Curling Iron & Flat Iron Damage

Curling hair with an iron
Photo: Schankz/Shutterstock
Q: My hair is wavy and thick, but I'd like a different look. I bought a professional curling iron and a flat iron at the local beauty supply store, but now I'm worried that I might seriously damage my hair if I use them too much. What should I do to prevent doing something irreparable?
A: Until you're sure exactly how much heat your hair will need to get it to style the way you want, use caution in how high you set the heat on these appliances. I once watched a close friend who misjudged how hot her curling iron was as she curled her hair. She wound the strand around the rod, held it for a few seconds and when she released the curl it rolled down the side of her head and fell to the floor.
Always test the heat level of a new appliance before you ever apply it to the hair. A piece of moistened tissue paper should be inserted in the appliance and held for a few seconds without any scorching. If the paper gets discolored, the iron is too hot.
Another thing many people don't realize is that the hair needs to be COMPLETELY dry before you use a heated appliance on it. Work with small sections and thin segments, and apply a small amount of hairspray and allow it to dry before you wind it on a curling wand or pass it through a flat iron. This will give you the clean crisp results you desire.
And you'll want to make sure your hair is well conditioned before you use heated appliances. And you should consider a weekly deep-conditioner to protect the hair and restore the moisture the styling takes away. A daily leave-in conditioner is also a good way to keep heat-styled hair from drying out.
See also:
Flat iron styling
Heat styling basics
How dangerous are hair straighteners?
Burning smell when using a curling iron