Cleaning your flat iron is critical to ensuring it works as well as it did the first time you used it. Over time, hair product can build up on the plates. This buildup can lead to inconsistent styling results and major snagging. To clean your flat iron, simply wait for it to cool down and wipe the plates with a cotton swab or soft cloth coated in rubbing alcohol.
Straightening irons, straighteners, or flat irons work by breaking down the positive hydrogen bonds found in the hair's cortex, which cause hair to open, bend and become curly. Once the bonds are broken, hair is prevented from holding its original, natural form, though the hydrogen bonds can re-form if exposed to moisture. Straightening irons use mainly ceramic material for their plates. Low-end straighteners use a single layer of ceramic coating on the plates, whereas high-end straighteners use multiple layers or even 100% ceramic material. Some straightening irons are fitted with an automatic shut off feature to prevent fire accidents.
You do not have to use a blow dryer. In fact, I recommend not using one at all, as it could save extra damage to your hair and the extra heat isn't needed. After a shower, you could put your damp hair in a braid, let it dry in the braid, and when you want to straighten, your hair won't be as puffy or frizzy. That ultimately leads to straight, sleek hair.
Heat protectants contain ingredients that coat hair and slow down heat induction. Janine Jarman says, “Blow dry your hair properly; use a heat protectant product; and with the right iron, you should not have to make a bunch of passes to get the results you want.” We used TRESemmé Expert Selection Heat Protection Spray, Keratin Smooth. Most of our testers liked how it worked on their hair and felt a noticeable difference when using it. Our tester with kinky hair didn’t use the product because she knew it wouldn’t work on her hair. Instead, she recommends using an oil (like an Argan oil) or a hair grease to add moisture to the hair, which makes it easier to straighten.
If you want to achieve sleek, pin-straight hair, a high-quality hair straightener should be in your beauty arsenal. A hair straightener, also known as a flat iron, smooths the follicle of your hair between two heated plates. Some hair straighteners can even do double duty, creating loose waves and curls without the frizz. So how to choose the best hair straightener for you, and get those shampoo commercial-worthy locks? There are several things to consider to make sure you'll get the best style result, but the most important is hair type.