There was a time, circa early-2000s, where pin-straight hair was the must-have look for all teenage girls and women. Many of us remember in horror the damage we caused our hair by straightening it every day with super hot flat irons and no heat protection at all.
Today, the bone-straight look is making a major comeback thanks to celebrities sporting super long and sleek hairdos in all kinds of red carpet events. However, there is one huge difference from our dull and split-end inducing 2000s look: shiny and healthy is a key part of the look.
Because some of us can’t resist a trend but are not willing to sacrifice our hair in the process, we’ve made this list of the best tips and tricks for straightening your hair with a flat iron while keeping it smooth and healthy.
Not all flat irons are the same; a good flat iron will make your hair shiny and sleek without causing split ends in the process. A high-quality hair straightener is an investment that you should consider making if you use it to straighten or curl your hair at least once a week – trust us, the damage a poor quality flat iron causes ends up being more expensive in the long run.
The first and most important feature that you should look for in a flat iron is the adjustable temperature setting. Some older versions only have an on-off switch, leaving you unable to control the temperature that you’ll be applying to your hair. This can be potentially catastrophic, especially if you have thin or delicate hair that breaks easily, which should never be flat ironed at temperatures higher than 300 degrees.
Next, you should consider plate width. The most popular and versatile flat iron size is 1-inch because it can be used in all types of hair and lengths. Consider buying a slightly narrower iron if you have super short hair, as it’ll make it much easier to control. Wider straighteners can make ironing long or thick hair much faster and easier.
Lastly, think about materials; flat irons usually come with either ceramic, tourmaline or titanium plates. Ceramic has been the hair straightener gold standard for a while because they create a smoother and shinier look than titanium irons, which can end up burning your hair. Tourmaline is the newest material to hit the beauty shelves; tourmaline-coated ceramic plates are incredibly smooth, rendering an even shinier and sleeker look than plain ceramic irons. The only downside to tourmaline flat irons is that they tend to be more expensive than their ceramic and titanium counterparts.
Can I Straighten Wet Or Damp Hair?
Make it your hair styling mantra that it is always better to have a bad hair day than to straighten it wet. Applying direct heat to your hair when it’s damp or wet causes a hair deformity called bubble hair, which is something you want to avoid at all cost.
When you wash your hair, it absorbs a lot of liquid, which slowly evaporates as your hair air dries. Much like it happens to your toes caused by sweat and rubbing, bubbling occurs when moisture gets trapped inside the hair shaft. When you flat iron damp hair the moisture inside doesn’t have a chance to evaporate properly, so it quickly boils and expands, breaking or bursting your hair strand as it is trying to escape and causing irreparable damage.
The number one rule to avoid bubble hair is therefore of course never straighten or curl your hair while it’s wet or damp. Also, using heat protectant products that act as a layer between your hair and your iron’s hot plates can greatly reduce your risk of breaking your hair or frying your ends.
Prep Your Hair
Though some people like flat ironing day-old hair, it is always best to start off with clean hair to ensure you don’t get any old product build-up that can burn your ends or make it look dull and uneven. We recommend washing your hair with a lightweight shampoo and conditioner, preferably one like this L’Oreal Paris Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight that has been specially formulated for frequently straightened hair.
A must-do when straightening your hair is using a thermal protectant spray to avoid frying or burning your hair. A great heat protectant spray will be free of harsh chemicals and parabens and will have added benefits such as oils and keratin for extra shiny. Finish your look with a small amount of nourishing oil or moisturizing serum to keep flyaways at bay and ensure a glossy and healthy end product.
Use A Brush To Get The Smoothest Hair Possible
Start off by sectioning your hair to avoid having to run your flat iron several times through the same strand. To ensure your hair is evenly straight, don’t have sections thicker than one inch. To get your hair as straight and sleek as possible, start gliding your flat iron slowly through your hair following it immediately behind with a fine or medium-toothed comb. This will take out any knots that can show up in the process and give you a super-straight and sleek look that lasts longer and looks shinier.
Switch It Up
Believe it or not, you can do more than straightening your hair with your flat iron. Hair straighteners are also great tools for creating casual beach waves and even luscious curls without the need of a curling iron.
If you are craving a change but don’t feel like investing in a curling iron follow these easy steps to curl your hair with a straightener.
- As always, begin with clean, dry hair and spray a thermal protectant product to avoid any damage.
- Separate your hair into 1-inch sections.
- Place your flat iron close to the nape of your neck or scalp, and slowly – but in one fluid motion to avoid any creases or marks – glide it down and bend your wrist away from your face, so that palm of your hand is not facing up.
- Alternate the direction of the curls by twisting your hair in opposite directions.
- For beach waves carefully open your flat iron before reaching the ends of your hair.
- For curls, glide your iron all the way down and hold your curl with your hand for a few seconds until it cools
Perfectly sleek and straight hair with a flat iron is possible without having to damage your hair too much in the process. Remember straightening your hair while wet or damp can cause irreversible damage, so always start off with clean and dry hair. Using thermal protectant like this argan oil spray will protect your hair from the constant heat, saving you from splitting or frying your ends.
Let us know in the comment section below if you have any other tips or tricks for achieving the straight hair look and what are your favorite products for taking care of your hair if you flat iron it frequently.