Q: I read that a straightening iron should not be used on color-treated hair. Is it true or it is a myth. I have gray hair
therefore I have to use hair color. My hair is also wavy so I want to use a straightening iron to straighten it. Could you please
suggest me what to do and how I can know whether my hair is in good condition to use a straightening iron?
A: It IS true that you should use caution when using a straightening iron on color-treated hair (especially hair that has been bleached
or lightened significantly). That being said, you can use a straightening iron safely as long as you take the needed precautions.
First of all, in every hair care routine, the most important thing to do is condition the hair
thoroughly. The hair should be conditioned every day – whether by using a rinse through conditioner (such as the kind used following
shampoo) or by using a leave-in conditioner. This is doubly important if you are going to use a heat appliance on the hair. In
addition, there are smoothing balm and products designed to help protect the hair from damage due to heat styling.
As for identifying whether or not your hair is in good condition, try reviewing our article on
identifying damaged hair. Remember that damage can be very mild, to very severe and should be considered
whenever you are planning to use heat styling, or to get a chemical service.
You also want to take some care in selecting your appliance. Look for appliances with smooth,
non-stick surfaces, and adjustable temperature controls. For longer hair, select an appliance that has larger heating surfaces, and for
shorter hair, select one with slimmer heating plates. (You can also use slimmer models on longer hair if you want more control or are
concerned about managing the weight of the appliance comfortably, but be aware that it will take longer to straighten long hair with a smaller appliance.)
You can find more information on styling appliances by looking here, and can see additional
information about heat styling the hair, with detailed information on how to use curling irons and flat irons, by looking here.