Although your flat iron or blow dryer can make your hair look like you just left the salon, they can also damage your picture-perfect tresses if used the wrong way. That’s because the extreme force of some styling tools can create breakage in your hair.
However, you can minimize the damage by following a few insider tips from salon stylists.
1. Flat iron
Stylists say that heated flat irons cause the most damage to hair. The extreme heat they use to alter the hair causes the moisture in the strands to boil out, which breaks open the cuticle.
You can avoid damage and still use a flat iron by following a few safety steps. First, use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner to build up as much moisture as possible. Then, spritz your hair with a thermal-protective spray to shield it from heat damage from the flat iron. This protection is very important with heated styling tools. When you start using the flat iron on your hair, make sure you set it to low heat to avoid damage.
Never try to flat-iron soaking wet hair, since the combination of heat and water will cause steam that breaks open the cuticle. Also, keep the iron moving without letting it sit on one section for more than about 4 seconds. Leaving it in place could burn your hair.
2. Curling iron
Curling irons are similar to flat irons in that they use extreme heat to change the shape of the hair. This heat dehydrates the cuticle and makes it susceptible to breakage and damage.
Before you curl your hair with a curling iron, always make sure you’ve applied a thermal protective spray to prevent damage. And just like with a flat iron, don’t let the curling iron sit on the same section of hair for too long or else you run the risk of burning it. If you have very fine hair, use the lowest heat setting to prevent the hair from burning.
3. Blow dryer
Blow dryers can also be a source of damage because they blast heat onto your cuticle. This kind of heat causes the moisture inside the cuticle to evaporate and break the layer of cells that protect the hair. This can lead to cracks and breakage, so it’s important to use the dryer the correct way.
First of all, don’t use a blow dryer on very wet hair – this can cause added damage to the cuticle. Instead, towel-dry your hair and let it air dry for about 5 minutes before using a blow dryer.
When you do blow dry your hair, make sure the heat level is at the lowest setting. This will prevent overheating the cuticle and causing damage.
Although brushing your hair is less damaging than using a heated iron, overbrushing can cause the cuticle to break and can lead to split ends.
The best way to keep your hair healthy is by using a natural boar-bristle brush – this will be gentle on your hair and cause less damage. In addition, detangle your hair with a spray or wide-tooth comb before attempting to brush it out. If possible, use a comb to detangle your hair when you’re in the shower and your hair still has conditioner in it.