I still remember the first time I discovered flat irons. I was 13-years-old, and I was just getting into that feeling of wanting to do something different with my hair. My mom bought me a flat iron, and I spent the next several years of my life straightening my naturally wavy hair into oblivion. I was obsessed. I straightened my hair every day, sometimes more than once. If I saw one kink, it made me crazy. I bought straightening products, and even went so far as to get a Brazilian straightening treatment done. I loved straight hair.
Then sometime around my college years, straight hair stopped being so popular, and natural waves became the “it” hairstyle. Suddenly, embracing my natural texture was cool! As I stopped depending on my flat iron so much, I realized just how damage I had been doing to my hair. It was dry, frizzy, and totally fried.
For the last few years, I’ve almost stopped straightening my hair completely. I rarely use my flat iron, and if I do, it’s just to touch something up. I’m actually a little afraid of it, because I work really hard on having healthy hair, and I don’t want a little flat iron to ruin that.
The moral of the story is this: flat irons really can mess up your hair, especially if you’re not using it correctly. Making these mistakes could mean the difference between smooth, silky locks, and fried ones. You can use a flat iron without ruining your hair – you just need to learn how to do it. Here are 12 flat iron mistakes you never realized you were making when straightening your hair:
Pulling It DownThe issue with overly-straightened hair is that it often falls flat... and not in a good way. Even the straightest and silkiest of locks look better with a little bit of volume. If you pull your hair and straightener down when you're straightening, it leaves your hair flat. If you pull up, away from your head, it gives you a boost of volume. Source: ShutterStock
Not Cleaning ItHow many times have you thought about cleaning your flat iron? I would bet not that many. With all of the product in your hair, from conditioner to heat protectant spray to hairspray, it leaves a build-up on the flat iron. After a while, this build-up coats the flat iron, making it snag and pull on your hair. Ouch! You can buy cleaner specifically made for your flat iron, but really you can just use warm water and some rubbing alcohol.
Not Sectioning Your HairHow many times have you grabbed your flat iron, then grabbed random pieces of your hair to straighten until it all looked good? I would bet a lot. Sectioning your hair is important - not only will it keep your hair healthier, but it will also leave it looking better. When you section hair, you're guaranteeing that you won't be straightening sections that are too thick. You'll also reduce the amount of times you go over one piece of hair. You should really try not to go over any piece of hair more than once. Source: ShtuterStock
Using The Wrong Shampoo and ConditionerThere is no miracle shampoo or conditioner out there that will make your curly hair magically straight. But there is shampoo and conditioner specifically for smooth, straight strands. If you want straight hair, don't buy a random shampoo - buy a smoothing option, like this Tresemme Keratin treatment. It will make a difference in your result.
Not Letting Your Hair CoolIf you're planning on doing something with your new straightened hair, like pulling it back, make sure you let it set first. Cool air sets straight hair, so let it relax for a few minutes on it's own before you pull it back. Source: ShutterStock
Using A Giant IronYou might think that a large flat iron is better because it will straighten more hair at once... but you're actually better off with a flat iron that is no wider than 1 inch. A big flat iron won't be able to get as close to your roots, leaving them looking out of place. Source: ShutterStock
Making The Setting Too HighAsk most girls who straighten their hair, and they'll tell you that they crank the setting up to the highest heat possible. Hey, even I'm guilty. It's tempting to make the setting that high, because it works faster. But you shouldn't. Even professional stylists say it's not necessary and shouldn't be an option. Source: ShutterStock
Making The Setting Too LowAt the same time, making the setting too low is also bad. If you put your setting down to the lowest possible, assuming that it will damage your hair less, you may end up damaging it even more. Because it's so low, you'll probably end up straightening one piece many times to get it where you want it. Your best bet is to go medium to medium-high, and work slowly. Source: ShutterStock
Not Brushing It Enough FirstOnce you section out your hair, have a brush close by. You should be brushing out each section of hair before using the flat iron on it. This will get rid of kinks and knots, making straightening that much easier and reducing the amount of times you'll have to go over it. Source: ShutterStock
Letting It Steam or SizzleIf you ever hear your hair under your flat iron sizzle or see steam rising from it, stop immediately. This is terrible for your hair! It also means that your hair isn't dry enough yet. I know a girl who used to flat iron her wet hair all the time. It's a horrible thing to do to your strands. Make sure your hair is completely dry before you flat iron it. Source: ShutterStock
Not Using A Heat ProtectantA lot of people neglect heat protectant products, assuming that it's just a marketing scheme to make money and that they're fine without it. That's not true! A heat protectant does exactly what it sounds like - it protects your hair from harsh heat. It will also make your hair less frizzy and more smooth.
Stopping and GoingSometimes when we're in a rush, we might start only straightening little parts of pieces of hair that look wavy. Don't do this. Going only half-way down a section of hair will leave a kink that will look silly. Make sure you go from root to bottom every section. Source: ShutterStock
Which of these mistakes do you make? What did I forget? Tell me in the comments.