Start with a better blowout
The proper blowout with your hair dryer before you use a straightener will improve your flat iron's performance and shorten styling time because there will be less contact with the hot plates. Look for a ceramic, ionic hair dryer to help you smooth your strands before you straighten. Read The Perfect Blowout for tips.
Use a heat protectant! I say it all day long. There are tons of great products on the market today that are heat activated and created specifically to work along with the excessive high iron temperatures to protect your hair while styling. You can avoid a lot of unnecessary damage with a heat protectant. Think of a heat protectant as your flat iron�s Best Friend.
Go for Quality
Use a quality flat iron. Notice I didn't say expensive? I said quality. Look for a flat iron with some form of technology dedicated to keeping your hair damage-free while you straighten and smooth. There are so many advancements now, that it's almost hard to find a bad flat iron! Which is great, right? Look for the terms Ceramic, Ionic, Tourmaline, Nano-Silver, Titanium � they are ALL good, in any combination. They all have different technologies and selling points, but all are dedicated to keeping your hair in good condition because they eliminate multiple passes down each hair strand. One-step straightening is what you want.
How LOW can you Go?
Use a Lower Temperature: Find the lowest possible temperature for your specific hair type, no need to crank your iron up to 400+ degrees if your hair will get smooth at 350 degrees. Yep, that makes sense. With temperature, less is really more in terms of healthy hair. It's the main reason there are so many irons out there with fixed temperatures - they keep the iron from getting too hot. If you think hey, if 400 degrees is good, 475 degrees must be better - step away from the flat iron and think - even cookies bake at 375 degrees.
Smaller is Better�
For you shorties, use the smallest plate width for your hair type/length: Less full contact with the plates is always better. Let�s face it, your flat iron is HOT and your hair strands are delicate. There really is no need to pick a 2" width if you can get away with a 1" instead. Plus, if your hair is shorter, a 2" plate width is harder to style with and maneuver. You never want to struggle with a flat iron, you really want the ultimate control with a hot appliance. Learn it. Live it.
Wider is Better�
For you long haired ladies, be honest, if your hair is long and thick, just go for the 1-3/4" or straight for the 2" flat iron. Don�t be concerned that it might be slightly more expensive. You'll save time straightening with a wider iron and you�ll cause less damage. Too many times over the same section of hair wreaks havoc and causes breakage and let's face it, if you have a lot of hair, that's not a great look. Capice?
Of course, if you're in the market for a new flat iron, our Best Flat Irons section features the most-wanted irons around, and aways, always, always use a heat protectant! You�ll thank me later.
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