though it might seem faster to grab huge chunks, it will take you way longer to get a smooth, straight finish (which, in turn, equals even more damage). Need a visual? This YouTube tutorial is an excellent place to start. And as for products, I’ve got you covered with the best heat protectants, finishing sprays, and more, below.
IMHO, if you’re looking to really straighten your hair, it’s best to start the process in the shower (yup, before you even plug in your flat iron). I like to cleanse with a super-hydrating sulfate-free shampoo—like this one from Moroccanoil. Why no sulfates? They can be really harsh and drying, and the last thing your hair needs before being literally ironed is a lack of protective moisture.
Fun fact: Even if you’re just rinsing your hair—i.e., not using shampoo—you still need to coat your ends with a conditioner. Your hair is super delicate when it’s wet, and a nice dollop of conditioner (this one from Briogeo is spiked with hydrators like rosehip, argan, and coconut oils) gives you an extra layer of protection against damage (which you’ll def need if heat styling is on your agenda).
Wait! Before you wrap your wet hair in a scratchy cotton towel, pls consider using this microfiber wrap instead. Not only does it cut down your drying time, but it also helps minimize frizz and prevent breakage (for real), without roughing up your hair cuticle like a traditional towel. If you’re an air-dryer like me, twist it around your hair and get cozy. Need to blow dry? Wear it for a few mins to soak up any excess water before blowing it out.
Next up, heat protectant. While your hair is still damp, smooth a quarter-size dollop of a flyaway-smoothing, heat-protecting cream all over (hi, this one from L’Oréal is my favorite). Follow with a quick blow dry—angling your dryer downwards will cut down on frizz and tangles—or let it completely air dry.
Once your hair is dry, you’re ready for your second round of heat protectant. Blast your hair with a few quick spritzes of a lightweight, non-greasy spray like this option from Living Proof. I like to spray section by section to make sure each strand is coated, especially the ends and around my hairline.
Now comes the step you’ve been waiting for: actually straightening your hair. BTW, flat irons aren’t exactly a one-size-fits-all tool—you need to make sure you’re using the best one for your specific texture. This Bio Ionic hair straightener has vibrating—yup, vibrating—plates that help evenly flatten out waves and curls with each pass, so you’re left with fewer kinks.
Got damaged hair? Spend your money on this Ghd flat iron, which takes 20 seconds to heat up to its max of 365 degrees (aka the highest, optimum heat for straightening your hair without completely damaging it).
Straightening your hair with a flat iron can help make it look super-smooth—it’s no wonder it’s the go-to heat tool of so many women. In fact, straight hair has been a beloved beauty look for centuries! Of course, overdoing it with any heat tool can lead to damage, so you’re going to want to exercise caution when it comes to using your flat iron. Your technique—and the hair styling products you use—are important as well. Want to take your hair straightening game to the next level? Below, we’re setting the record straight on how to use a flat iron the right way. So, the next time you go to use yours, remember to follow these flat iron-focused beauty tips!
FLAT IRON TIP #1: USE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR STRAIGHT HAIR
Start your hair straightening routine in the shower and replace your standard shampoo and conditioner with ones for straight hair. While it’s true that hair care systems meant for straight hair won’t instantly provide you with sleek, straight hair, á la a flat iron, they’re perfect for prepping your hair for straightening.
FLAT IRON TIP #2: SPRITZ ON A HEAT PROTECTANT SPRAY PRIOR TO STYLING
One of the golden rules of hair care is to protect your locks from heat. And that means limiting exposure to all hot tools like blow-dryers and curling wands. But what about when you really want that oh-so-sleek look that only a flat iron can provide? Well, just remember to use a heat protectant spray or lotion beforehand to help provide hair with some protection against high temps. The L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray offers protection for up to 450 degrees and can be used on damp or dry hair prior to heat styling.
