The 5 Rules Of Heat Styling Your Hair

j-c-castelbajac-4019-ss13-pwI have yet to meet someone that rolls out of bed with perfect hair. If I ever did meet this person, I doubt we would be friends (I’d be too jealous). Most of us have to do a fair share of blowing, brushing, spraying and straightening to get the perfect style we want. And although we have great photos of ourselves as a result, we also have dry, brittle hair from all the torture we put our hair through. But hair stylist Anna Jackson, who works at the Maxine Salon in Chicago, says there can be a compromise when it comes to having hair that’s both healthy and styled, as long as you follow these rules.

1. Don’t style hair with heat every day.
“Only use hot tools when necessary,” says Anna. “Heat rapidly dries out hair, and if your hair is already colored or just naturally dry, then you will have to trim your hair more often and use masque conditioners to help keep the moisture in. Hot tools can also make hair look crispy and create split ends if overused. Blow out hair 3-5 times a week and try to limit your flat iron/curling iron usage to 1-2 times a week.”

2. Choose the correct size of tool.
This rule has more to do with styling your hair well than keeping it healthy, but it’s still very useful: “The outcome of the style you are looking for will dictate what size iron you buy. Also, the size of the tool will depend on how thick your hair is. If you are using a flat iron and your hair is very fine, then a smaller iron that is 1″ should work; however, if you have long, thick hair then a 1 1/2″ flat iron would get the job done faster and better. For curling irons, usually 1″-1 1/4″ is pretty standard. If you want a springy curl that bends quite a few times, you want to make sure that the hair wraps around the iron at least 3 times. If all you are looking for is a little flip and a soft wave, then the hair should wrap around the barrel 1.5-2 times.”

3. Keep the curling iron away from your bangs.
“Curling irons and bangs just don’t go together,” says Anna. “Leave the curled bangs back in the ’80s, and stick to just blow drying or flat ironing them.”

4. Always use professional tools.
“When using curling irons, flat irons and blow dryers, you always want to choose one that is of professional grade. Anything that uses a ceramic or a tourmaline plate is good; they are much safer to use. Professional tools get hotter faster and stay very hot, meaning you don’t have to hold the hair in the barrel or go over it as many times with a flat iron. Also the barrels and plates are comfortable and easy to use.”

5. Apply heat protection before styling.
“Every time you pick up that hot tool to use, always, always, always, make sure you have something in your hair. Before you blow dry, use a light oil like Shu Uemura Essence Absolute ($68, shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com), or the Ciment Thermique by Kérastase ($39, kerastase-usa.com). Just a little on the ends will go a long way in terms of protection. When flat ironing and curling, use a thermal protecting spray that has a little hold in it, or a very light-weight hold hairspray. Then, brush through the hair after ironing to give it a softer look. Just remember not to hold the hair in the clamp or iron for too long of a time period; it will burn your hair.

What type of heated styling tool do you use most? 

Read more: Does Your Hair Need Sunscreen?

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