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How To Flat Iron Hair

Last Updated on November 30, 2021

How To Flat Iron Hair

Sleek, shiny, glossy, straight hair should come a standard, but naturally (unless you’re blessed with the right genes), it seems merely impossible.

Using your flat iron the wrong way can also cause a storm of damage to your luscious locks. But can you straighten your hair without the damage?

Absolutely, the time and effort are definitely worth the results; from prep work in the shower to a couple of spritz for the finishing touches, I’m here to show you the best way to use a flat iron on your hair without causing unnecessary damage.

Now, wait, let me tell you something.

I’m here to show you all the tips and tricks you need to know when straightening your hair, so you have the best results with minimal damage?

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, stay tuned as to how.


Tips For Straightening Hair With A Flat Iron:

Before we get started, there are a few tips and tricks to straightening hair using a flat iron that you need to consider as flat ironing your hair can be very damaging without the right protection.

FYI it’s actually not just heat protectant. You need to straighten your hair using flat irons.

Prep your hair in the shower:

The first thing you’ll want to do is prep your hair for straightening, so hop on in to the shower and shampoo and condition your hair.

The first thing I would recommend is that you switch to a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that is free of silicones, waxes, and other harsh chemicals, as these can dry out your hair and make your hair more prone to heat damage.

If your hair is already dry and brittle, then flat ironing your hair will only worsen the damage, so hair care is crucial.

I would also only recommend that you use a microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt over your regular cotton or terry cloth towel. Your cotton towel can actually cause a lot of damage to your natural hair as well as cause frizz.

On the days you are using a flat iron on your hair, also remember to use a leave-in conditioner as well as your heat protectant– bonus points if your leave-in conditioner acts as a heat protectant.

The leave-in conditioner will help moisturize and smooth your hair strands, and the heat protectant will protect your hair while styling.

Let your hair naturally dry 50%

Blow-drying soaking wet hair actually causes the most damage as the wetter the hair strand, the more fragile it is. If you have some time on your hands, it’s best to let your hair air dry for half an hour to an hour before going in with your blow dryer.

You can either leave hair drying for a little while or just rough blow-dry your hair on a cool setting using a back and forth technique until your hair is 80% dry and leave it to naturally dry for the last 20%.

Never Forget Heat Protectant:

Let’s be honest here; we’ve all forgotten the heat protectant when styling our hair in the past, simply whether we’ve started styling our hair and have an “oh crap” moment or forgot altogether. 

But your heat protectant is the most crucial thing you should remember, especially when using flat irons. Our hair strands are very similar to our skin; while we cannot feel it burning our strands, it does equally as much damage over time. 

You wouldn’t intentionally burn yourself with 450ºf heat, so why apply it to your hair without a heat protectant?

All the other steps are irrelevant if you don’t use a heat protectant. If you don’t use a heat protectant, your hair will become very dry, brittle, and prone to damage and breakage, along with frizz and tangling. 

Choose the right brush:

The brush you use may actually be the culprit for frizz and damage when you use a flat iron if you don’t have naturally straight hair anyway.

It is recommended that you use boar bristles with nylon as the boar bristles help to smooth and polish, while the nylon helps to detangle and separate your hair as you work through knots.

Only style bone dry hair:

We’ve all straightened our hair while it was slightly wet and heard the horrible sound of the straighteners sizzling as they hit the hair; if you do this, you’re guaranteed to have damaged your hair.

Your hair should be bone dry before you straighten, and if your hair has a greasy residue, then you might want to evaluate the products you are using.

So whether you blow-dry your hair or leave it to dry naturally, just be sure that it is completely dry before using the flat iron.

The straightener will also boil the product into the hair follicle, which can be particularly damaging, especially if it contains alcohol which can strip moisture from your strand.

Go For A Straightener With Customizable Heat Settings:

Having a flat iron with customizable heat settings is brilliant as you can lower the heat if you have quite damaged hair for less damage. GHD’s are set at 365ºf, ideal for normal hair but may not be ideal for fine, damaged hair. 

Other leading brands have a range of temperature settings to choose from so you can customize the temperature for your hair. If you have fine or damaged hair, keep the temperature below 300 degrees.

For normal hair sticks between 300 and 380 and thick, coarse, frizzy hair can manage 350-400ºf.  

Work in sections:

Before using a flat iron on your locks, you should always remember to separate your hair into sections. This should help keep the hair flat and prevent you from going over thick sections multiple times.

Split the hair in the middle at the back and bring it forward, this will give you two sections to work with, but if your hair is thick and you want dead straight hair, I would recommend more.

Sectioning your hair is hair straightening 101; it will leave you time and cause less damage in the long run as you’re not scorching the strands.

You mustn’t drag or pull the iron down your hair strands as this will cause unnecessary damage.

Remember to add products after

Once you’ve styled your hair, adding products using a flat iron will help prevent frizz and add shine to your locks.

