Applying heat through the use of curlers and straighteners is a great way to get your hair to take the shape you want it to. However, flat ironing, blow-drying and curling are all easy ways to damage your hair unless you take some precautions and follow the correct procedure.
By using correct techniques and taking some precautionary measures, you can successfully use heat to give your hair shape without doing any major damage.
Use a high-quality curling or straitening iron
The material of the iron you choose to use can have a profound effect on the health of your hair. Cheaper irons are often made with cheap metal that don’t heat up evenly and can actually burn your hair. Always go with a high-quality curling or straightening iron that is made from either titanium, tourmaline or ceramic.
Choose the right sized iron for your hair
As a general rule, a 2.5cm iron will be the most versatile selection for hair that has a medium thickness and length. If you have short hair, go with a smaller iron. If you have long and very thick hair, then the process will go much faster if you choose a larger iron.
For ringlet curls, use a smaller iron. For loose waves, use a larger iron.
Use a heat protection product before using heating devices
Invest in a heat protectant that uses humectants and silicones in tandem. These ingredients work together to lock the moisture and protect your hair from the harsh heat. If your hair is thin then a heat protectant spray will work fine. If your hair is especially thick, use a heat protectant oil, lotion or cream.
Dry hair on low setting until it totally dry
Put your blow dryer on its minimum setting and completely dry your hair before attempting to curl or straighten it. If you have extremely thick hair then you will need to separate this into sections.
Adjust temperature to match the thickness of your hair
Use the lowest possible setting to dry your hair to avoid damaging it. If at all possible, go with an iron that has digital temperature control as this will give you higher accuracy than one with low, medium and high options.
Only apply heat on small sections at a time
In order to reduce possible damage, you should only use your curler or straightener on small sections each time. This allows you to maintain contact with the hot iron for shorter intervals while achieving the same result. As a general rule, you should never use the heating tool for more than 3 to 5 seconds at a time.
You only need to make one pass with the iron
Contrary to popular belief, you should only ever need to use the iron against a section of hair once, as long as you are using the right technique and heat setting. Going back over the same section of hair with an iron will surely cause further damage.