FLAT IRON TIP #3: ONLY STRAIGHTEN DRY HAIR
While it might be tempting to speed up the straightening process by starting on hair that’s still slightly wet, this is definitely a hair care no-no. Your hair is at its most fragile when its wet, so wait until it’s completely dry before you get to straightening. Another option: Once your hair is about halfway dry, blow-dry it the rest of the way, then flat iron. If you go that route, just be sure to use a heat protectant first!
FLAT IRON TIP #4: SEPARATE YOUR HAIR INTO SECTIONS
For the best results, separate your hair into different layers while you style. Use a clip to hold the upper layer out of your way, and straighten the hair that’s left down first. Slowly release sections of hair from the clip and use the iron on one section at a time until all strands are straight.
FLAT IRON TIP #5: CONSIDER DIFFERENT SIZES
Not all flat irons are the same. While the standard size for flat iron plates is 1 inch, depending on your hair length, you may need a different size. Generally, if your hair is on the shorter side, you should be using a smaller flat iron. If your hair is longer, a flat iron with bigger plates will be better.
FLAT IRON TIP #6: DON’T TURN UP THE TEMPERATURE
Don’t assume that the hotter your flat iron gets, the straighter your hair will be. By cranking the temperature up too high you may actually be causing unnecessary damage. Instead of immediately putting heat tools on the hottest setting, start off using them on one of the lowest temperatures. If you think your hair requires more heat, you can gradually turn up the temperature.
FLAT IRON TIP #7: MAKE EACH PASS COUNT
Slow and steady! When using a straightener, don’t focus on speed. Rather, pay attention to going over each section of hair as few times as possible. Pull the tool through your hair slowly, allowing the heat to work out any twists and curls with a single pass. Repeatedly straightening the same section over and over again can cause damage.
FLAT IRON TIP #8: CREATE VOLUME AT YOUR ROOTS
Despite the name, flat iron, your hair doesn’t need to be totally flat after straightening. Rather, with the right technique, you can have voluminous, straight strands. To keep your locks from looking lank, create volume at your roots. Don’t worry, it’s easy! When you get to the top layer of hair, straighten each section upwards, pulling the flat iron towards the ceiling. And that’s all there is to it, switching the direction you move the flat iron in is the trick to a voluminous ‘do.
FLAT IRON TIP #9: USE IT TO MAKE WAVES, TOO
Contrary to the name, flat irons aren’t only good for flattening. You can use the same tool for creating soft wavy hair or bouncy curls. To add shape and body to your look, start by placing a piece of hair in between the iron’s plates. Bear down on the section and start turning the straightener away from your face, making your hair flow over the iron. Pull the iron through your hair, continuing to hold down to create a curvaceous curl. Repeat!
FLAT IRON TIP #10: FINISH WITH A SERUM
Complete all your straightening efforts with a finishing product. Once you’re done with your flat iron, work a hair serum through your tresses to help keep your mane smooth. Try the L’Oréal Paris EverSleek Frizz Finish Oil-In-Serum, which helps to tame frizzy hair and flyaways and smooth each strand. It also provides a silky finish and luminous shine, making it the perfect way to complete your look.
FLAT IRON TIP #11: CLEAN THE PLATES REGULARLY
Ironing your hair with product in it can cause build up on the plates, making the tool less effective over time. Your straightening solution: Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to help gently sweep away dirt and grime from unheated plates. A quick cleanup and your iron should work as good as new!
FLAT IRON TIP #12: PUT IT AWAY COOL
Allow your heat tools to cool down before placing them in their designated spot. This ensures the iron won’t melt or singe anything by accident. Once it’s no longer warm, wrap the cord around the body and store safely until the next time you’re ready to use it.
Editor’s tip: If you’ve ever found yourself traveling with your flat iron, without time to let it cool down before packing up, you’ll want to invest in a flat iron case. The protective cases, with heat resistant liners, will keep your luggage safe while the heat tool is still hot.
It’s good for way more than just straightening.
Everyone knows that flat irons can make your hair super sleek, but there’s so much more to them than that! You can get waves, curls — and even a wrinkle-free shirt collar — all by using your fave straightener.
