Color Treated Hair & Straightening Iron

Hair straightening with a flat iron
Photo: ArtFamily/Shutterstock
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 and 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 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.
See also:
Tips and tricks for hairstyling tools
How to flat iron hair
How to choose a good flat iron for your hair