Is your hair, thick, coarse and curlier than steel wool? Have you despaired of actually getting it to straighten? Despair no more. Meet the ultimate hair straightening product: the flat iron. It is the curly haired person’s ultimate weapon. Where other hair straightening products fail, the flat iron will succeed. It does not know a hair type that it cannot straighten. It will never meet its match.
But like other ultimate weapons, this incredible power comes at a cost. It can damage your hair. Or worse burn your scalp. If you aren’t careful and play with it like a kid, it could conceivably burn your house. Therefore, wielding a great hair product for straightening hair require great responsibility. It can’t be done lightly. It must be done with the confidence of one who knows what she’s doing.
When choosing among a flat iron for your hair, you need to be aware that there are several different types of straightening irons. Various types of flat irons perform differently. Knowing the differences among them can help you decide and choose a straightening iron that will suit your needs.
1. Ceramic Flat Irons
When you come across how to guides on how to select a flat iron for your hair, you will always see recommendations for you to get ceramic flat irons. Ceramic refers to the plates that heat up and come into contact with your hair. Ceramic are preferred because it tends to heat up evenly and fairly quickly. Because of this, they straighten hair with much less damage that aluminum plates with ceramic coating. Do not confuse ceramic plates with ceramic plating. Ceramic plated flat irons are usually less expensive because it’s not as good as true ceramic plates.
2. Tourmaline Flat Irons
Tourmaline flat irons are straightening irons whose plates are made from tourmaline. Tourmaline is classified as a semi precious stone. It’s a crystal compound that contains elements like aluminum, magnesium, iron, lithium, sodium or potassium. If ceramic flat irons heat up fast, tourmaline flat irons will heat up faster. It has properties that leaves straightened hair with a lot of gloss and a straight that resists the effects of humidity and moisture for a slightly longer period of time.
3. Ironic Flat Irons
Ironic flat irons are prized for their ability to help straightened hair retain more moisture. This helps them keep their forms and resist frizz especially in humid weather conditions. Another plus for ironic flat irons is that they can often be used on damp hair (other types of hair flat irons only work on dry hair).
4. Titanium Flat Irons
Titanium flat irons are currently the favorite choice in salons because titanium plates heat up much faster than your ceramic and tourmaline plates. Why is this so important? Well, the faster the flat iron can bounce back to the desired heat after using it on a section of your hair, the more evenly it can straighten you hair. Titanium is also lighter. A lightweight flat iron will be easier to style with. Finally, titanium flat irons release negative ions. These negative ions neutralize the positive ions in your hair, which allows hair to retain moisture and become less frizzy after being straightened.
Hair straightening products are so popular that each year, hundreds of companies produce a variety of products to choose from, making it harder and harder for consumers to decide on which products are the best for them and their hair. Luckily there are a lot of consumer reports, product reviews, and websites like this one to help those who need to choose products like the best blow dryer, the best brushes and combs, and the best straightening iron.
To choose the best flat iron for your hair, always consider the following criteria:
You want a product that will heat up well and enough to make your hair hold its straight style. A good iron should produce enough heat for straightening at the lowest or medium setting. The higher settings are usually reserved for curling. It’s hard to determine how well the product will work unless you test it, so try to get a product that you can bring back or has a warranty or exchange policy. Another factor to consider when it comes to heat is to make sure that the product does not overheat. A product that tends to get too hot while working is not one that you want to work with because you can potentially fry and damage your hair.
When choosing a product, you want one that is easy to use. Most irons are pretty basic, and you just need to plug it in and turn a knob. What you need to look at in terms of usability is how big the product is. You want an iron that fits well into your dominant hand, and that you can maneuver easily. An iron that is too big will not get you the style you want to achieve, and pretty much be useless, while an iron that is too small with take you forever.
Discovering the quality of a product is pretty much dependent on consumer reviews. You will have to read through these reviews in order to make your own decision on which one sounds good to you. If you don’t want to bother with reviews, though, go for a product that is either sales person recommended or has a long warranty. Long warranties usually mean great quality. Another option is to check out some high end hair salons and see which brand they use.
Looking good while traveling is something that many consider important. This means you may have to bring your iron with you. So you have to look for a product that fits easily into a bag and travels well. You can try looking for one that comes with a travel bag that has a great basic shape because this will be easier to pack.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, read on about how to use a flat iron.
First, always remember that before using a flat iron, your hair should be clean and dry. By clean, there better not be any gunk from a previous styling. No gel, pomade, wax or anything like that. As much as possible you should shampoo and condition your hair beforehand. Use a shampoo and conditioner that helps moisture. If at all possible choose a shampoo that can protect your hair from the coming burning. Use a leave-in conditioning spray whenever you can. This will add another layer of protection for your hair. By dry, we mean completely dry. Applying a flat iron to even slightly damp hair will result in it getting steamed and cooked. Few things can ruin your hair more than this.
Second, remember to use the right size for your hair. Yes, size does matter. The wrong size could end up burning you. Unless the hair is more than shoulder length, you should use a flat iron with heating plates that are around an inch to an inch-and-a-half wide. Wider irons should only be used on longer hair. This size is just right because it offers better control. Its lightness makes it easier to handle too.
Thirdly, don’t overheat the iron. Just use as much as is necessary for it to do the job. Setting it too hot won’t make your hair straighten any faster or better. It will only end up burning it.
Fourthly, iron only a manageable section of your hair. Don’t overload the flat iron by applying it on a large clump of hair. This will result in unevenness. Some of the hair will be ironed (those near the surface), while the rest will still frizz and curl. If you try to tame such a large section of hair by ironing it even more, then this will only result in truly damaging your hair. The sections of hair should be as wide as the width of the heating plate or less. The slices of hair should not be thicker than half the width of the plate. Small slices heat evenly and will straighten faster.
Lastly, maximize the life of your straight hair by applying a light amount of a hair styling product. Lightly add the slices with one of the many hair products for straightening hair available. Do this after ironing your hair.
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