If you want loose, natural-looking curls worthy of a Charlie’s Angel, switch out your curling wand for a flat iron. The only other tools you’ll need are a comb and a good heat protectant spray to keep your mane healthy and soft.
Who doesn’t love asurfer girl chic style? Get those easygoing, sexy waves using a flat iron — all without the wind and sand of the actual beach!
Want to curl all of your hair in under ten minutes? If you have locks that are shoulder-length or shorter, using your typical curler can be tricky — especially if you’re looking for big, loose curls rather than tighter spirals. Use a thin flat iron to curl even the shortest pieces without getting any of those weird bends. Unlike a curling iron that requires you to use different barrels to get different types of curls, a flat iron’s curl tightness depends on how slowly or quickly you move it downwards.
If you’re running out the door and realize you have a crinkle in your collar, you don’t need to make yourself late ironing it out. All you need to do is turn on your flat iron and give it a quick crisp up.
If you want waves but not the messy, beachy kind, try this technique instead. All you do is flat iron a section of your hair while moving it back and forth to create S-shapes all the way down. The results: glamorous ’70s-worthy waves.
For a curly style that won’t quit, grab your flat iron and some sheets of tin foil. Wrap sections of your hair around the foil, then flat iron each piece to make sure it sets. Just make sure to always use a heat protectant, as JA Dolly recommends — you don’t want to burn your hair, even if you’re not putting the flat iron directly on it.
Ready for a two-minute hack that’ll change your life? Twist your hair into two sections, then run your flat iron down it each one to give your locks a pretty, beachy texture. You can also braid your hair, then use the flat iron to set the waves.
We wouldn’t dream of leaving off the most popular and common way to use a flat iron: as a straightener! Follow this step-by-step tutorial for beginners that takes your hair from wavy or curly all the way to stick straight.
When your hair looks its best, so do you. That’s probably why you want to learn the best practices for doing your hair. Even though it seems simple, hair styling can be complicated. You have to learn some of the tricks of the trade to make sure you can get the best quality looks. Learning these secrets is especially important if you don’t have a lot experience using a hair straightener . That’s because you might damage your hair, hurt yourself, or get poor results.
So what can you do to make sure you know the dos and don’ts? To begin, you should take advice from those who really know what they’re talking about. There are best practices that are already established, so don’t try to recreate the wheel here. All you need to do is take into account and practice the dos and don’ts of using a hair straightener regardless of what style you’re trying to create. If you aren’t sure where to find that info, look no further!
Petite Mini Hair Straightener W/ Vibrating Hair Brush
SuperNova Flat Iron Hair Straightener w/ Vibrating Hair Brush
Common Hair Straightening Mistakes
The most common and most likely mistake to make when it comes to hair straighteners is buying a cheap product. You might be thinking that buying cheap will save you some bucks, but it really isn’t. You will probably end up replacing that cheap flat iron again and again. Therefore, you’ll end up spending more money in the long run.
Another common mistake women make when using a hair straightener is turning the heat too high. You might think that high heat is the fastest way to get the job done, but it actually could make your hair look worse. You could end up damaging your hair pretty badly if you turn the heat up too high on a cheap flat iron.
The final common mistake women tend to make when using a flat iron is skipping hair care treatments. If you plan to use your flat iron frequently, you should be using hair protectants that shield hair from heat damage and drying out.
What You Want to Do
Let’s say that you’ve purchased your new Supernova hair iron from iKONIC, now what? You might be nervous about trying out the hair iron in different ways. You should first start by using the flat iron to straighten your hair. That way you get comfortable with handling the straightener without doing anything too crazy. After you start to get really comfortable handling your hair iron, then you can try some more interesting things, like beach waves with a flat iron.
To start, be sure you’ve used the proper hair products to help reduce damage and increase styling potential. Whatever your style choice, you want to use a product that maintains moisture, protects against heat damage, and fights frizz. Always apply serums to wet hair, and let hair dry before applying heat of any kind. Then, divide your hair into sections. That way you can optimize styling. You might think sectioning takes more time, but it actually reduced time spent on styling because you are working smaller chunks at a time. Sectioning also allows for more precise styling.
