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How To Use A Hot Comb

How To Use A Hot Comb

Adding a hot comb to your haircare and styling arsenal can be a great way to take your look from “ok” to “out of this world” in next to no time. The trick, however, is learning how to use a hot comb properly, in order to enjoy the full potential of the tool.

Fortunately, we have put together everything you need to know to enjoy the best results, and the best ways to help you transform your natural hair into your ideal style in next to no time. No matter your hair type, you can use multiple temperature settings to enjoy amazing results, and hot combing can become your new favorite way to tackle unruly tresses.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Hot Comb?

What Is A Hot Comb

In the simplest terms, a hot comb, also known as an electric straightening comb, is a hair styling tool with a heat-resistant handle, that is designed to transform coarse hair into smooth, straight and frizz-free locks. In the earliest versions of the tool, the teeth of the comb, arranged in the same way as a regular comb used to detangle hair, had metal teeth, and the teeth were heated on the stove. Hot Comb Vs Flat Iron? Click to find out which is best for you.

Hot Comb Technology

With a modern straightening comb, however, technology has evolved, and hot combs are now heated using electricity. Most will include ceramic heating units, and this helps to ensure that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the whole hot comb – enabling you to achieve a smoother and more even result.

Hot Comb Features

In addition, many modern hot combs will come with a range of variable heat settings and controls, allowing you to reduce the risk of heat damage by choosing the best temperature for your hair – thin hair will require a cooler setting than thick, wavy hair for example. This ensures you are in total control of your styling experience and final result.

Most hot combs come in a plastic casing to reduce the risk of burns, but elements will still be hot, so take care to avoid scalds. Always use heat protectant spray when flat ironing to reduce hair damage.

Who Should Use A Hot Comb

Who Should Use A Hot Comb

In their traditional form, most hot comb variations were largely used by women with coarse hair, curly hair or those with African American style hair – the end result was to enjoy a smooth, sleek and silky look, and these hair types saw the most benefit from the tool.

With modern electric hot comb models, many types of hair can be treated and styled using a hot comb, and the best results will be seen on those whose hair sits at roughly their shoulders and below – those with short hair are unlikely to see as many benefits, but would be more advantageous on short curly hair, rather than fine hair. This is because the hot comb requires tension with the hair in order to work effectively.

If you have thin, naturally straight hair, or, conversely, very curly hair, then you may be better off using a regular flat iron for styling. As the name suggests, a flat iron consists of two flat heated plates, and can “iron” the hair down to a sleeker style.

You can also use a regular flat iron after your hot comb for extra smooth results. As a rule, flat irons work better for straight or slightly wavy hair and can add shine.

Looking for the perfect hair dryer? Read our reviews of the Quietest Hair Dryers to choose the best one.

Using A Hot Comb On Natural Hair

Using an electric hot comb on natural hair should not cause you too many issues, though those with very curly hair may find that a flat iron serves their needs better.

To enjoy the best results there are a number of steps to follow, which will help you to enjoy the very best results:

  1. Start by making sure you dry your hair completely if it is wet. Applying heat from any straightening tool to damp hair is a one-way ticket to serious heat damage, and can cause damage to your heated comb (or a flat iron if this is your chosen weapon).
  2. Once hair is dry, apply a protecting spray or serum all over your hair to further prevent heat damage – this step is important whether you are using a flat iron or a straightening comb, and even if you have tough, coarse hair.
  3. Separate your hair into sections – this can make it easier to manage and work with.
  4. Start at the root, with the comb close to your scalp – be careful not to make contact with the metal teeth or you risk burns. Next, run your heated comb down the length of your hair – just as you would if you were combing your natural hair with a regular comb.
  5. Repeat these steps all across the head of your hair, until each section has been treated, and you have achieved the desired straight hair results.
  6. Apply hairspray if required.

There are a few do’s and don’ts to bear in mind to get the desired results when using a heated comb on natural hair to straighten (these also apply to a flat iron). Looking for the styling tools for curls and waves? Check out our article about Best Interchangeable Curling Wands here.

What To Do

  • Apply a heat protecting spray or serum
  • Make sure hair is totally dry
  • Section your hair before you start
  • Make sure you have the desired setting
  • Use a flat iron before your comb if you have super thick, curly or unruly hair
  • Use a heat protectant surface to place your electric comb on when not in use

What Not To Do

  • Style or apply heat straight to hair that is already damaged
  • Attempt to use heat on wet or damp hair
  • Make multiple passes on the same section of hair
  • Touch the hot teeth or sections of the comb
  • Touch the electrics with wet hands
  • Use a paper towel to lay your comb on – use a proper heat resistant surface or mat

Frequently Asked Questions

You use a hot comb by ensuring that your hair is completely dry and then applying a heat protectant spray or serum to prevent heat damage. Separate your hair before you start, and then comb the teeth down the length of your hair from root to tip until you achieve a smooth, sleek result.

A hot comb straightens your hair from root to tip by flattening any curls, waves and bumps. Starting at the root, you will gently smooth out the surface of the hair, and the end result is sleek and free from frizz or stray flyaways. A hair straightening comb or electric hot comb can also add extra shine to your hair.

A hot comb is good for natural hair but may be less effective to straighten very curly hair, or straight hair that is thin, fine and flat – too much heat can damage this. With the right technique and protection, however, a hot comb can be a great styling tool to help straighten your hair and make it look and feel its best.

You heat a hot comb for the length of time that is advised by the manufacturer of your specific brand – this will vary from tool to tool. As a general rule, most heated combs will only take around 30 seconds to warm and can be plugged into the mains. You will often hear a beep or other signal when the comb is ready to use to straighten – always check the guide to your tool for the exact instructions.

A hot comb can damage your hair if you use it too regularly, make multiple passes over the same section of hair or fail to use the right heat protection. Take the time to include a deep conditioning treatment or moisturizing mask into your hair care routine to reduce damage and breakage.


Once you learn how to use a hot comb, a whole world of hairstyling possibilities is unlocked for you. This is a simple yet versatile tool that can help you to enjoy smooth, sleek locks and a poker straight style that will last well into the night – no matter how crazy your plans may be!