You should try to avoid silicones– especially if you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo as silicones, waxes, and other products will build upon your hair, and without sulfates, they cannot be removed.

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How To Use A Hair Straightener

So how do you use a flat iron to straighten hair? Well, following the first thing you’ll want to do is follow the tips above and prep your hair beforehand, such as washing, blow-drying, applying heat protectant, etc.

If you have quite thick, coarse hair, you can also apply a little extra heat protectant after blow-drying your hair for that added protection; it will be likely that the heat protectant will be absorbed into your hair and may need a top-up after drying, especially if you have high porosity hair.

That being said, if you have high porosity hair, make sure you apply your gels, creams, serums, or oils to the ends of your hair along with the heat protectant before drying to help smooth the cuticle and help close the cuticle.

Step One: Section Your Hair:

When using a flat iron, you should work in sections, starting underneath and working your way up. 

The number of sections you do will all depend on the thickness of your hair, if you have quite fine hair, then only a few sections will do, but if you have thick, coarse hair, you may be here a while…

Pin or clip up all the sections you’re not using and straighten each individual section, either pin your hair on top of your dead or behind your shoulders.

Step Two: Clamp the Straightener, Using A Comb To Guide Through:

For minimal damage, you want to be sure that the straightener glides over your hair rather than snagging or pulling. I like to run the comb through each section before, and when running the straightener over, this ensures each section is smooth. 

Start as close to your root as possible, and while I would only recommend running the straightener over each section, I know this isn’t realistic, so try to stick to 2-3 times. 

Smaller sections will mean that you won’t need to run it over with the straightener as much. Try to be gentle and not snag or pull on strands; you should try to glide the plates over your hair rather than drag it. 

Step Three: Apply Serum Or Oil:

Once you’ve gone over every section, make sure you apply a hydrating serum or oil to the ends, this will help restore hydration to the ends, along with providing a protective barrier to help keep your hair straighter for longer and not frizzy from the humidity. 

Apply a couple of pumps of oil or serum and rub it in between your fingers for a couple of sections and gently comb it through the mid-lengths and ends; this should leave your ends looking shiny and luscious. 

flat iron

How To Do Waves With A Flat Iron:

We all love beachy waves, and something as simple as curling your hair with a straightener can help achieve this look– beach waves are a timeless classic.

No matter your hair length, thickness, or hair type, anyone can rock loose beachy waves all year round.

Step One: Section your hair:

First things first, you’re going to want to part your hair into larger sections. How many sections you create will depend on how thick your hair is.

If you have quite fine hair, you may only need to do two sections, starting with the bottom half. For thicker hair, you may want to section your hair into 4 to create loose waves.

Step Two: Work In One-Inch Sections:

Once you’ve separated your curls, start using your flat iron on individual sections, roughly around 1 inch per section. If you have fine hair, then these sections may be smaller.

The same goes for if you have hair that holds onto curls well, you might want to use a larger section of hair. Try a few out for size to see whether you need smaller sections or larger sections.

Step Three: Curl Your Hair:

You’ll firstly want to flip your flat iron upside down, so the cord is facing up, gently clamping onto the individual section of hair you’re working on.

Start at the base of the hair shaft and twist the straightener away from your face when you curl your hair. The section should be wrapped around the outside of the flat iron.

Lock the twist in place and gently glide the flat iron down your section of hair from the root to the tip. Once you’ve reached the end, it should spring up, and for the perfect curl, give it a little twist and move onto the section.

After each section, spray down with your chosen hair spray, whether light or firm hold.

Step Four: Repeat:

Once you’ve finished that first section, continue with this same technique for all sections of your hair with a flat iron. For a more natural look, you can have curls going in opposite directions when curling.

So for one section, you can have it facing away from your face and the next one facing towards your face.

Step Five: Run Your Fingers Through The Ringlets: 

Once your hair has been completely curled, you should either flip your head upside down, run your fingers through the ringlets and give the root a little shake.

Alternatively, you can run your fingers through your curls to loosen the wave slightly without touching the roots.

Using your fingers is the best way to achieve this beach wave; it will help break up these tight curls without causing frizz.

If you would prefer more control over your beach waves, you can also use a hairbrush or comb to comb out your curls. A mixed bristle brush or Denman Brush will do the trick if you want a slightly fluffy effect.

You can alternatively use a wide-tooth comb to transform the ringlets into looser curls for more defined beach waves. Then give your hair a little spritz with the hair spray or volumizing mist spray, have a little play around, and you’re good to go.

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So there you have it, my top tips and tricks to using a flat iron, along with how to use a flat iron on your hair. Investing in a good-quality flat iron will go a long way.

Also, purchasing a flat iron with multiple heat settings will help protect the natural hair and still leave the hair looking sleek.

A flat iron beats any curling iron any day; if you’re looking for recommendations, check out my guide below!

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