Finally, as you use the hair iron, be sure you only heat it to the necessary level. Women with thin hair want to always use a lower heat level, even with very safe hair straighteners. That’s because thin hair burns easily. Women with thick hair are not at as high of a risk of burning their hair, but the risk is still there. That’s why women with any hair type should move the iron quickly over the areas instead of staying in one spot for a long time.
What You Don’t Want to Do
You have probably seen the horror stories. Women buy hair straighteners, and then something terrible happens to their hair while using one, like breaking off or burning up. There are a couple reasons why those things happen, so it’s important that you learn what to avoid to make sure they don’t happen to you. The first lesson is never apply products to hair that is about to come in contact with high heat. You can put product in when your hair is wet or dry, but both your hair and the product must be dry in order for heat application to be safe. In addition, never use a flat iron when your hair is wet. That is sure to end up in disaster.
In order to avoid burns on your skin, be sure you hold the hair straightener away from your face, and never touch the plates to see if they’ve warmed up. When the styling tool is ready, you’ll be able to tell, or you can test it on your dry hair. You can also purchase gloves from iKONIC that protect your hands from getting burned by the high heat. These great protection tools have helped many women avoid getting hurt.
Learn the Basics, Then Get Creative
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You have to learn how to crawl before you learn how to walk?” If so, you probably understand why the advice to take it slow with your hair iron is important. It’s best to learn how to use your hair straightener at the most basic level before trying anything too wild. You are better off learning the foundations of styling with a flat iron because you can transfer that knowledge to any style you create.
Once you’ve got straightening under your belt, you can try on some really amazing styles using a flat iron that you never thought possible. For example, did you know you can get beach waves by using a straightener? That’s right! You can also create so many styles that you’ll never regret buying a high end flat iron.
iKONIC offers a variety of professional tools to fit you and to your professional skills, if you are a beginner or a pro you will find what you need or looking for. try us!
The Evolution of Hair Straighteners
It’s common for women to straighten their hair every day. Hair irons are used so much, but most people probably don’t know the evolution of the hair straightener. For example, do you know who invented the hair iron, or when it became popular? If not, you might be interested to find out. Actually, it’s quite an interesting history once you look into it. Hair straighteners are nothing new. People have been coming up with ways to change the look and feel of their hair for centuries..
Many women love the way their looks after the beach. Unfortunately, hair can also get really dirty at the beach, so most women don’t let their hair remain beachy for too long. Thankfully, you can get beach waves without having to take a dip in the ocean or get all oily from sunscreen. Instead, you could use professional styling tools to create clean beach waves in minutes. It might be hard to believe that this style is so easy to achieve, especially because it looks so good.
I remember the first time I was ever introduced to a straightening iron. I was in fifth grade, and I watched in awe as my friend turned her hair full of ringlet curls into smooth, flat locks. It was a moment that launched my mostly love but sometimes hate relationship with flat irons. After many years of trying almost everything possible that promised to smooth my strands, I’ve picked up on important tips and tricks to achieve the look I want: straight hair without heat damage — aka, attaining sleek, frizz-free style that doesn’t compromise a healthy head of hair in the process.
If you’re like me, and part of your daily beauty routine involves smoothing out natural curls or waves, there are many ways for you to achieve the look you want while eliminating the unwanted damage to your locks. It could be as simple as snagging a thermal protecting product to shield your hair against heat damage, or you might need a heat-adjustable iron to avoid using the wrong temperature on your straightener that causes strands to dry out or break off. So, shake off the haters who tell you that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too, because these damage-free flat hair fix-ups are total game-changers.
Prep Your Strands With A Smoothing Shampoo And Conditioner
This heat repair shampoo and conditioner contains natural Keratin, a high-shine smoothing agent, as well as marine botanicals to prep and protect your hair for future heat styling. The conditioning agents replenish moisture your hair has lost during countless battles with the flat iron, and the set is able to restore vibrancy and elasticity to color-treated hair, too.
