A Guide to Protecting Your Hair From Flat Iron Damage
Don’t Let the Heat get to You
Friends and clients often ask me, “how can I protect my hair from heat damage?”
There’re actually quite a few steps you can take to minimize damage and keep your hair healthy while enjoying straight, shiny locks. So today I’ve put together this guide to how to protect hair from heat damage. I’ll look at some of my most frequently asked questions and try to give some practical solutions to keep your hair looking gorgeous.
Don’t End up like a Scarecrow!
How does heat damage hair?
The sad fact is that all heat treatment will damage your hair. The heat gets into the hair cortex, weakening it and making hair weaker and dryer.Hair damaged from flat iron use can end up dry, broken and straw-like. Don’t let that scare you off using a straightener and getting that beautiful style, though. The key is in minimizing damage by knowing how to protect your hair from heat damage. Keep reading for flat iron tips to keep your hair healthy when using heat stylers.
What’s the best way to protect hair from heat damage?
Buying quality products to apply before, during or after heat treatment is the best way to protect hair from straighteners. Look for deep conditioning treatments and built in moisturizers like jojoba and argan oils. Many products are designed especially for use with flat irons and target heat damage. Here are some heat protectant and hair repair products which come highly recommended on Amazon.com:
Art Naturals Argan Oil Hair Mask, Deep Conditioner. This product gets a full 5 stars from me as it works really well to repair damaged hair from flat irons. It’s a deep conditioning treatment that you should try to use at least once a week if you’re straightening your hair regularly.
- During Straightening:
CHI 44 Iron Guard is a professionally developed product to protect hair from damage during heat treatment. It gets 5 stars from me because there’s no sticky build-up, it doesn’t damage the surface of your flat irons and it’s not tested on animals.
HSI PROFESSIONAL Thermal Protector 450 with Argan oil for Flat Irons is designed especially to protect hair during straightening. It contains Argan Oil which not only smells great but locks in moisture. It gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.
Matrix Biolage Styling Blue Agave Finishing Spritz Hair Spray will help keep your beautifully straightened hair in place for longer and will also protect and replenish moisture at the same time. An added benefit is that your hair will look so good that you won’t be tempted to turn on your flat irons for little touch ups! It gets the full 5 stars from me.
A Package Deal!
I’ve got a great nose for a bargain and I’ve found a fabulous deal which combines hair straighteners with a hair repair treatment product. The HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron, with Glove, Pouch and Travel Size Argan Oil Leave-in Hair Treatment package gives you the best of both worlds: you get your flat iron and also a leave in conditioning product designed especially to repair hair after heat treatment. These HSI flat irons get a 5 out of 5 rating from me: flick over here to read my review.
Get the Temperature Right
What’s the least damaging flat iron temperature?
Flat iron heat settings make a huge difference in minimizing heat damage on hair. Experts say that the best temperature for hair straightening is 375 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough for effective straightening but not so hot that it fries your hair. If you want effective hair protection, you need to choose straighteners that allow you to control the temperature and that heat accurately and evenly.
Many models, such as the Isa Professional Flat Iron have features like a digital read so that you can see exactly how much heat you’re applying and button locks to prevent you from accidently cranking up the heat and frying your hair. You can read my detailed Isa Professional Flat Iron review here.
Use the Best Flat Iron for Your Hair Type
What straightener is best for your hair?
There’s no simple answer to this question because the best flatirons for your hair depends on your hair type – there is no one size fits all. Choosing the iron best suited to your hair will help you straighten more effectively so you don’t have to go over and over a section, causing unnecessary damage. Check out my guide to the best flat irons for different hair types here.
Minimize Heat Styling
How can I minimize hair damage from straighteners?
Think about how often you need to flat iron your hair and try to limit the amount of heat styling you do. You don’t really need to flat iron hair everyday and it’s healthiest for your hair if you don’t. Why not try a messy bun one day, a high ponytail the next and then perfectly straight, shiny flat ironed hair on the third?
Let it Dry
Does hair dryer damage your hair?
The simple answer is yes.
Luckily most hair dryers have a cool blow session as well as a hot. It takes a little longer to cool dry your hair (and it can make you feel really chilly!) but it’s far better for your hair.
Also, when you’ve got the time, try and avoid hair drying altogether. This way you’ll only be using one heat styling tool in a session. For example, if you’re flat ironing natural hair in the summer you could skip the hair dryer step altogether and let your hair dry naturally before using a flat iron.
What’s the best way to straighten hair without damage?
The best way to straighten hair is with as few passes as possible, minimizing the amount of time that the hair is exposed to the heat.
For example, straightening curly hair with a flat iron can be really time consuming and there’s a temptation to go over and over the hair, which causes over exposure to heat and hair damage from flat irons. This is the major reason that I always recommend professional irons rather than budget ones.
The Bio Ionic Onepass is probably the safest flat iron that I’ve come across because the silicone strips allow it to straighten a section of hair effectively with just one pass. It always gets the full 5 stars from me. Check out my comprehensive Bio Ionic Straighteners review here.
My hair is damaged from straightening what should I do?
If your hair is already damaged from heat, color treatment or environmental conditions, you can still enjoy flat iron style, you just need to know how to protect damaged hair and be super careful that you follow all the steps. Make sure that you’re gentle with your hair, that you straighten at lower temperatures and that you use a protective product and regular deep conditioning treatments.
Got it Straight?
Should I straighten my hair?
Yes! Smooth, straight, shiny tresses are the hottest look this year and if you’re smart and know how to protect your hair from heat damage, you’ll be able to minimize the damage and keep your hair looking healthy and beautiful.
I hope these hair damage tips have been useful for you!