There are certain hair tools that should be in everyone’s bathroom, and for us, one of those is definitely the flat iron. Whether you have straight hair, wavy or curly hair, you can always rely on a flat iron (also known as a hair straightener) to help you to smooth out your strands and even curl them, if you master that method. As with any heat styling tool, it’s important to know the ins and outs of how to use flat irons before you begin amping up the heat. Whether you’re opting for a hair brush straightener, ceramic flat iron, or titanium flat iron, these tips will help you out. Read on to check out our step-by-step guide to learn how to use your straightener to create some amazingly awesome straight hair:
Flat Iron: How to Use it in 6 Steps
1. Start with clean hair.
Before you even begin to think about diving into the world of flat irons, you need to hop in the shower and wash your hair with an ultra-moisturizing combo. We’re huge fans of Suave Professionals Almond+Shea Butter Moisturizing Shampoo and Suave Professionals Almond+Shea Butter Moisturizing Conditioner. This powerful combo works to moisturize and hydrate your hair.
2. Add a smoothing agent.
After letting your hair air-dry for a little bit, before finishing off with a little time under a blow dryer, add a dime-sized amount of smoothing product, like TRESemmé Smooth & Silky Anti-Frizz Secret Crème. Not only will this product protect against frizz, but it also works as a heat protectant by fighting against moisture lost due to heat styling, an essential thing to look out for when using a flat iron.
3. Don’t go overboard with styling products.
After you’ve finished blow-drying your hair, it’s important to not add more products before straightening. When you use a flat iron on your hair, you’re oftentimes exposing your locks to extreme heat, and this, when paired with lots of products, can create build-up and heat damage.
4. Detangle and preheat.
The last step before actually getting a little hands-on is to preheat your flat iron and brush your hair out while it warms up. You want to have completely de-knotted hair before running a flat iron over it in order to avoid kinks and heat damage. As for the preheating process, the common rule of thumb is to use higher temps for thicker hair and lower temps for finer hair. Despite high temps being available, 450-degree temps were actually created for in-salon use, such as for keratin treatments and other chemical treatments. That said, be sure to stick to the 300 range, which is way safer for your hair and scalp.
5. Begin straightening your hair.
Star on the underside of your head and work towards the top, section by section. For each section, clamp the flat iron as close to your scalp as possible without burning yourself. Next, slowly move your flat iron down your strands from the root to the tip. Repeat until your full head is completely straightened.
6. Lock in your style.
4 Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Get the right tools.
There are tons of flat irons out there, but other than having the same shape or surface, many of them are not created equally. We suggest getting one with ceramic plates, as these ensure that mechanical heat is evenly distributed throughout your head.
2. Score the right temperature.
Flat irons have multiple settings that will put mild-to-intense heat on your hair. When you straighten your hair with a flat iron, the key is to start at a lower setting and increase as needed. As a general rule, normal hair can be ironed at 300 to 380℉ and thick, coarse or extra curly hair at 350 to 400℉.
3. Keep it dry.
Unlike when you get a blowout, your tresses should at least 95 percent dry when they are flat-ironed. Completely wet hair can cause that sizzling sound (a.k.a. burning!) of your hair that can make it harder to flat iron, not to mention cause damage to your hair.
4. Work section by section.
A flat iron can only be used optimally throughout smaller sections of hair. Professionals suggest nothing thicker than a paper-thin layer of hair should coat the plate for best results. Clip the rest of your strands back before you start ironing the sections. Work from the top of your head (as close to the root as possible without scalding your scalp) and squeeze the flat iron tongs together, gradually moving downward from the lengths to the tips and using your hand as a guide. Repeat these steps on all sections and until you achieve your desired straightness.
Looking for even more tips about how to use flatirons? Check out our feature on how to curl your hair with a flat iron.