Use A Powerful Thermal Protectant Before Applying Heat
This replenishing protective spray works its magic in three steps: It protects your hair from the damaging effects of exposure to high temperatures, it smooths and adds shine as you run your straightener through, and it repairs existing dryness and breakage. With this simple prep step, your hair won’t have a straw-like, unmanageable texture after your next flat-ironing session.
Section Your Hair While Straightening Using Taming Hair Clips
By sectioning your hair while you straighten using these heavy duty hair clips, you will cut your morning prep time in half. These clips will hold up even the thickest hair as they self-adjust to your mane. Start with your bottom layer, splitting your hair down the middle in the back and pulling each side forward. When you’re rushing and trying to straighten random chunks of hair, the heat isn’t being fully applied to hair — leaving you frustrated and likely resigned to a messy bun, yet again.
Use A Straightener With Ceramic Plates
Having a flat iron with ceramic tourmaline plates is vital to maintaining healthy hair when it’s constantly exposed to heat. The ceramic plates on this straightener protect the hair with negatively charged ions, and tourmaline is a gemstone that also works to keep your strands smooth. This iron even protects color-treated hair and includes an adjustable LCD temperature display, so you can stay in control of how much heat you want.
Or Avoid Re-Straightening With A Fast Recovery-Time Tool
Between strokes, your straightener loses heat and can take time to get back to its start setting. It’s important to choose the ceramic-plated straightener with a fast recovery time to keep styling consistent and to reduce damage caused by going over strands repeatedly to reach the look you want. This iron also has an instant heat-up feature that’s perfect for hectic mornings or last-minute date prep. One user claims it’s truly "the best straightening iron" and cut nearly 20 minutes from her routine.
For Travel, Choose the Easy Temp-Control, Dual Voltage Tool
If you’re in the habit of always setting your flat iron at the highest possible temperature setting, turn down the heat with an easily adjustable flat iron. Hair with an average texture should be ironed at 300 to 380 degrees, and thick or coarse hair should be at a temperature in the 350 to 400-degree range. If you hear sizzling, smell strands burning, or see creases that are being created by the heat, you have your setting up too high. (Bonus: This straightener comes with dual voltage, so it’s perfect to pack for your next travel overseas!)
Treat Hair With Repairing Coconut Oil Once A Month
If you apply heat to your hair on a daily basis, show your locks some extra love by applying this deeply restorative hair mask once a month. (One user even said applying this mask once improved her hair’s condition ten-fold.) The mask’s coconut oil is the perfect solution for dry or damaged hair, thanks to its jojoba seed oil, beeswax, and cocoa seed butter. Just comb it through your hair post-shower, and leave it on for seven minutes before rinsing it out to let your revitalized hair air-dry.
Embrace The Good Ol’ Fashioned Air-Dry With A Bamboo Hair Towel
Give your hair (and arms) a break at least once a week, and reduce your hair’s exposure to heat by letting it air-dry with a towel made with the sustainable bamboo plant. This absorbent towel is the perfect alternative to terrycloth towels that cause breakage and damage when rubbing against your mane. (Bonus: For extra hold on thick hair, the towel includes an elastic loop. )
When You’re Blow Drying, Use A Smoothing Dryer to Prep Hair
By directing heat downwards while drying with a precision nozzle attachment, you are prepping your hair for the flat iron by giving strands direction. That means you have less work to do later (and less frizz to deal with, too). This fast-working hair dryer has three temperature settings and two speeds — use a lower temperature and a higher speed for the most healthy end result.
Don’t Think Blow Drying Long Hair Is Less Damaging Than A Straightener
Using a flat paddle brush while applying the heat of a dryer can put a lot of stress on your strands, causing major breakage. Use the professional round brush that promises healthy hair and no snagging, instead, for days when you need to brush and dry. Air can flow past hair through the brush’s holes, for less stress on your strands. (Still, keep brushing while drying to a minimum: You may think you’re killing two birds with one stone, but this can be more damaging to long locks then air-drying and straightening.)
