FLAT IRONING 101
Updated: Dec 4, 2017
So I think it's safe to say that about 90% of women own a flat iron and use it on a somewhat regular basis. Even girls with stick straight hair have to smooth out some bumps and kinks every here and there. So I want to dive into the topic of flat ironing and share all my knowledge with you.
So a little detail that goes unnoticed way too often is what type of plates are on your flat iron. Your options when purchasing a flat iron are...
Ceramic - ceramic plates allow for an even distribution of heat. They have a lower potential to burn your hair. They are best for the non-professional user. However, ceramic coating can chip off and cause snagging and hot spots so fully ceramic plates are the best route to go.
Titanium - titanium plates have the fastest heat transfer for immediate and superior results, regardless of the hair’s condition. They are suitable for heavy salon usage & less for daily usage. If used properly they can work better than ceramic however they can get super hot so it's best to leave to a professional.
Tourmaline - tourmaline flat irons have a crystalline mineral that is turned into powdered form and is then used to coat the metal plates of a flat iron. Both ceramic and titanium flat irons can be tourmaline-plated.
Since the mineral has a very high output of ions, it can give extremely straight, sleek and shiny hair in no time at all. However, tourmaline coating also gets chipped eventually, bringing out the ceramic or titanium plates underneath.
Now that we know all what all these different plates mean, let's talk brands. I can only speak from personal experience so here are my favorite flat irons and why:
The GHD Platinum
Real talk this iron would be my number one. My mom (thx Nance) got me this flat iron as a graduation present when I got my cosmetology license and let me tell you- this baby is STILL GOING STRONG. Were talking 7 years of being used behind the chair and that is pretty freaking impressive if you ask me. My favorite thing about this iron is it has a revolutionary tri-zone technology guaranteeing the optimum styling temperature of 365°F is maintained from root to tip. It has six
intelligent sensors, three in each plate, that guarantee consistent heat throughout the plates creating gorgeous, long lasting styles, in just one stroke. If you have it in your budget, at $249 this bad boy is the mother of all flat irons. If you would like to purchase this flat iron >>click here<< ***if you purchase any flat irons using these links, please put Lisa Huff as the referred stylist at check out. I receive a small kick back for recommending these products, your support is greatly appreciated
CHI Ceramic Flat Iron Original
Now if you're working with a lower budget, but still wanting a good quality product, the OG Chi flat iron is still a good route to go. It heats up to 392°F and gets the job done. Especially if you don't have a lions mane like me and you aren't someone who flat irons super regularly, at $100 this is a great buy! To purchase this iron >>click here<< ***if you purchase any flat irons using these links, please put Lisa Huff as the referred stylist at check out. I receive a small kick back for recommending these products, your support is greatly appreciated
BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium
I want to add this iron in for a couple of reasons. One, it gets hot and for people with thick coarse curly hair, it is super impressive. For someone with thin fine hair, this is over kill for you. However, stylists behind the chair, who don't want to spend as much as the GHD, this flat iron costs $140 so it's a great in between option budget wise, however with having titanium plates, it could be a little risky for the everyday client at home. To purchase this iron >>click here<< ***if you purchase any flat irons using these links, please put Lisa Huff as the referred stylist at check out. I receive a small kick back for recommending these products, your support is greatly appreciated
Another thing that most people just choose to ignore is sectioning. This is key to a sleek result when flat ironing. Sometimes we get lazy and try to just take massive sections clamped between our flat iron and just go over and over and over until were kinda straight. See, the problem with this is that the hair on the outside of this massive section is exposed to that heat pass after pass while the inside of that section is just hardly getting warm and not getting very straight. Contrary to what were trying to achieve, this ends up taking us even longer and causing way more heat damage than if you were to take proper sections.
When sectioning off my hair, I like to take diagonal back sections rather than horizontal so my hair doesn't look too flat and lifeless. Then from there, I like to take subsections thin enough to see though. I always say no bigger than the width of my flat iron which is one inch. So obviously for finer hair you can have a larger section because the hair is less dense. But for more coarse hair, the thinner the section the better. Here is a tutorial on exactly how I flat iron my hair.
So a lot of factors play into what the perfect temperature is for each persons hair. Most irons (except the GHD talked about above with built in technology so you don't have to worry about this) have some sort of heat dial. *If you have a super cheap iron WITHOUT a heat dial, and no built in technology - throw it away! It is insane to not know what temperature you are putting on your hair and if you have a Walmart flat iron that you bought 4 years ago for $20 with no heat dial, get rid of that thing! So then from here, let's break it down a bit when it comes to temperature.
Weak, fragile, damaged hair - no more than 250°F (However, if you hair is to this point, please just don't heat style it until you get a few Olaplex treatments!)
Thin, fine hair - 250°-300°F
Wavy, normal, medium hair - 300°-380°F
Coarse, thick, curly hair - 380°-410°
A safe rule of thumb would be to start around 365° for the ladies in those last two categories, and go up from there if you feel like it's not getting the job done.
I know people like to think that heat protection sprays are just another product your stylist is trying to peddle you but like can is it really that big of a deal? The answer is yes. A heat protectant adds moisture to your hair, preventing the natural moisture to evaporate. It also forms a protective barrier over the cuticle on the hair strand, preventing heat damage and enabling your hair to keep its high shine. When it comes to products, a few of my favorite are Matrix Heat Buffer because it smells amazing & I carry at the salon, and Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press, also smells great and is an aerosol so it is super light weight.
Cleaning your flat iron
Now that you are investing some serious moo-lah into quality hair tools, it's so important to take proper care of them. When your flat iron starts to get that yucky product residue buildup, it's time to clean it. My favorite way to clean my flat iron is a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Simply mix these two ingredients until you have a nice thick paste, you will only need a tiny splash of hydrogen peroxide so it doesn't become too runny. Apply the paste to your flat iron plates and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the paste off and voilà! You have a clean, gunk-free flat iron.
CURLS AND WAVES
Since this is flat iron 101 I think it is important to talk about how flat irons aren't just for straightening your hair, you can also use them to make curls and waves! Here is a video on how I create flat iron curls!
I hope this post taught you something new and can act as a reference when the time comes and you are thinking about buying a new flat iron! I am a girl with massive, thick, coarse, frizzy, wavy hair so really fine tuning my flat iron knowledge has made my life so much easier!
Happy hair styling loves!
+but I mean come on, we have all been in this position before as well, flat irons are good for not only just your hair. amiright?