As much as we love wavy, voluminous hair, many women–even those blessed with gorgeous, natural curls–straighten their hair on a regular basis in order to achieve smooth, silky, frizz-free locks. The good news is that our styling options, which include heat protectants, blow-out styling creams, and top-notch straightening irons, have become far more advanced over the years and aid in helping to keep straightened hair healthy and glossy. The bad news? Some women are continuing to commit four cardinal hair straightening sins, which Joe Anthony Pena, Global Board Artist for Farouk Systems (CHI and BioSilk) notices far too often.
Before you reach for your flat iron again, make sure you avoid these common mistakes.
1. They don’t prep their hair. Before you allow a blow-dryer or flat iron to touch your delicate, fragile hair, Pena says it’s crucial to use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner But don’t to stop there–other products are important to use as a barrier between your strands and heat. “Before using a hot flat iron, my personal favorite products are BioSilk Silk Therapy, CHI Silk Infusion or the amazing Royal Treatment,” Pena says. “These products have various size molecules of silk that penetrate into the hair and other silks that lay on the surface to protect the hair cuticle from the heat.”
2. They don’t dry their hair completely. Anyone who has stepped out on a humid morning without properly drying their hair knows how vulnerable damp hair is to frizz. But it’s also important to blow dry your hair completely before using a flat iron to finish the job. “If the hair is not completely dry you can actually boil your ends right off your head,” Pena says. To prevent this nightmare from happening, he recommends using a quality hairdryer with infrared technology that allows your hair to dry faster (sometimes in half the time) while protecting the cuticle by allowing you to choose the correct number of ions you blow into the hair. Great dryer options include CHI Touch 2 Touch Screen Blow-dryer and Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer.
3. They choose the wrong flat iron temperature. Your heat needs actually vary depending on the texture of your hair. If your hair is fine, you need far less heat to achieve straight hair than someone who has extremely thick, curly hair. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, not all flat irons allow you to choose your ideal temperature setting and choosing the wrong one can leave your style frizzy or permanently burn your hair, Pena says. Generally speaking, women with thin, fine hair should keep temps below 360 degrees; those with medium, wavy hair should stick within the range of 360-380 degrees; women with thick, course, curly hair can handle between 380 and 410 degrees. Flat irons that offer temperature control include HSI Professional 1″ Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron and G2 CHI Ceramic and Titanium Hair Styling Iron.
4. They don’t use a heat protectant. Think of a heat protectant as insurance for your hair–you don’t want it to fry under the stress of high temperatures–and Pena says they have the added benefit of locking out frizz and creating shine. Savvy beauty lovers rave about Alterna’s Bamboo Smooth Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant Spray, which protect from heat temperatures up to 428 degrees.
For more beauty tips, check out the absolute worst alcoholic beverages for your skin and what your go-to nail polish color says about you.