Using a Flat Iron Properly

by Anza Goodbar
(last updated September 4, 2015)

My oldest daughter has extremely curly hair. Her hair is thick and unruly if not treated. She uses a salon straightening process, however she still needs to use a flat iron to reduce volume and frizz. Just like curling irons, flat irons get extremely hot. Even with the best flat irons, proper care should be used to prevent damage.

  • Start with clean hair. Uses a good conditioner, some stylists recommend a leave in conditioner to keep moisture in hair. Dirty hair can produce clumpy hair from product build up.
  • Use pomade or wax on the ends of the hair to help protect from heat damage. Products with thermal protectors provide a slick surface for the flat iron to slide across and prevent stripping hair of moisture.
  • Be sure hair is totally dry. Heat + water = steam. Not only will there be a poor result, but steaming the length of the hair can be damaging by stripping it of needed moisture.
  • Pre-style hair with a paddle or round brush. Once hair is 75% dry, use a brush to help direct hair to curl under or flip up.
  • Comb hair thoroughly. It is important to gently remove all tangles before beginning the straightening process.
  • Use scrunci clips to section off hair. Straighten small sections of hair at a time will reduce the amount of heat required to straighten hair.

Now your hair is ready to straighten:

  • Re-comb a small section of hair.
  • Apply a small amount of hair spray to reduce fly-away hair.
  • Place the flat iron as close to scalp as possible.
  • Close the flat iron; use a light grip.
  • Glide the flat iron paddles down the hair in a gentle even manner.
  • It may be necessary to repeat the process more than once on each section of hair.
  • A flip or down turn can be achieved by twisting the wrist. This may take some practice to get the technique right.

As with any heated hair tool, if hair is thin, brittle or damaged, it would not be advisable to use a hot iron as the primary way to style hair. It is important to use hair care products that will protect hair from heat damage. The best flat iron to use is one that has a controllable thermostat. Adjust it to the minimum temperature required to get the desired result.

There are different sizes and widths of flat irons to match the type of hair being styled. Short hair should use thin paddles, often referred to as tongs. Long thick hair can use the wider, longer paddles to reduce time needed for styling. Ceramic flat irons will conduct the heat more evenly and reduce hot spots that can cause damage.

Author Bio

Anza Goodbar

Anza is a single mother of four who makes her home in Colorado. She enjoys writing, hiking and is an avid football and hockey fan. She is the owner of a virtual business services company; writing is just one of the many services her company offers. ...

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