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The clocks have gone back; we can no longer pretend winter won’t soon come. Nor can we keep wearing those easy, breezy summer styles every night and day. Wintertime, when we can’t rely on tanned skin and a sunny disposition to carry us through, requires that we add more polish and sophistication to create an eye-catching look. Sleek, shiny and straight hairstyles are one of the quickest, easiest ways to refine a style, which is why flat-irons come out more in the cold. Using flatirons should be simple. But many people forget the golden rules and end up damaging their tresses. Sidestep any slips with our easy guide for fabulous flat-ironing.

Use Protection: Hot-tools go up to 450 degrees. That kind of heat burns the hair shaft. Thermal protectors are essential, yet underused. They create a barrier between the hair and the heat. Apply protective thickening lotion before ironing; it’s the first step to maintaining healthy locks.

 

Steamy When Wet: Ironing wet or damp hair doesn’t work. Hair that sizzles or steams is not good. Always dry hair properly before applying hot tool heat.

 

Size Matters: The plate size of an iron defines what it’s good for. Wide flat irons are for thick, heavy, and long hair. Narrower irons are more versatile and great at getting tricky places, such as bangs or behind ears. Be mindful of your hairstyle, and what you want to do, before choosing the size of your iron. For most people, one-to-one-and-a-half inch versions are best.

 

Don’t Hold On Too Long: Holding heat in one place for too long, burns, breaks, damages tresses. Keep irons moving evenly down the hair shaft. It’s much better to go over any unruly sections two or three separate times than to try to do it in one extended pass.

 

Too Hot In Here: Modern irons come with an adjustable thermometer gauge, toping out at around 450 degrees. Don’t turn it all the way up. 350-degrees of heat is enough to create almost any style; and it’s safer.

 

Cool Off: Heat makes hair easier to reshape. Often forgotten, however, is that hair is never truly ‘set’ in place until it is cool. Moving styles about while they’re still warm can cause them to be lost. It’s a good idea to blast finished styles with a shot of cool air from your blowdryer to set them in place.

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