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It’s morning and you’re in a rush–again. What’s the harm in jumping out of the shower and killing two birds with one stone by using your flat iron to both dry and straighten your hair?
This is one area where multitasking won’t do you or your hair any favors. The truth is: flat ironing wet or even damp hair can fry your strands and cause irreversible damage.
“Using a flat iron on wet hair is so damaging,” says Nicole Heney, bridal hair and makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist for Blushing Brides. “When you use a tool like a hot flat iron on wet hair, the wet hair will actually maximize the heat to dangerous levels. Flat irons are damaging as is, but on wet hair they are much worse. You should be using a heat protectant and blow drying your hair to get it fully dry and to do most of the smoothing before touching it with a flat iron.”
The damage caused by straightening wet hair is immeasurable–and is even worse if your wet hair contains any sort of product, says Sarah Mohamed, bridal makeup and hair artist for Blushing Brides.
“If your hair is not dry when using a straightener, it draws out the hair’s elasticity and vitamins, causing severe breakage and brittleness,” Mohamed says. “Think about the actual act of heating water in any form: Add high heat, bubbles form, then are pushed out and up vigorously. If your hair is coated in water, you’re legitimately boiling your hair! The close contact heat creates genuine bubbles inside the hair shaft, which are then pushed upwards resulting in split ends, cracks, roughness, you name it.”
If you happen to have added a product to your wet hair–and this is especially true if the product contains alcohol, which is incredibly drying–Mohamed says you’ll be “boiling” that hair product right into the follicle, causing double the damage.
Yikes. To minimize the damage that flat irons can inflict, always make sure your hair is completely dry before straightening your hair and spray your mane with a heat protectant before. One we love: Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Iron Smoother, which protects against heat damage and humidity and prevents frizz.
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