Flat irons can tame essentially the most treacherous frizz and unruly curls into sleek, silky, healthy-feeling tresses. Whenever you apply heat to your hair repeatedly, this could ultimately lead to hair damage. Using your flat iron at the proper heat settings-and using it as infrequently as possible-can aid you avoid dull, broken, heat-damaged hair.
A Transformative Tool
In comparison with chemical straightening techniques, which permanently restructure the hair, flat irons show you how to achieve pin-straight hair by pressing it through heated tongs, which temporarily reshape the hydrogen bonds in the hair’s inner core. Once exposed to humidity, rain or your next shampooing, hair returns to its normal curly or wavy state. However, the American Academy of Dermatology states that side-effects of altering the hair with heat eventually leads to damage to the outer cuticle–dry ends, flyaways, dulling and breaking that offers your hair a thin, shaggy appearance.
Consumer flat irons might be equipped with heat settings that go up to 410 degrees F or more. However, the AAD indicates that such high temperatures are unwarranted, citing studies indicating that exposing the hair to temperatures of between 347 and 419 for even five minutes can harm hair. When a hot flat iron is applied to damp hair or hair that is been bleached, permed or dyed, damage can occur at even lower temperatures. The AAD advises making sure the flat iron isn’t any hotter than 347 degrees F, if the styling tool has a digital read-out or temperature setting, or using it on the “low to medium” heat setting.
Flat-Iron Marketing Hype
Some flat iron manufacturers may tempt you with claims that their styling tool is better on your hair–and even that it may possibly make your hair healthier. Not so, says the Beauty Brains, as any time you subject your hair to heat, this in itself is damaging. If you use a wet-dry iron, that sizzling sound is not good–that is the sound of the water in your hair turning to steam, not being “sealed” into the hair’s cuticle as some flat iron marketers claim. Similarly, ceramic tourmaline flat irons that purport to exert “negative ions” into the hair to make it less frizzy aren’t any better than standard metallic irons, says the Beauty Brains. However, using a professional-quality flat iron may be more beneficial to your hair than a cheap, drugstore iron.
How to select the right Hair Smoother
Professional flat irons are often equipped with ceramic heating elements which are sturdier and more reliable, allowing the plates of the iron to heat quickly and uniformly. This enables hair to be pressed through the plates only once to get the results that you simply desire. When you have a reasonable model, it’s possible you’ll end up repeatedly applying the tongs to your tresses without much luck. The Beauty Brains states that your hair should run through the plates easily, without snagging or tearing–or leaving a small pile of broken-off follicles on the vanity top.
Flat-Iron Dos and Don’ts
The AAD recommends using flat irons infrequently, no more than two to thrice per week. The Beauty Brains also advises using a leave-in conditioner in your hair, or alternately, using a spray, cream or silicone gel. The goal is to maintain your hair lubricated in the course of the course of heat styling. Hair damage from a flat iron is not forever, but you could need to live with it for up to 2 years, until new healthy hair grows out.
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