Straightening your hair is a great way to achieve shine and silkiness without spending a fortune at the salon. But the truth is, it makes your hair look glossy and healthy outside, but inside, it might get damaged.
Countless people have suffered from heat-damaged strands for ironing their hair, which is why hairstylists advise against it.
However, straightening your hair can only end badly if you’re not doing it properly. Chances are, if you find your hair being frizzy, dry, or breaking off after the day you straightened it, you’ve not done it the wrong way.
So, in this article, we’ll be showing you 13 hair straightening mistakes to avoid at all costs when styling your hair.
Hair Straightening Mistakes
Hair is by far the most frustrating part of the appearance to control and maintain. It’s very sensitive, which makes messing up a strong possibility. Without the right precautions, knowledge, tools, and practice, you can end up ruining the health of your hair with just a flat iron.
Here are 13 things you might be doing that are completely wrong when it comes to straightening your hair –
1. Too Much Heat
Your hair is made of proteins, which means its structure can change with heat. That’s why styling tools like flat irons and curling wands use heat. However, a small amount of heat is fine for your hair from time to time, but when you use too much, it can destroy the hair’s natural shape and texture.
With an excessive amount of heat, you will end up damaging the keratin proteins in your hair, take away all its moisture from within, break the outer protective layer (cuticle), as well as make your hair extremely brittle and prone to breakage.
To prevent this from happening, use low heat on your hair and apply a heat damage protection spray before using any heating tools.
2. Taking too Long
Flat irons produce more heat than you might think. These irons can fully change the structure of your hair within seconds, so it’s best not to keep them near your hair for too long.
Most people assume that holding the iron in your hair for more than 30 seconds will give them a “longer-lasting effect.” But in reality, it’s temporarily giving your hair a pin-straight look while damaging it inside out.
Instead, iron each section of your hair for no longer than 10 to 15 seconds. If you hear a sizzling sound or see a lot of smoke drifting off your hair, you’re taking too long.
3. Passing too Many Times
Even on medium to low heat, you can damage your hair a lot. Going over a section of hair more times than once will put a lot of heat on your strands and may even ‘crush’ the proteins inside of them. It may seem tempting to go over your hair one more time to make it completely straight, but it will only do more harm.
Haircare professionals strictly advise not passing your flat iron over each section of hair more than once. Avoid putting too much heat on your hair, and just straighten it a couple of times a month only.
4. Using a Worn-out Iron
If you see no desired results from straightening your hair, it might not be your hair that’s the issue, rather your iron. Flat irons are supposed to last no more than 3 years of consistent use, after that, it’s best to replace them with new ones.
Old irons have worn out, scratched, and even partially burnt plates, damaging your hair and giving it a “poofy” look after each pass. This is because the protective layer on the plates has worn off, which is exposing your hair to unprotected hot metal.
5. No Heat Protectant
Since the chances of saving your hair from the heat of styling tools such as curling wands, straighteners, and blow dryers are small, it’s best to be cautious beforehand. Straightening your hair without using a heat protectant before can damage its texture and strip it of all its moisture.
A good heat protectant spray will shield your hair from these harmful tools while also giving you the expected results. Using one will minimize most of the damage you can get from not using a heat protectant, and your hair will recover faster too.
6. Not Combing First
Your hair may look free of tangles, but it actually has many knots that are difficult to the part when straightening hair. All stylists recommend using a wide-toothed comb to brush out any tangles before flat ironing your hair. This is because putting pressure on the knots with a flat iron can “crush” the hair.
“Crushing” is basically destroying the structure of your hair with heat. This means the keratin proteins, cuticles, and overall shafts of your hair are being deformed, which you can sometimes notice with a “crunching” noise.
7. Not Washing Out Product
When you’re in a hurry, this problem is common. Whether it be a conditioner, oil, or cream, if you haven’t washed it out thoroughly in the shower, it will end up ruining the style of your hair after flat ironing it.
Unwashed hair is weighed down due to the products sitting on top of the hair shafts. Sometimes this is noticeable from the “sticky” or “oily” look of some sections of your hair and the overall added weight to it. Passing a flat iron over this will make your hair stick together in clumps, or worst-case scenario, burn it beyond repair.
8. Not Sectioning
Sectioning is important when you are straightening your hair. If a lot of hair is put between your flat iron plates, it will take a lot of pressure and heat to straighten it evenly. Most of the time, the flat iron doesn’t even close properly.
Also, it will take much longer for you to straighten your hair if it’s not sectioned properly. Remember to section your hair or buy a flat iron that has a sectioning function. Using a wide-tooth comb and rattail comb is the best for having even and tidy sections.
