Top 10 Mistakes You are Making with Your Hair Straightener

When it comes to gorgeous hair arguably the most desired look is long, sleek, shiny and perfectly straight hair. It’s pure and simple style that always manages to look chic along with anything from a little black dress to your lazy Sunday sweats.

Like most girls I love my monthly hairdresser appointment, a touch of color along with straightening. As all of you know there seems there’s no other point in that month my hair looks better. After only a few days though the frizz begins to return, my waves come back and the shine starts to fade away…

Fortunately my hair straightener keeps my in-between-hairdresser appointments a little more bearable. Don’t you just love your hair straightener? It’s the only beauty tool that stays on top of my dresser. However over the years I’ve realized I’ve been doing a lot of my routine incorrectly!

So after some conversations with beauty professionals I have compiled a list of the most common mistakes we make with our beloved flat irons and perfect the technique after implementing these into my own routine, my hair is straighter longer, no longer frizzes so damn quickly and has even shaved precious minutes off the whole shabang, so I can snooze in just a little longer ;-). Read on to see if you can too…

 

1. You’re not properly preparing your hair

Your straightening routine is not beginning in the shower. For those of you who know me, I have tried tons of shampoos, conditioners are various other products to straighten my hair only to learn one thing – they do not work on their own and never will. For my particularly frizzy, thick hair I begin my straightening routine in the shower with a keratin shampoo.

Keratin is a protein which naturally exists in hair, it helps to protect against the heating of the flat iron and generally smooths it out. Other shampoos labeled with ‘smoothing’ may be able to help prepare the strands with moisture.

Rinse your hair gently, if you go nuts with the towel you will only enhance your natural curls. After rinsing, just pat your hair down gently, running your hair through the towel. Your aim should be about 80% dry throughout. At this point you might want apply a thermal protectant, then just let it air dry.

2. Your hair is not dry enough

Speaking of blowdrying, watch your blowdryer direction. Your hairdryer may be causing the most damage to your hair. To achieve the sleek finish, always keep the nozzle facing downwards.

Many have looked for wet-to-dry [W2D] hair straighteners and whilst I have had no experience with these personally, from everything I have learned about using a flat iron, I don’t see how wet-to-dry straighteners can be either safe or effective. The ones I have researched say they only work if your hair is about 90% dry anyway, so why bother?! If you have used W2D straighteners, please let me know your experiences in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

If you use a brush, use a boar bristle brush not plastic brushes as they cause static and hence more frizz!

3. Its your precious hair, not your breakfast…

Whatever you do, don’t fry your hair. If you see steam or hear frizzle then immediately stop and assess the situation. The most common issue here is your hair your hair needs to be completely bone dry before straightening. If you hair is dry then it could be product build up on your flat iron, check the plates are completely clean you can use something like this iron cleaner from HSI.

You should avoid applying anything to dry hair which is what makes straightening different than curling. Because the iron clamps down on the hair, there’s nowhere for the product to go. You’re pretty much boiling the product into the follicle, which isn’t a great idea, especially if it contains alcohol.

That 450 F setting on your flat iron was specifically added for professional stylists to straighten after performing a deep keratin treatment. This is waaayyy too hot for home use, did you know your hair burns at the same temperature as paper? That’s 451 F (233 C)! No matter how unmanageable your hair is, you should keep this setting safe at 400 F max, MAX!

With correct preparation (shower, correct blowdryer use etc) and technique, 400 F is plenty and will ensure you don’t do damage to your hair. Not hot enough then you’ll be taking a longer time with too many strokes to get your hair straight.

Hair Straightener Temperature Guide

4. You’re not sectioning your hair

Always section your hair, what I do is, brush the section first then follow right away with the flat iron. Keep it going, when you stop and start it’s far too easy to miss sections or even worse, overdo sections. Carefully select, brush, then straighten each section remember to not pull your hair as you go along just gentle strokes if you feel your hair pulling you’re clamping too tight or going too fast – this can be really easy to do when you’re in a hurry! Make sure you run your fingers through the section of hair, pulling gently down then following through with your iron right from the root.

