Thermal Ceramic Hair Iron Stove

Flat iron, hair clips and a comb
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: I have African-American hair and I haven't had a perm for 3 months to allow my hair to grow out, but now I think it's becoming unbearable to manage because it gets tangled. I was wondering: (1) If I were to get my hair straightened by using a thermal ceramic hair iron stove, would that be good for my hair? (2) How many times should I use it on my hair?
(3) Is a flat iron or the ceramic stove better? Which one would be better for my hair? (4) Is using olive oil for my hair good, because I was told with the products hair suppliers make they use a lot of fragrances and chemicals to make it smell good, and it can cause headaches.

A: Using any heated hair appliance can be safe on the hair as long as you know how to use it properly. The main difference between the flat iron and the Iron Stoves is that the stove is used to heat the implements that are used to straighten the hair, while the flat iron is generally an all in one proposition.
The hair iron should be carefully monitored before you apply it to the hair. Make sure the hair iron is not too hot, or the hair can be damaged (burned) badly. Most women prefer a flat iron (electric) because it is much easier and simpler to manage. In fact, I know of very few people outside of professional salons who use the hair iron stoves, and most of the salons I know use electric flat irons and curling irons simply because they are more convenient.
With any heat appliance used to style the hair, use it only as much as necessary to achieve the hairstyle you want. And be aware of signs that your hair is becoming overstressed or damaged by the styling appliance if you choose to use it every day. Use deep conditioners and daily, leave-in conditioners to protect the hair against heat styling damage. Also, only use the iron at a temperature hot enough to achieve the result you want and no hotter. Check our articles on thermal appliance styling here.
As for the use of olive oil on your hair, I say "congratulations" on finding a natural alternative to hair care products. In fact, olive oil has been used in Africa as a hair moisturizer and skin conditioner for centuries. The best way to use it is as a weekly hot oil treatment. Warm a half-cup of extra virgin olive oil and apply it to the hair, then cover the hair with plastic. Leave the oil on the hair for 30 minutes to one hour, then shampoo and condition the hair and style as normal.
You are correct in that many manufacturers use fragrances and chemicals in their hair products to help the hair smell good, but most people have no issue with the scents unless they are sensitive to them. It isn't necessarily a bad thing on the part of the manufacturers since many of the fragrances used these days are derived from herbal essences and natural oils.
See also:
How many times a week can an African-American woman flat iron her hair?
Can you blow dry African textured hair straight? If not what is the result if blow dried?
How do you flat iron African-American hair?
Is it true that your hair could be less damaged if you put olive oil in it to condition?