Let's face the facts: You know that using heat to style your hair can cause dryness, breakage, and split ends. Specifically, heat damages your strands by causing hair’s naturally smooth coating to become rough—rippling instead of sitting flat on the cuticle, as it should.
Yet, like nickel shot night or an all-you-can-eat carb buffet (a girl can dream, right?), we keep coming back for more—despite the danger of damage.
Does that mean you need to swear off hot tools forever?
Not quite! With a few straightforward steps, you can learn to be lovely towards your locks while maintaining the looks you love.
1. Apply a Heat Protectant Before Styling
Every time you pick up that hot tool or blow dryer, always, always, always, make sure you have a heat protectant in your hair—it’s as important as sunscreen on your skin.
We love H-Line’s Elixir 11 for its heat protecting properties, formulated with key ingredients that really coat the strand, it makes a seal that helps reduce damage to the cuticle. Another way Elixir 11 helps you beat the heat? It acts as a detangler, so you're not stretching or breaking the hair when you run hot tools through it.
Whether you’re using an all-in-one product or a single-purpose heat protectant, just remember that no amount of product can guard your hair against excessive heat—so be cautious of allowing your hot tools to sit for too long on a single area.
2. Learn What High-Tech Tools Can Help Reduce Damage
Heat styling tools don’t have to cost a fortune, but they do need some basic features. Look for tools that have more than one temperature setting. Extra points if it displays temperatures on a screen since some tools can range from 175℉ all the way up to 400℉.
Additional options to look for include:
3. Know The Right Temperature For Your Hair
The finer the hair, the lower the temperature on your tools should be. So, if you’re styling baby-fine strands, there’s zero reason to turn that dial up to high.
However, that doesn’t mean that those with thicker hair strands should crank it all the way up—temperatures over 400℉ should rarely be used by anyone who isn’t a professional. Instead, follow this rough temperature guide:
If you find that those temperatures aren’t getting the desired results, try to take smaller sections instead of turning up the heat.
4. Wipe Down Your Tools To Eliminate Grime
When was the last time you wiped down your flat iron? How about your curling wand?
If they haven’t been working as well as they used to, the answer is probably eons ago. The product buildup may not be visible, but it’s doing some serious damage to your tools—and your hair.
That’s because the buildup of the polymers in many styling products is essentially melted plastic material that can adhere to your hair. That residue not only encourages split ends, but also creates a barrier of gunk that makes it harder for your tools to create polished curls or a smooth, straight finish.
How to clean your hot tools correctly?
The best method is to plug in your tool and let it warm up, and then unplug it and let it cool for a few minutes. Then dampen a washcloth with some rubbing alcohol, and wipe the plates or wand clean while the tool is still warm—the heat will make it easier to clean, so you’re not picking and scraping at buildup that has cooled and hardened.
5. Don’t Forget To Deep Condition
If you style your hair with heat on the regular, it's important to use a hair mask that includes protein. While your heat-damaged hair may look dry and thirsty, just a moisture or oil-based product alone won't work because you need to replenish the protein, the main component of our hair, and you need both protein and moisture in conjunction.
Has heat styling damage your hair beyond the help of at-home treatments? Get some professional help! At Shades Color Bar, we offer a keratin mask that imitates hair’s original structure with proteins, helping to fill in damaged areas for amazing strength and shine.