5. You’re not using a thermal protectant

OK, so you don’t want the hair to sizzle. In addition to keeping the temperature at an appropriate level, a thermal protectant such as these. Apply to hair when damp, then air dry before using your hair straightener.

6. Your iron is from the dark ages

Yep, you heard it right. You could be doing all of the above correctly and still not getting the desired result. You may find that your straightening routine is taking longer and longer, and by the time you’ve finished your arms feel like you’ve just had a kettle-ball routine down the gym.

Both cheaper and older hair straighteners take longer and longer to return to the optimum temperature. Some older and cheaper irons take up to 90 seconds to return to the temp you’ve set.

With each stroke your iron cools down a little, then needs to heat back up again before the next stroke, so you either need to wait or just keep moving so that each hair section is not straightening at the best temperature for your hair type. Many flat iron models now show their ‘recovery time’ listed in the product features page, the shorter the better.

Alot has changed with flat iron technology. The plate material is very important, for example tourmaline is a crystal boron silicate mineral which is either coated on or baked into the plates. This stuff emits negative ions which help to counteract the positive ions in damaged hair. Even if your hair is undamaged, tourmaline helps to keep existing moisture in the strands.

For curly hair look for gold or titanium. Some brands even have ceramic/titanium blends which also has tourmaline baked in, an excellent combination.

7. Your iron is just too wide

When it comes to size, you should never need to go above 1½ inches. Thicker irons can help styling and allowing for wider sectioning however the wider the iron the more difficult it is to reach the root properly and for that lavish pure straight look, the iron needs to be right from root to tips.

8. You don’t use a brush

Before you take to each section with heat, brush out the hair to prepare each section, this not only takes care of any knots, but perfectly separates strands ready for the heat. This you won’t need to go back over each section as many times.

9. You don’t let your hair cool

Heat is naturally great at doing the styling work, however don’t for get that cool sets it. So let your hear cool before putting it in a ponytail or a clip after straightening it.

10. You don’t clean your iron

Any product you apply to your hair, such as heat protectants, residue from keratin shampoos and not to mention dust etc will eventually build up on your flat iron plates. The cleaner the plates, the better the heat transfer to your hair, clean your plates regularly to keep it in tip-top shape and save you time and effort.

11. BONUS Tip!

A flat iron is just that, an iron you can use it on collars, ribbons, craft supplies and more! For this stuff your flat iron is perfect and provides a better level of control than your clothes iron.

 

Using these tips will save you time, frustration and maybe even a little money too!  Check out my reviews here and you can check out the infographic for these tips too.

ISA Tourmaline Professional Flat Iron Review

“Professional does it for more every time”

I admit I’m a bit of a sucker for marketing hype. I am also prone to taking things fairly literally. So if a straightener is happy to state that it is professional in the title, then I am drawn in to expecting that it will produce styling results that are pretty impressive. I know I’m not even remotely up to calling myself as good as a trained professional, but I would hope that the straightening irons would help me to achieve a look that’s superior to that obtained with a straightener that doesn’t have professional in the title. So after that jumble of words, it’s down to the nitty-gritty – does the ISA Professional Digital LCD Ceramic Flat Iron Hair Straightener deserve its name?

“Red – a world about to dawn! Black – the night that ends at last!”

OK, I’ve gone for lyrics from the musical ‘Les Misérables’ here but with very good reason, as there’s definitely nothing ‘miserable’ about the look of the ISA Professional Digital LCD Ceramic Flat Iron Hair Straightener.

My ‘go-to’ brand of straighteners come in matte black and in my head, my vision of the perfect professional pair of straighteners has that look or similar. Go to a salon and rarely do the stylists have luminous pink metallic ones, my theory being that if a pair of straightening irons are amazing, they don’t need fancy colors to do the talking. In fact, turn that idea on its head, and if straighteners have gone over the top on their looks, then I even start to think that they have something to hide.