Finish With The Right Products To Seal Damage
This grease-free serum’s lightweight formula penetrates your hair to leave it feeling silky-smooth and free of frizz. It can be used throughout the day to keep glossiness going, and users said the serum adds body without weighing hair down, in addition to smoothing out those pesky baby hairs on your hairline. (Pro Tip: Never spray or apply a product when your hair is still cooling down to steer clear of sizzling strands and causing excess damage and unwanted frizz.)
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.
Transforming wavy hair into a stick-straight style often involves the copious use of chemicals, hair dryers, and flat irons—all amped up to their highest, most follicle-damaging heat settings. But women have been straightening their hair for decades without heat, too—long before ceramic plates, tourmaline, or ionic who’s-it-what’s-its were even a glimmer in T3’s eye.
While heat-free hair straightening techniques might not work for everyone—”Honestly, it’s not very realistic to achieve a straight style from a strong wave or a curly head of hair without using some kind of heat or hot tool,” says Jill Engelsen, senior stylist at New York City’s Butterfly Studio—it is possible to get close if you’re starting with naturally wavy, medium to fine hair. That’s also not to say natural hair and extremely wavy hair types do have any no heat options. Natural and deep wave types can always try using rollers or stretching hair by wrapping it around the head.
So, for those looking to achieve straighter locks without risking damage, here are seven professional DIY tips for straightening hair the heat-free way.
Start with the right shampoo and conditioner
“It’s very important to begin with a proper shampoo and conditioner made for straight hair,” says Scunci’s celebrity stylist Laura Polko. “Post-wash, try to get out as much moisture as possible, then apply a smoothing cream—or use leave-in conditioner to prep your hair and use a smoothing serum or oil, depending on hair type, to finish.”
Use an ultra-absorbent towel
“Heat-free straightening techniques work best on fine to medium hair texture that is straight or slightly wavy,” says Engelsen. And though it can take hours for hair to totally dry, Engelsen recommends jump starting the drying process by using an absorbent fabric like Aquis, which helps wick moisture out of the hair quickly without causing damage and frizz.
Keep brushing your hair until it’s dry
“For long to medium styles that straighten easily, brush wet hair down and pull it tight with your hands every few minutes until it dries,” explains Engelsen. “On naturally wavy hair, this technique will give you the undone city-chic look you often see on runways—and you can finish the style off with oil or pomade on the ends to smooth things out.” If you’re unsure about what brush, start with the Wet Brush.
Wrap your wet hair around your head, then wait
“Growing up in Argentina, I saw my sisters drying their hair with cold air and then finishing with a technique called toca,” says celebrity hairstylist Ricardo Rojas of Ricardo Rojas Atelier in New York City. “The process starts by drying hair with cold air until almost dry, then grabbing sections and pinning them around your head, wrapping them all around. My sisters did this at night and would wake up the next morning with straight and silky hair.” Engelsen also recommends this type of method. “Start by wrapping it around your head and securing it with large bobby pins with a cardboard type material under the surface of the pins to prevent dents,” explains Engelsen.
Use jumbo rollers
“For long hair, use about six jumbo rollers and section the towel-dried hair to the rollers’ width, comb it up, and wrap your hair flat against the roller,” says Engelsen. “Then, secure with a duckbill clip on each side.” Plastic rollers, over Velcro or foam, work better to achieve a smoother effect.
A flatiron is one of the most versatile tools in your beauty arsenal. It can refresh a blowout, straighten curly strands, and even make beachy waves. But it is also a dangerous weapon if used incorrectly. That's not an exaggeration. You could be doing major damage to your hair if you're not careful. Most irons get up to 450 degrees, which is a lot of heat for your hair to handle! So, we talked to T3 celebrity hairstylist David Lopez to find out the rules. Spoiler alert: That sizzling sound is not a good sign.
