Hair straighteners are one of the most used hair styling appliances in the world.
They are used by both women and men to achieve different looks with their hair, many of which require perfectly flat or smooth hair. However it’s known that heat damages hair over time, but is that really true? A look at all the pros and cons of using a hair straightener could help you decide if they’re worth using on your hair at all…
Hair straighteners first appeared around the 1840s. A hair iron was heated on a stove and then used to straighten or curl hair, which was done with hot tongs. These hair irons were bulky and often fuelled by gas. Nowadays modern hair straighteners are smaller, lighter, and easier to use than their predecessors – but they still work in the same way as before!
What is a hair straightener and how does it work?
A hair straightener is a rod-shaped device that gives your hair a smooth, sleek look. It’s heated up to at least 230 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to stretch out your hair’s natural curl patterns and make it stick straight. Hair straighteners are similar to curling tongs in that they both use heat to style hair – but instead of wrapping the hair around the barrel, you clamp it between two metal plates!
The heat from either electricity or gas turns water molecules in your hair into steam. And since steam wants to move from warmer areas to colder ones, the water moves towards the cold outer surface of your hair straightener. The movement of these molecules causes changes in hydrogen bonds within strands of your hair. These changes can be permanent, depending on how long you spend clamping down your hair between the plates.
How it works – Electric hair straighteners for home use are powered by electricity and heat up via an internal heating element that reaches temperatures of 230-290 degrees Celsius (about 450-550 degrees Fahrenheit). Some high-end models even have adjustable temperature settings – so that you can choose exactly what temperature suits your hair best before you start styling! How it works – Gas-powered hair straighteners If you’re looking for salon-quality smooth locks but don’t want to fork out big bucks, gas-powered hairdryers might be just the thing for you! The main difference is that they usually cost less than electric models and produce higher air pressure which helps hair dry faster.
Most models don’t have adjustable heat settings, but if you invest in a good-quality model it will heat up to the perfect temperature to suit your hair type and style and reduce hot spots which can damage your locks. Gas-powered hairdryers come with a nozzle that you direct towards your head – very handy for touch-ups or spot straightening!
When it comes to straighteners, women swear by them! They’re quick and easy to use, allow you to create crisp curls as well as sleek styles, let’s face it there’s almost nothing they can’t do! But all those high temperatures might be damaging for your tresses –
So what exactly is a hair straightener?
Hair straighteners heat up in order to smooth and relax the kinks, leaving your hair beautifully straight. This is because when you section off your hair, plait it or leave it loose – each strand forms a tiny “S” curve where all the scales of the outermost cuticle layer meet at one point to form a scale-tip junction.
When this scale-tip junction is heated from 85°C to 150°C/185°F to 302°F, its natural state of negative ionic charge changes to positive ionic charge. At this moment, the cortex expands and flattens out putting pressure on the inner structure of the hair (concentrated mainly in hydrogen bonds), deforming them (making them easier to break).
When the curling iron gets close enough to the scale-tip junction, heat is conducted along the very top of each strand – directly affecting the curvature. If your hair needs a little more taming, you can apply a small amount of styling product before using the curling iron.
You should wait about 30 seconds between each curl because once your hair cools it will return to its natural state. You can re-heat your hair to make it straighter if you wish but be sure that you wait long enough for it to cool down first!
How to use a hair straightener?
Straightening irons are great tools that can help you look your best when you want to get rid of frizz, get out of bed in the morning, or straighten unruly curls. These devices use varying degrees of heat to deposit even amounts of moisture across each strand, which causes them to swell slightly and become less puffy. Once the moisture evaporates, the scales will return to their original form – flat and smooth.
The iron should begin at your roots and pull towards the ends, along with any loose pieces hanging over your shoulders. This motion will prevent thin spots from forming on top where our hair is thinnest.
It’s also important to remember not to press down on hard while using a hair straightener; the resistance only causes the hair to become puffy and stringy, rather than silky smooth.
The amount of time it takes to straighten your locks will vary from person to person, depending on how thick and coarse your strands are. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to well over half an hour if you have really curly or frizzy hair.
Make sure that when you’re finished straightening all of your hair, that you turn the iron off before placing it down. If you leave it running while away from it , you run the risk of causing damage from either burns or electrical surges .
Straighteners work very well for people with naturally straight hair, as the heat only causes the hair to become puffy and stringy rather than silky smooth . If you do not have naturally straight hair, it is recommended that you use a blow dryer first. This will help to take away some of the frizz and fluffiness that your locks may possess beforehand. Also, try using a heat protection spray before exposing your hair. The iron can be held at different angles depending upon what type of look you want to achieve:
Hair Straighteners for different types of hair:
A lot of people wonder which type of flat iron is best for their hair. The question is not as easy to answer as you might think, since it depends on many different factors such as your hair’s texture and thickness, your styling goals, and the health condition of your locks . A good flat iron should be able to heat up quickly and evenly with constant heat distribution throughout the plates. Each model varies in size and shape, with some being better suited for certain types of hair than others.
Hair Straighteners for different types of hair: For example, if you have thick curly hair that frizzes easily, then you will want to use a very high-temperature setting to straighten out all those curls. However, this may end up damaging your hair over time. If you have thin or weak hair that breaks easily, then using a lower setting would be a better idea to reduce the amount of heat damage.
Know your strands: It’s also important to consider the type of individual strands. For example, African-American hair is usually much thicker and courser in texture than Caucasian or Asian hair. So it will need a different straightener from someone with fine, thin Asian locks , which tend to have naturally less volume and are more prone to breakage if excess heat isn’t applied properly.
Different types of straighteners: There are two main classifications for flat irons: non-ionic and ionic. Non-ionic models use plates that emit negative ions when heated, which help seal the cuticle layer of the hair shaft to flatten and smooth. These are good for finer hair with low volume. Models that emit both negative ions at lower temperatures (or mostly negative ions at higher temps) are best for thicker, coarser hair with high volume.