Most women and girls own a flatiron. It’s a great quick fix tool; the heat means you can manipulate hair to wear it as you like. And instead of having to combine two tools –– a brush and a dryer –– you only need one. Using flatirons should be simple. But getting it wrong damages tresses, and there are a few common mishaps. Make sure they don’t happen to you with our guide to sidestepping slip ups…
Using Protection: Hot-tools go up to 450 degrees. That kind of heat burns hair. Thermal protectors are essential, yet underused. They create a barrier between the hair and the heat. Apply a thermal protector before ironing; it’s the first step to maintaing healthy locks.
Steamy When Wet: Ironing wet or damp hair doesn’t work. Hair that sizzles or steams is not good. Dry hair properly before applying serious 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. 350-400 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.