When you're shopping for a new flatiron, there are a few things to consider. The most important question to answer: What are the plates made of? You'll often see terms like "ceramic" in the description box. Flatiron plates made of ceramic heat more evenly than classic metal. But all ceramic hot tools are not made equal. Some flatirons just have a ceramic coating. Instead look for a product that says "triple-baked," which means that the plates are ceramic through and through.
Another popular buzzword for hot tools is "tourmaline." Lopez explains, "Tourmaline is a precious gemstone that emits negative ions. It helps close the cuticle of the hair and seal the moisture in for a longer-lasting style and a smoother finish." So having tourmaline is definitely a plus.
And titanium is another trend in hot tools right now. "It is a smoother metal, so it glides along the hair better. And it's a little more durable," says Lopez. Of course, you can't tell from looking at a flatiron if it has all these traits. But you can research to find out the specifics. The bad news: Quality is going to cost you! But think of this flatiron as a long-term investment.
A temperature gauge on a flatiron is crucial. The heat setting you use depends on your hair type and the style you want to achieve. Women with highlights or fine hair should stay near the middle of the setting options (think a three on a tool with five settings).
You want to stay away from the hottest heat setting, which is typically around 450 degrees. Lopez warns that for some women using high heat can permanently change your hair type. Heat damage can cause wavy hair to fall flat, ruining the texture. Just for some perspective, 450 is the temperature usedfor semi-permanent keratin straightening treatments. At home you want to stay in the 375-400 degree range (setting four out of five).
You also want to make sure your new flatiron has at least a one-year warranty. And pay attention to the design. __“__Make sure there is not a lot of space between the body of the flatiron and the plate itself, which will reduce snagging,” says Lopez. “You also want the edges of the flatiron to be nice and rounded in case you want to give it a bend.”
Never. This is a hard-and-fast rule. If you’re looking to straighten your hair, you should rough dry it with a blowdryer 100 percent first. No moisture left behind. “That sizzle sound? That’s the water boiling and your hair frying,” says Lopez. “Would you ever iron a wet shirt? Think of hair as a fabric.”
Rookie move. The pros know how important heat protectant is to maintaining the health of the hair. “With a heat protectant, you’re safeguarding your hair—reducing breakage, maintaining your natural texture, and reducing splitting," says Lopez.
If you see smoke when you flat iron your hair, it’s probably because you’ve applied too much product. It’s OK to use a little hairspray, but you don’t want to go overboard.“It can cause some breakage, especially on blonde and fine hair,” says Lopez. “You can use a very light hold hairspray for more control on frizzy hair.”
When you have colored hair, the rules are different. You can’t use the same shampoo, you need extra conditioning treatments, and you can’t use a flatiron on high temperatures.“The heat opens up the cuticle, and the color molecules rinse out faster,” say Lopez. This is true for bottle redheads and brunettes and it’s even worse with bleached hair and bright, rainbow colors.
“If you’re having to go over and over the same piece, your flatiron is not good or there is not enough tension,” said Lopez. You should only have to pass over the section once using the right technique. Take a clean section and clamp on the flatiron at the root. Twist the iron about 45 degrees downward to create tension and smooth the iron down to the ends.
If you’re just trying to calm frizz, you can take large two-inch sections. However when it comes to getting a straight style, smaller sections are the better solution. Sure, it will take longer. But you won’t have to go over the hair again and again (see above). “Sections should be as wide as the plate of your iron," says Lopez. "So, a one-inch iron means a one-inch section.
Your flatiron is the most useful tool in your hot tool arsenal. Not only can you use it for straightening your style, but you can also use the iron to make beach waves and tight curls in your hair.
Burnt product and dust has a tendency to collect at the edges of a flatiron. And to protect your hair, it’s important to clean your tool periodically. You can use alcohol on a cool flatiron to clean off the residue. Or while the iron is still warm (but unplugged), wipe the plates with a damp towel.
