If you’ve gotten into the habit of reaching for your trusty flat iron every time you’re feeling a little frizzy, you might want to think twice. Your attempts to achieve perfectly straight and smooth hair might be what’s causing all those flyaways in the first place. The repeated stress of applying heat to your hair can weaken strands and cause breakage, which leads to frizz, which leads to the need for flat-ironing. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of hair damage that might make you consider shaving it all off and starting again.
The good news? There are easy ways to minimize damage caused by hair straightening while forgoing the buzz cut.
One of the easiest ways to minimize heat styling damage is to make sure your hair is completely dry before you iron it. Some flat irons reach temperatures upward of 400 degrees. Applying that kind of heat to wet hair will basically boil your tresses, causing permanent damage. Even if you have a steam iron, your hair must be completely dry before you can safely use it.
Unfortunately, boiling your hair is hardly the only way you might be harming it. Straightening the same section multiple times will lead to damage as well. Whenever possible, avoid passing your flat iron over the same section of hair twice. To keep track of what you have and haven’t straightened yet, separate your hair into sections with clips, working through each section one at a time.
And make sure your iron isn’t too hot. Research suggests that using your flat iron at around 310 degrees Fahrenheit provides the optimum amount of straightness with the least amount of damage. With that in mind, if you’re in the market for a new iron, look for one that displays the temperature instead of just low and high settings. You never want your iron to go over 350 degrees Fahrenheit—that’s when your hair really starts to cook.
Another feature to seek out? Ceramic plates, preferably with a tourmaline coating. The ceramic won’t snag and pull on hair as much as metal plates, and tourmaline help seal in moisture.
Of course, there’s virtually no type of straightening that’s completely damage-free. So, if your hair type allows it, try to avoid re-straightening your hair on a daily basis. Wait a few days before washing and restyling and you’ll end up with less damage, not to mention a quicker morning routine. If washing your hair every few days won’t work, using a deep conditioning treatment on your hair before shampooing is a great way to infuse some much-needed moisture back into your hair. And when you want that salon style to stick around, this is The Best Way to Make Your Blowout Last Longer!
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