The ISA Professional Digital LCD Ceramic Flat Iron Hair Straightener are one of the best looking on the market. I absolutely love them. Yes, my preferred ‘professional’ matte black look is there but it is interspersed with adorable red sections, and I do mean adorable. Even the plates are rocking the look – wow! As well as this stunning appearance, these were also a bit of an ergonomic hit, too. Due to dexterity issues, I need a straightener that wills me to hold it just as the manufacturer intended, and the ISA Professional Flat Iron Straightener does just that.

Shape, rattle and roll

The ISA Professional Digital LCD Ceramic Flat Iron has a shape that has clearly been well thought through – I have visions of team huddles, boardroom meetings and working lunches, seriously. It just seems to be the perfect size whichever way you’re looking at it. Not only does this help to produce superlative straightening results, but for the first time in a long while, I could flick and curl and produce results I was happy to leave the house with. This was very definitely down to the fact that the ISA Professional Ceramic Flat Iron has the rare ability to be suited for use by both left and right-handed people. With my dexterity issues, this was a dream scenario. Add to this a long swivel cord, and for the first time since childhood I was playing professional hair stylist.

Ceramic dramatic

Handsome though these straightening irons are, it’s all much ado about nothing if my hair ends up looking like I’ve delved into a trash can. Ceramic has long been the preferred straightener plate option and it definitely delivers here. It may sound an odd thing to say, but the plates are actually fully ceramic – we’re not talking ceramic-coated, ceramic-infused, ceramic-sprinkled here – and I think it is this that meant that my mass of thick and color-damaged hair was transformed once again into my crowning glory. Well OK, I admit, maybe not the desired just-walked-out-of-the-salon look, but hand on heart I was truly chuffed at the result. The plates glided through my hair with ease, with minimal passes necessary – I call that a good result! But in case that isn’t enough for you in a straightening iron, does the ISA Professional Digital LCD Ceramic Flat Iron Hair Straightener comes with any nifty little extras?

Lock it or lose it

You know when you get your straighteners to that optimum temperature but then accidentally nudge the button and it’s back to square one? Well have no fear, the ISA Professional Ceramic Flat Iron is here! I absolutely love the fact that you can lock your buttons into place, so never losing all those stressful minutes (OK, maybe seconds) spent trying to find the best temperature for your individual hair needs. In fact, I would go so far as to say that each and every pair of straightening irons in the whole world should have this as part of their basic set-up. Manufacturers please listen!

Raving about the neon

I remember the 1990s, when neon was a fashion must. And to bring that bang up-to-date, I’m happy to rave about neon in my straightening iron. The ISA Professional Digital LCD Ceramic Flat Iron Hair Straightener has a neon-lit digital temperature display, and as much as you may think ‘Ha! Why do I need that?’, once you’ve seen it you will understand my excitement. It just makes things a whole lot clearer/simple, and I love it for that.

Talking of love, will the pros and cons list show that I love this straightener or hate it, although I think it’s fairly obvious which way this will go.

PROs – love the two-tone look, especially the attention to detail on the plates; at last I got great results straightening and curling; this was by far the easiest pair of straightening irons to handle and maneuverer

CONs – oh my goodness, I simply cannot think of a single one!

I conclude this review by saying that I really don’t think you can go wrong with this pair of straightening irons. What I really like about them is the fact that every detail is done with the same care and consideration, meaning that everybody’s styling needs, however small, have been addressed. Thank you ISA!

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Not available in the UK
But check out the Titanium model!

CHI Air Expert Classic Review

“Stunning hair and stunning looks – The Chi is a model straightener.”

Chi – look up the word’s meaning and there are a multitude of definitions, but the feeling is definitely of a word with positive connotations.

And as Chi the hair company, or Cationic Hydration Interlink Technology as it is also known, that positivity is achieved courtesy of a long history of quality products as part of the larger Farouk brand. Cationic Hydration Interlink Technology adds to the hair’s strength as well as retaining and adding essential moisture, with the result being magnificent looking hair – result!

