To get the smoothest, sleekest look possible, follow these tips on straightening hair with a flat iron:
Start With Clean Hair
For the best results, use a flat iron on clean hair only. Hair that is coated with dirt, excessive styling products, or oil will be harder to straighten and will leave a residue on the plates of the flat iron that will be hard to remove and affect its performance.
Use the Right Size Iron
Flat irons come in a variety of sizes, from one-half to two inches wide or more. For short or thin fine hair, the one inch flat iron is a good choice, while a one and a half or two inch iron will give more heating surface to straighten long or coarse hair more quickly and efficiently. As a rule, the narrower the flat iron, the easier it is to work with.
Don't Skimp on Quality
Although flat irons can be purchased for $20 or less, the less expensive models typically have aluminum plates, which can break the hair, cause it to frizz, and increase static. Although high-quality flat irons can cost from $60 to over $300, in this case higher cost usually indicates a better product, and a high quality flat iron will last for many years.
For better performance and less chance of hair damage, choose a flat iron with solid ceramic or tourmaline plates. Be sure to look for irons that are made of ceramic or tourmaline, not with plates that are merely coated with the materials. Solid ceramic and tourmaline flat irons heat up faster, more evenly, and retain the heat much longer than the irons with coated metal plates.
Pick an Iron With the Right Heater
Look for a ceramic flat iron with a PTFC heater, which will produce far-infrared heat, a slow, even heat with an instant reheating feature to keep the heat consistent. PTFC heaters allow for the deep and safe penetration of heat into the cortex of the hair, sealing the cuticle to lock in moisture and reduce damage.
Use the Proper Heat Setting for Your Hair Type
If your hair is fine, fragile, bleached, or otherwise damaged, you should set the heat to low. Normal hair can be straightened in the medium-heat range, and thick, coarse, or curly hair may require the highest setting. The trick is to experiment to determine the lowest heat required to straighten your hair. This setting not only varies according to your hair type, but also according to the flat iron you are using.
More Tips on Straightening Hair With a Flat Iron
Looking for more tips on straightening hair with a flat iron? If so, divide the hair into sections so it is easier to handle. Also, smaller sections will straighten faster and more easily than thick ones.
Use a moisturizing shampoo and a conditioner before you flat iron your hair to help keep the hair from drying out and becoming brittle. Also consider spraying each strand with a thermal protectant product, which will create a barrier between the hair and the iron and help reduce damage.
Try not to use your flat iron every day, as even high quality models get extremely hot and can be hard on the hair. Styling your hair in different ways will not only minimize the damage a flat iron can cause, but will also add some variety to the way you wear your hair.