9. Not Straightening Your Undercut
If you’re going to use a flat iron to straighten your hair, make sure you also straighten your undercut. While most people use their fingers to smooth down the hair around the top to provide the illusion of a straight neckline, doing so incorrectly causes the hair to become frizzy.
To create that sleek look, use a round brush to smooth out your undercut while blow drying and flat ironing the rest of your hair.
10. Not Properly Preparing Your Hair
The best way to prep your hair before using a flat iron is by giving it deep treatments like an intense moisturizing treatment every few days. Keep in mind that if you are going to use an intense moisturizing treatment, prep your hair after shampooing but before conditioning.
Before using the flat iron on your hair, make sure that your hair is completely dry. This is so that it won’t be affected by static electricity or heat from the flat iron. Also, make sure that you have applied styling products to your hair so that it won’t easily break off during the straightening process.
11. Straightening Your Hair too Often
Just because you have naturally curly hair doesn’t mean you can use a straightener every day without consequence. The more often you use one, the more likely your strands will become brittle and dry over time.
Overuse of hot styling products, such as your flat iron, can cause your hair to become dry, brittle, and prone to falling out, especially if you use them every day. This is due to the fact that applying too much intense and dry heat to the hair damages the hair shaft.
12. Moving the Straightener in the Wrong Direction
While most people believe they should slide their straightener down their hair vertically, experts recommend moving horizontally, starting at the root and sliding sideways.
This is mostly because the hair cuticles are facing upwards from the ends to the roots. Sliding a hot tool down the hair shaft will open up and deform these cuticles, resulting in extremely damaged hair.
This can be avoided easily, though. Pull your hair taut at the tip for more support and carefully glide the flat iron horizontally while maintaining a safe distance between the tool and your face.
13. Using a Dirty Straightener
It is a must that you clean your flat iron on a regular basis, especially if you use it more than 3 times a month. The flat iron will ultimately become coated with dust, products, sebum, and other oils from your hair.
A dirty straightener can hurt your hair and shorten the life of the flat iron significantly.
A flat iron can be cleaned in either hot or cold conditions. If you want to clean it while it’s still hot, all you have to do is wipe it down with a moist towel. On the other hand, once it has cooled down, you can clean it with alcohol or a disinfectant wipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why is my hair still frizzy after I straighten it?
When using a heated styling tool like a straightener, the hair cuticles lift and are deformed, giving your hair a “frizzy” look. This is due to a number of reasons, such as using too much heat, straightening it too often, moving the flat iron in the wrong direction, and more.
The best way to avoid frizzy hair after you straighten it is to use a heat protectant spray before flat ironing.
Q2. Is it better to straighten hair clean or dirty?
Dirty hair can have a lot of sebum, dirt, dust, and other substances that weigh the hair down and make it look greasy. Using a flat iron or any heated styling tool over dirty hair will make the hair clump together and create a bigger mess. Moreover, the filth from hair can also damage the plates of a flat iron, which decreases its life.
Instead, it’s better to straighten hair when it’s completely clean. Use hydrating creams, conditioners, or oils on your hair and clean it out thoroughly in the shower before flat ironing your hair. Not only will these products make your hair clean, but they will provide your hair with enough moisture for less damage from your flat iron.
Q3. How do I fix frizzy straightened hair?
Frizzy hair from straightening is a major sign of extreme heat damage. The best way to combat this is to stop using heated styling tools until your hair recovers completely. While it heals, you should shampoo your hair only 2 times a week to let natural oils bring moisture to your hair.
In the shower, make sure to never skip conditioning your hair after every time you shampoo it. If you use hot water, switch to cold water for your hair, so the cuticles flatten out and reduce frizz. Finally, use hydrating oils and creams regularly to moisturize your hair.
Q4. Which oil is best for dry frizzy hair?
Coconut oil, argan oil, and castor oil are good picks for dehydrated hair. They provide the hair with a thick layer of protection over the hair shaft so that the cuticles don’t face further damage. If you’re experiencing hair fall along with fizziness, it’s best to opt for grape-seed oil to tackle both issues.
If you feel your hair is being too weighed down with these oils, use shampoos, conditioners, and creams containing either of these.
That brings us to an end to the top 13 hair straightening mistakes to avoid. If you’ve found yourself guilty of any of these mistakes, don’t worry.
There is plenty of time to break these habits so that you can protect your hair. And if the damage is already done, check our FAQs section to find solutions for combating frizzy hair.