When it comes to choosing a flat iron that best suites your hair type, there is more to it than size and cost! Who doesn't love having the luxury of taking curly hair to straight and stick straight hair to curly. With technology now, you have this luxury without jeopardizing the health of your hair. However, if you aren't using the correct flat iron, you could be doing more damage than you realize!
Flat Iron Lingo
Because the days of the gold plated, 2" flat iron are long past us, it's important to understand the lingo of the flat iron! What exactly do those plate names mean and why are heat temperature settings key to the health of your hair?
- Ceramic: Ceramic produces negative ions, diffuses heat and seals the hair cuticle for shiny, frizz-free locks.
- Ionic: From Chem 101, when positive and negative ions collide, the results are neutral (which, in hair terms, is a good thing). Dry, damaged hair carries a positive ionic charge that prevents it from looking its healthiest. An ionic flat iron creates negative ions to neutralize your charged strands for shiny, smooth results.
- Infrared: This gentle heating method penetrates the hair shaft without causing damage. It helps balance ions and maintains temperature consistency to deliver smoother, frizz-free results.
- Nano: An advanced smoothing and styling technology infused into flat iron plates. Typically, Nano works with another technology such as Nano Silver or Nano Titanium.
- Silver: This technology eliminates bacteria on the iron plates and your hair, creating a germ-free environment with every use.
- Titanium: An innovative technology that straightens hair quickly, maintaining consistent heat levels to prevent hair damage.
- Tourmaline: A semi-precious gemstone that produces six times more negative ions than ceramic. It's often infused into ceramic plates to produce even straighter hair with shinier results.
Because everyone has a different hair type, your flat iron should always offer adjustable temperature controls. If you have fine hair and you are using a flat iron that has a temperature of over 380° your results will be dry, frizzy and damaged ends! Below are the recommended heat settings according to your hair type:
- Virgin or Highly Resistant Hair: 410° or below
- Coarse or Curly Hair: 392° or below
- Thin, Fine or Naturally Straight Hair: 375° or below
The Flat Iron and Your Hair Type
Every hair type is going to have its own tips and tricks when it comes to flat ironing. From compression to heat settings, it's especially important to pay attention to your hair type.
Here's a Hot Tip before we get into hair types: When ironing your clothes, you wouldn't just throw your shirt on the ironing board and begin ironing, would you? No! You would stretch the shirt over the board (creating tension) and then smooth over the shirt slowly to remove wrinkles. Straightening your hair should have the same rules.
Coarse or Curly Hair
- Heat setting should be 392° or lower
- Always use a heat protectant spray and section the hair for best results.
Thin, Fine or Naturally Straight Hair
- Hold the flat iron further away from the plates for a lighter compression
- Heat setting should be 375 or lower
- Always use a heat protectant spray
- Section the hair in a diagonal back pattern - Smaller sections are ideal to prevent any creasing in the hair
One Iron, Endless Uses
The best part about using a flat iron are the wide variety of uses. It's more than just straightening the hair and the possibilities truly are endless! Check out some of these hair ironing techniques below: