Today we’re bringing you four important do’s and don’ts when it comes to flat ironing hair.
First and foremost, let’s talk about product because that’s a big don’t!
There are certain products you want to make sure you keep out of the hair when you’re ironing and that’s anything that’s going to get too sticky. We’ve definitely seen people use hairsprays before ironing and especially something that’s got a lot of tack to it, it’s just going to make the iron stick.
And to be honest, if there’s too much dampness in the hair, which a lacquer hairspray might maintain, you’re going to kind of cook the hair. So be careful with product selection.
The one that we really recommend is the Redken Iron Shape 11. The reason we recommend this is it’s specifically designed as a thermal protectant, specifically designed to go on that dry hair and very specifically designed to have heat tools put over it. So it’s not going to get sticky. It’s not going to get gummy and after you spray it through and comb it, you know that there’s not going to be wetness still inside of it that you’re going to cook the hair strand.
So products are very important.
The next one is the actual section itself because what happens is a lot of times we just kind of go into arbitrary sections that we take and there’s kind of two don’ts here. One would be the actual section size. So if we get big, thick, heavy sections, let’s say we’re taking a big, thick, horizontal section.
So when we take a large section like that, the challenge is this section is too large for the heat to evenly get through the hair. So when we place the iron into the hair, what ends up happening is we’re mainly just heating the outside edges of the section and then the inside isn’t getting hot enough to be affected. So what we do to compensate is we go over this section 10-15 times to get it right.
What’s happening after you go over it that many times is you are kind of super heating the outside edges and then maybe just finally getting that interior into the heat that we need it to be, to let go of the tangles and to get nice and smooth.
So what we do suggest is that you skinny up your sections. Smaller sections are actually going to be faster for you because you’re not going to have to go over the section multiple times to get the end result you’re looking for.
The other kind of don’t when it comes to ironing hair is we don’t necessarily suggest horizontal sections and the reason for it is a horizontal section ,when we iron it, tends to leave the hair really flat looking. People want smooth hair when they look for a flat iron but they don’t want flat hair usually. So horizontal sections tend to make things flat.
What we suggest is that you shift to more of a diagonal section and those diagonal sections, if you keep them nice and small and we work on the diagonal, it’s very easy to get the texture we want.
So we’ll take that Iron Shape 11, we’ll pick up our small diagonal section, give a light mist, comb it through once and by the time I’m done combing through, it’s plenty dry to apply the heat. Then we work on that diagonal. What happens is after the hair falls it still has a little bit of movement to it and it doesn’t get so flat and lifeless. It leaves us with a much nicer result.
The final one is that you have to understand that the iron seals whatever goes into it into the hair. What does that mean? So if I have a strand that’s kind of fluffy and fuzzy, imagine that there’s a lot of crinkles in a section, if I take the iron and I just kind of grab a hold of it and go down the section, what I’ve now done is I’ve sealed all those crinkles into the hair because the iron actually doesn’t do the straightening. It just seals whatever you put into the iron.
So what we suggest to avoid that is fine teeth of your comb. Put the fine teeth of the comb into the section and then you place the iron in right behind the fine teeth. Our combs are heat resistant so you don’t have to worry about putting the iron flat against the comb and by leading with that fine teeth, what it allows us to do is to feed smooth straight hair right into the mouths of the iron.
That is going to give us the best result. So again make sure you are choosing the right product, nothing that’s overly tacky or wet, make sure that you’re using the right section size, nothing too thick and of course that’s going to depend on hair density. s
We also suggest switching from your horizontal sections into more diagonal sections to leave some life still in the hair and then finally make sure you lead with the fine teeth of your comb so that you’re not feeding the crinkles into the iron and sealing them in.
The first thing that you want to definitely do is start up with a heat protectant. I like to use this 21 Essentials because it’s like a bunch of other things, including like detangler and it makes your hair shiny and it does all these really cool things. I use this in damp hair and then so I have a little heat protectant which is important.
Something I see people do a lot that’s a don’t is to take a big chunk of hair and then just run the flatiron over it a bunch of times. The problem with that is you’re frying the outside edges of the hair and the inside edges aren’t getting anything. So by the time you go over it enough that the inside gets heat, you’re pretty much frying the outer edges.
So if you section it off, you get smaller pieces and then you only have to run through it one time. Go as slow as you need to go so you don’t have to run through the hair multiple times.
I like to curve mine at the bottom. That’s not really a do or a don’t, I just think it makes it look natural and falls softer rather than looking like really super straight, but that’s a look to that you go for it, it just kind of depends on what you want.
The next do is to run a brush through it before you run the iron through it. The reason I do that is because it makes all the follicles point the same direction, it gets all the hair going the same direction so you don’t crunch the hair and so you don’t have to go over it multiple times.
Another don’t that I see people do a lot is putting hairspray on it or anything wet on it right before you run the iron down through it. I know it’s tempting because it does make it really go down straight and maybe if you need that look for a special occasion, do it, but it really does fry the hair. It’s like sizzling your hair and it’s so bad for it so really avoid doing that on a regular basis.
Another don’t is don’t blow dry and flat iron your hair. I know a lot of girls have really crazy curls and they’re really trying to tame them for a certain look.
In that case if you have to blow-dry and flatiron then you can do that but if it’s just kind of a habit, make sure that you know that you need to do that. Because if you just sleep on your hair wet and then flat iron it in the morning, for me that’s way better because then I didn’t get the double heat but for some people it would still be kinky.
Another tip that I always tell people is be sure that you know you need the amount of heat you’re using. So a lot of times with everything beauty, I feel like we get in habits and we just do it because that’s how we do it.
So if you’re using a ton of heat but your hair curls or flattens really easy, you’re just basically frying your hair for no reason. So be sure to test every once in a while to make sure that you don’t need the amount of heat you need. The way I test would just be lower it and then see if you still get that same flat silky look that you’re going for.
My name is Valerie. I’m hair stylist based in Dallas. I have almost 13 years of experience in hair styling. I’m very passionate in styling hair and making people look great.