If you flat-iron your hair regularly, you might be looking for some new and exciting ways to switch up your routine. Although a straightener uses heat to smooth your hair, there are plenty of techniques you can use to create the straight style or look you’re looking for.
Explore our tips on how to use hair straighteners for the best hair care results every time.
How to Straighten Hair: 8 Pro Tips
Hair straighteners work for all hair types, but there are several techniques and tips to use without having experts at hand. Below are proven tips and tricks to help you achieve a straighter, more polished hairstyle in no time.
1. Ensure That Your Hair Is Dry Before You Begin
To achieve straight hair, it needs to be dry, to begin with. Even if your hair is slightly damp, it can make it difficult to achieve a straight hair look and can even result in damaging the iron. Make sure to use a nourishing shampoo because your hair will be exposed to heat.
If you have curly hair, you might want to blowdry your locks a little beforehand, as straighteners alone might not always be effective enough to create the look you’ve always wanted. This can prevent further damage because it’ll reduce the amount of time you need to straighten your hair. Use a concentrator attachment with a paddle brush for straight locks and work on one section of hair at a time.
Alternatively, if your hair is naturally straight, avoid extra heat on your locks by allowing it to air dry. In doing so, use a towel to remove any excess water from your hair; a few pats should do the trick. In addition, never rub the towel on your head, as this can cause way too much damage to the hair follicles when they’re in their most vulnerable state.
2. Choose the Right Plate Size for Your Hair
Hair straighteners aren’t always a one-size-fits-all case, because the right purchase for you depends on your hair’s length and thickness. By choosing the right hair straightener size, it will be easier to flat-iron hair while minimising damage.
For short or fine hair, choose a hair straighter with a narrow plate, preferably half-an-inch to one-inch in thickness. Alternatively, if you have long, thick hair, then you should opt for wider plates that are one-and-a-half inches to two inches in width. These hair straightener options cover a larger surface area, significantly reducing the time it takes you to style or flat-iron your hair.
3. Choose the Right Heat for Your Hair Type
Styling tools like hair straightening flat irons and hot air brushes come with various heat settings, but you shouldn’t just pick any temperature. Sometimes it’s easy to opt for the highest heat settings on your hair straightener thinking that it’ll straighten your hair quicker. In most circumstances this is true, but by doing so, you could be damaging your strands without even realising it at the time.
For fine or short hair, choose a temperature between 250–300 degrees on your hair straightener. For shoulder-length, medium thickness, or hair with natural waves, choose 300–350 degrees. Finally, for coarse 0r thick hair or if you have curls, choose 350–400 degrees. This higher temperature allows the plates to glide through your hair.
If you’re unsure of the right heat, always choose the lowest setting first. You can always increase the temperature if your hair isn’t getting any straighter.
4. Always Use a Heat Protection Spray
If you’ve used hair straighteners many times in your life, you might be aware of the drying effect and heat damage that can come with regular use. Fortunately, a heat protectant can combat these effects to leave your hair shiny, soft, and most importantly, damage-free.
Choose a heat protection spray or products that don’t contain oil, as this ingredient will only weigh the hair down. However, if you have thick or coarse hair, you’ll want to choose products with argan oil that’ll add more shine to your locks and moisturise your strands. Furthermore, these heat-protecting sprays or serums add a protective layer to your hair, and there are even products that you can use on wet and dry hair. Before using a hair straightener on your strands, apply the serum/spray and use a comb through your hair to evenly distribute the product from roots to ends.
5. Put Your Hair Into Sections
Those who know how to use hair straighteners are aware that when straightening your hair, you should never grab clumps at a time. Doing so won’t properly straighten your hair and you’ll then need to repeat the process, applying an unnecessary amount of heat to your locks. Instead, section your hair to get unstraightened strands out of the way; the middle, back, and each side. On the other hand, you can work from the bottom all the way to the top. For better results, use clips to divide the hair sections on the top of your head.
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This technique allows you to focus on one section at a time and achieve the straightness you’re looking for. In fact, dividing your hair into sections can actually save you time and you always know what part to work on next. It is also very efficient if you want to create more hair volume using hair straighteners.
6. Straightening Your Hair
Once you have a hair straightener you’re happy with and have divided your hair into equal parts, it’s time to learn exactly how to straighten hair.
Each time you style your locks or curls with hair straighteners, make sure that you run them fluidly down each section. Holding your hair straightener in one place for too long will apply unnecessary heat and you could add ridges to your hair. Of course, there might be some sections that require more attention than others, but in general, try to use a smooth motion. For safety, pivot the hairstyling tool away from your face. This method can prevent burns —especially around the neck if you have short hair or very tight curls.
To add volume to your hair, apply the straightener to the root and pull upwards. This action creates more body and volume, making your hair look thicker as you straighten it. Just make sure to point the straightener in a downward direction as you straighten your locks from roots to ends.
Once you’ve straightened your hair, use a paddle brush and smooth away any flyaway strands. Start from the top of your head to ensure a more polished look. Moreover, checking the back of your head can be difficult, so we recommend a separate mirror that enables you to check your hair from all views, ensuring that all sections are fully straightened without compromising on volume.
7. Use a Comb for Good Hair Care
Aside from using high-quality straighteners (either with ceramic or titanium plates), there are several other tools you need to create straight hairstyles. It can be tempting to use your fingers to separate your hair, but the natural oils in your hands can contribute to grease and make your strands frizzy. Instead, resort to a comb to separate the strands from roots all the way to the ends before applying heat to each section. This technique is kind to your head and prepares your hair for straightening.
8. Apply a Finishing Spray With a Comb Afterwards
When you’ve finished with the hair iron, it’s time to apply a nourishing serum to your hair. A finishing spray/serum can help to prevent your stands from frizzing, curling up, or getting static. A light amount of hairspray applied on your hair – particularly onto the top and side sections – can always do the trick, but you’ll need to wait for your hair to cool down first. Otherwise, this can actually contribute to frizz, which is quite common after smoothening your hair or curls with straighteners.
Invest in a straightener that’s the right size and has adequate heat settings for your hair type. These incredible tools can create waves, curls, texture, volume, and upgrade your overall look in several minutes. Now that you know how to use hair straighteners in the best way for your hair, you can start creating some signature looks in no time.
Do you have a favourite product/shampoo/hairspray you love to use with a hair straightener? Let us know your recommendations in the comments.