We rely on our beloved blow dryers, flat irons and curling wands to achieve our favorite styles, but a few less-than-best heat styling practices could be harming your hair. The problem is that the high temperatures generated by these styling tools have a serious tendency to dry out and damage your hair. Without protection, the extreme heat makes your hair struggle to stay flexible and in shape.
Read on to see if you’re making these common heat tool mistakes and learn how to avoid them.
Turning It Up
Turning the heat up to the max by default is not the best move for your hair. Different hair types require different heat settings to prevent damage and get the best style. The basic rule of thumb for heat setting is:
- Fine or damaged hair:360 and below
- Normal to medium hair: 360-280
- Thick, Coarse and Curly Hair: 380-410
Completely dry your hair before using a heated styling tool and always use a thermal protector. Whenever possible opt for stylers with numeric temperature controls and multiple heat settings so that you can adjust accordingly for your hair type. It is also better to let the flat iron work a little longer (a few seconds at most) instead of setting it to high temperature to save time. We’re fans of the CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium Straightening Hairstyling Iron and the Paul Mitchell Express Ion Dry+ which has five heat settings.
Use quality heated tools
To avoid damaging your hair, you should choose one of these three types of composition or coating when buying a hair dryer or a straightening or curling iron
- Ceramic: which is an excellent heat conductor and reduces static electricity without causing too much damage to fragile or damaged hair fibers.
- Tourmaline: which distributes heat evenly throughout the hair surface, protecting it in the process.
- Titanium: which tightens the hair scales from the first use, providing luster, discipline and flexibility to the hair.
An effective alternative to hot air blow-brushing is cold air blow-brushing. Here, the method remains the same. We take a flat brush and our hair dryer set on the “cold air” function, then we pull strand by strand with our brush, holding the dryer at the top of the strand until it is completely dry. This method is very effective, but it requires patience because it takes three times longer than a normal blow-dry. If you’re in a hurry, don’t bother.
Not Using Protection
Always, always, always use heat protection. Not using a thermal protectant on your hair leaves strands more susceptible to heat damage. Before heat styling, reach for a protectant with multiple benefits like Chi Silk Infusion or Joico Thermal Protection Spray to maintain your hair’s general health, texture and elasticity.
Read also: Best Women’s Shampoo For Thinning Hair
When it comes to heat tools, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Bulky irons make it difficult to manipulate delicate areas like the hairline, increasing the risk of breakage and over heating. Choose the right size for you. Long hair? Choose a larger barrel curling iron. Arms get tired fast? Try a lightweight hairdryer like the Rusk W8less Professional 2000 Watt Dryer.
Product buildup and dust left on appliances is a recipe for uneven heating and drying. Wipe your irons with luke warm water or iron cleaner after using them to remove residue. While you’are at it, get the dust and dirt out of your hair dryer. “Dust and lint particles get sucked through the air intake cover on the back on your dryer.
When built up, it can cause your dryer to work over time, creating excessive heat both inside the dryer and air coming out onto you hair. Twist the air intake cover off, and use a Q-Tip to clean out dust bunnie. Using proper care and caution with your heat tools will give you the best results with minimal damage.