Let’s be honest: Perfect blowouts typically only happen in the salon, and if you want super straight hair at home, a flat iron is the way to go. Once you’ve found the best flat iron for you and you’ve got the styling down pat, there are a few other things to keep in mind while straightening your hair. For the best style possible, make sure you’re avoiding the eight mistakes below.
Not Using Heat Protectant Spray: This goes for any heat styling tool, but if you’re not putting a heat protectant spray on your hair before using your flat iron, it’s like asking for damage. On clean, damp hair, spray in a heat protectant to keep your hair from the harm that hot tools can cause.
How you adjust the temperature: The natural thought may be, “If heat damages my hair, I’ll keep my flat iron on the lowest heat setting possible!” Counterintuitive as it may seem, a medium to higher temperature — lower if your hair is fine, higher if your hair is thick — is better, because on a low heat setting, you’ll be going over your hair multiple times to smooth it out. A higher temperature means a better chance that a single pass can do the trick.
Ironing straight down: Getting as close to your root as possible, flat iron each section of hair, but pull the hair up instead of going straight down. This will give you a boost of volume at the crown, so you’ll have straight hair with body instead of your hair falling flat.
Not using a brush: With each section you straighten, brush out the hair first to get any kinks out of the way before you hit it with heat. Doing this will make the straightening go much more smoothly, and can reduce the need to go back over certain areas multiple times.
Not letting your hair cool down: While heat styles hair, cool air works to set it. Allow your hair to cool once you’ve flat ironed it so that it holds the straight style, instead of immediately putting it into a ponytail or a hair clip.
Size matters: Longer or thicker hair requires a larger flat iron (two inches) while shorter or finer hair can go with smaller flat irons (one inch). Be sure to use the proper size flat iron when straightening your hair.
Ironing while your hair is damp: Under no circumstances whatsoever should you flat iron your hair while it’s damp. If you’re in a rush, hit hair with a blow dryer before using the flat iron. When you can, allow your hair to air dry so that you aren’t putting double the amount of heat on strands.
Neglecting to clean the iron: Between using heat protectant spray and any other styling products that may be in your hair, build up can — and will — happen on your flat iron, which can cause it to snag your hair. For a smooth, clean style, make sure you’re cleaning your flat iron regularly.
Somewhere between the bouffant blowout of the ’80s and the so-slick-it-sticks-to-your-head look of the ’90s, there lies a sleek yet bouncy medium. Here, some pointers for straightening your hair so you don’t lose too much volume in the process.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: After washing your hair as usual, squeeze out as much water as you can. (We recommend using a microfiber towel for this.) Next, spritz on a lightweight leave-in conditioner and comb it through, so it coats your strands evenly. This will help smooth the cuticle, which is crucial to preventing fuzz without weighing things down.
Step 2: Take your blow dryer and quickly blast your hair with heat, using your fingertips to rough dry your hair until it’s about 70 percent there. If you have the time, let it air-dry the rest of the way to reduce the amount of heat exposure and potential damage.
Step 3: Once fully dry, divide your hair into small, even sections around your head. (The reason the sections should be small: You want the heat to penetrate all of the strands in fewer swipes.)
Step 4: Now here’s the key to keeping your volume while straightening it: When running a flat iron down the length of your hair, do not clamp it down like a panini press. (That’s what, obviously, flattens it.) Instead, leave it slightly open so your strands still benefit from the direct heat, while maintaining as much volume as possible.
Step 5: If you need a little more polish afterward, spritz a shine serum into your palms (not directly on your hair) and work it sparingly through the ends only.
For even more volume: You can always take a cue from your mom (and beauty TikTokers) and pop in a few Velcro rollers. Starting at the ends of each section you want more bounce, roll the hair forward, toward the crown and secure. After 15 or so minutes, gently unravel them one by one, following the same direction they were rolled in.
And for the finishing touch, flip your head upside down and mist on a flexible hold hairspray. Use your fingers to gently rake the hairspray through your hair while still upside down. Then, flip your hair back and enjoy that va va volume.