Chi have earned a reputation for excellence in all their products with many years of industry experience behind them, so it should go without saying that their hair straighteners will fit the category of superlative performance. But does the hype match the delivery?

 

Model looks

The Chi Pro 1” Ceramic Flat Iron immediately scores in terms of good looks. Whilst some people may not be motivated by color, for others a straightener that looks pretty is a key consideration. So with a contemporary and vibrant color choice of red, pink, aqua blue and purple as well as classic black, this may be the first thing that attracts you to the Chi. When you have a pair of straighteners that are as iconic as Chi’s are, a distinctive look means that others can easily recognise that when it comes to your purchasing choices, only the best will do. Vanity not only in how you look, but how your straighteners look also, shows that you take pride when it comes to appearance in every aspect.

But put appearance aside, and actually it is the Chi’s superior performance that will capture the heart.

 

CHI Air Expert Classic

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Thick to slick

The plates are made from Tourmaline Ceramic, a superior choice that is known to eliminate frizz and static. Tourmaline’s negative ions counteract the positive ions present in dry and damaged hair, so sealing in the hair’s natural level of moisture as well as adding to it too. Having tourmaline present in your straightening irons improves the hair’s texture and makes it a whole lot easier to style. In terms of finish, this means that straightened hair will not just be just that – straight – but also have that finished salon look with no flyaway or kinks. Shine is always appreciated with the straightened hair look and the Chi delivers on this point, leaving your hair silky smooth and looking at its healthy best. Some straighteners struggle to flatten thicker hair, but the Chi is master at taking on even the toughest of challenges. Even heat distribution that actually does distribute heat evenly makes the job of straightening a relative breeze for even the most inept home hair stylists. Even hair that looks impossible to tame can be transformed to catwalk perfection, making choosing the CHI PRO AIR 1″ Ceramic Flat Iron an assured choice of purchase.

Lightweight but packs a heavyweight punch

But this doesn’t mean that you are getting a straightening iron the size of a clothing iron with the weight to match. The CHI PRO AIR 1″ Ceramic Flat Iron manages to be brilliant without needing to be a heavyweight in terms of holding the thing. This makes it ideal for everyone, and is a good contender for those with dexterity issues due to its size matched with performance. A longer than average cable means that reaching those hard to reach places is easier than you imagine – so no more sleek front and sides and a mass of tangle at the back. But the longer cable also means tangle of a different kind, with the cord being prone to twisting.

Quick, quick!

In a rush? The plate heats up mega-quickly, and combine this with the Chi’s ease of use and you can achieve your look quicker than when using competing straighteners. This is a fact that should not be ignored as choosing a straightener that delivers in a fraction of the usual time is a real bonus and can enhance your day and mood! Imagine pressing the snooze button on your alarm one more time, or having an extra cup of coffee, and the advantages start to add up.

Say no to auto

One negative has to be that unlike the equally popular GHD’s, there is no auto cut-off if you forget to turn the straighteners off. As unlikely as that may seem to happen, Chi are missing a trick here, even if it’s just because a competitor is giving customer’s something that Chi are not.

Curl girl

Of course, straighteners are now not just for straightening, as waves, kinks, waves, twists and more are all part of a good pair of straightener’s skill base. But whilst the Chi Pro Air may be your best friend when it comes to straight hair, it is not necessarily the best on the market for waves and curls. This is not particularly an issue with the performance of the Chi, as get the knack and again the Chi Pro Air will give you the curled hair of your dreams, but this is just because holding it when you’re curling can be a little dicey due to heat build-up on the exterior. This is not a major issue however, and as with all products you will get used to your own way of handling, but it is definitely worth a mention.

Weighing up the pros and cons, it seems that these are the most important considerations.

CONS – can be difficult to hold when curling, cord can tangle, no auto shut-off feature

PROS – straightens even the thickest hair, lightweight, hair condition enhanced with stunning results

Buying a pair of straighteners should always be a more considered purchase and the Chi offers supreme performance at a pleasing price point. The brand are known for their quality and this is a purchase that is set to deliver excellence for many years to come.

 

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