Hair Care

How to Use a Flat Iron for Best Results with Minimal Damage

A quality, white ceramic flat iron hair straightener

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I’ve been straightening my hair for over 10 years now. When I first started, I barely knew how to use a flat iron. I’ve made a lot of mistakes during that time. From getting unsatisfying results to damaging my hair and making it dry and brittle – been there, done that.

But, I’ve also learned a lot from my mistakes. Now I finally know how to make my hair super straight and maintain it healthy.

The truth is – straightening your hair with a flat iron is a very easy, straightforward process. You just have to keep a few simple tips in your mind. And avoid a few major mistakes which, for some reason, we all make.

So, here are my top 10 tips on how to straighten your hair with flat iron, get that silky smooth finish and keep your hair healthy, bouncy and full of life…

How to Use a Flat Iron -10 Best Tips

Flat Iron Tip #1: Use the Right Shampoo and Conditioner

For best results, your hair straightening ritual shouldn’t start when you get to the flat iron, but in the shower. And what you need are straightening shampoo and conditioner.

These products are not powerful enough to give you that perfect glossy finish on their own. But combined with a flat iron, they can significantly improve the results.

Flat Iron Tip #2: Go Easy With the Blow Drier

When your hair is about to be exposed to extreme temperatures a straightening iron provides, you should at least try and avoid heat prior to straightening. But, let’s be honest – waiting for your hair to dry naturally is not really an option for most of us.

The next best thing would be to let your hair air dry for as long as you can before finishing it with a blow dryer. Aim at at least 50% dry hair, and 70 – 80% would be ideal.

Flat Iron Tip #3: Your Hair Needs To Be 100% Dry

You know how sometimes you catch a section of hair with your flat iron and a cloud of mist quickly evaporates? I used to think that the sound it makes feels kind of satisfying. Like when you pop an acne.

Little did I know that that was the sound of my hair getting fried. While wet, hair is so fragile, it should be treated with heat as little as possible. Even only slightly damp hair can get much more damaged than if it was completely dry.

Flat Iron Tip #4: Apply a Heat Protectant

Heat protectant sprays and lotions are products meant to be applied before exposing your hair to high heats in order to protect it as much as possible and reduce the damage. They are not all mighty, but they do help.

These products come in a vast variety of shapes and forms, and it’s up to you to choose one that will suit you best. Some heat protectants also state up to how high temperatures they are able to protect hair. So you can try and pair that with the heat you are usually using.

Flat Iron Tip #5: Use a Quality Tool

This one is a no brainer – the better quality flat iron you use, the better results you get. Not only in terms of getting that perfect glossy finish, but also when it comes to protecting your hair against damage.

But, with hair styling tools, the price is definitely not always a reflection of quality. The best thing you can do is carefully go through the specifications of the product you want to buy, to see what it can and cannot do.

Also, check as many reviews as you can. The previous customers’ experience can help you a lot to determine if that particular flat iron can be the right one for your hair.

Flat Iron Tip #6: Make Sure the Temperature Is Right

Just because the temperature on your flat iron can go up to 450F doesn’t mean you have to turn it all the way up. The more heat you apply to your hair, the more damaged it gets.

This is one of those things that you’re going to have to try and learn. Start with lower temperatures and slowly increase until you’re happy with the results. Some general rule says that fine, thin hair doesn’t need much heat, while thick, coarse hair may need higher temperatures to become and stay straight and shiny.

Flat Iron Tip #7: Separate Your Hair into Thin Sections

You can use a clip to pick up the upper layer of your hair. Then separate the hair that’s left down into smaller sections. The exact thickness of the sections would depend on your hair and on the tool you are using.

The sections shouldn’t be too thin or it will take you ages to straighten your whole hair. But they also can’t be too thick because not all parts will be equally exposed to the heat. There is no one-fit-all answer with this. But, luckily, it takes only one or two tries to learn what gives the best results.

Flat Iron Tip #8: Pass Each Section Slowly

Instead of quickly passing each section many, many times, you will get much better results if you do it slowly and steadily. Just grab a section of hair near the roots. Place it between the iron plates and slowly pull the straightener downward all the way to the tips.

Not only will your hairstyle stay put longer if you treat your hair this way, but you will also reduce the damage. Just never ever catch a section of your hair between the hot plates and keep it in the same spot! You can lose the whole section at once if the plates are hot enough.

Flat Iron Tip #9: Apply a Serum or Oil

Now that you’ve got your hair looking exactly as you wanted it to, even though you’ve tried to be as gentle as possible, your strands have still gone through a lot. Use a hair serum or oil to replenish some of the lost moisture and help your hair stay silky and smooth.

Serums coat your hair’s surface, adding shine and reducing frizz. Some even provide a bit of protection against pollution, UV rays and humidity. Try to find a lightweight product that won’t kill your hair’s volume.

Also, every once in a while, treat your hair with some deep nourishing and restoring treatment, like hot oil hair treatment.

Flat Iron Tip #10: Clean Your Flat Iron

You should only be straightening your hair when it is freshly washed, so you can’t expect a lot of dirt buildup on the plates. However, your conditioner residue and whatever heat protectant you are using can lower the tool’s efficiency over time.

A soft cloth and a bit of rubbing alcohol as soon as your straightener cools down will do the trick in most cases. But make sure to check the guide and manufacturer’s recommendations, just in case.

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