6 flat-ironing mistakes you might be making

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

So what if your hair is a little damp when you take your styling iron to it. And who cares what size plates you use – the bigger the better the more hair you can straighten in less time. Well, it does matter. And we do care.

Here a few common mistakes we make when taking a flat iron to our hair – yes, I’m guilty of a few of these myself.

1. Using too hot plates

Raise your hand if you thought that the hotter the styling plates are the quicker you’ll get done. Now raise your hand if you’ve scorched your hair with a sizzling 230 degrees. From research conducted, hair should generally not be heated over 190 degrees. Obviously hair texture and thickness may add to varying heat factors, but anything over 200 degrees may cause irreparable damage.

2. Holding on for too long

It’s never really been said how long you should hold your hair between a styling iron’s plates. But it should be no longer than a few seconds. The longer you hold the styler on the hair, the more moisture it will draw from the hair. And no one wants brittle, straw-like hair. Also when running the iron down the length of your hair, do not clamp it down like you’re making a cheese toastie. Instead, leave it slightly open to benefit from the direct heat but also maintain as much volume as possible.

3. Using too thick sections of hair

The size of the plates don’t really matter when it comes to your hair length, but what does matter is how big the sections of your hair are that you straighten at one time. You don’t want to use too much hair at a time because the heat won’t be evenly distributed and you’ll be tempted to hold the plates around your hair for longer than a few seconds. Rather use a few duckbill clips to section off your hair into very small sections all along your head because you want the heat to penetrate all of the strands with just one swipe. Then slide the iron slowly and steadily in a single pass. If you stop and go you may create horizontal lines.

4. Going for the plank effect

Yes, we know that’s sort of what your trying to achieve but instead of ironing hair completely parallel to your face, move your arm in a C shape as you proceed down the hair, and bend the ends under.

5. Styling damp or wet hair

You should never style over damp or wet hair, as you run the risk of boiling the water in/on the hair, which can cause severed damage to the cuticle area. So, put away those ‘wet-and-dry’ flat irons, they’re no good.

6. Using inferior products

You have to make sure you’re using not only a good quality styler, but also professional heat styling products. As long as you are using professional heat protection products, you can safely heat style your hair every day. Look for a no-hold formula, like Kardashian Beauty Hair Black Seed Oil Soft & Smooth Leave-in Mist, R395, or TRESemmé Heat Defence Styling Spray Protect, R79,95.

When purchasing a styler, consider that the external plates on styling irons are merely a heat conductor, but they have to be of such a quality that they don’t damage your hair. Flat irons with external plates that have a ceramic powder coating ensure a sleek and smooth finish.

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  1. Nettie9307

    This is actually scary to think that the water may boil and damage your skin. I don’t think i will use my wet/dry straighter again on wet hair

    3 months ago •


    I straightened my hair for my graduation. Now I realise we did a few things wrong! Wish I read this earlier

    3 months ago •

  1. Tanya

    This article is really helpful thanks, didn’t realize I was causing so much damage to my hair.

    4 months ago •

  1. Demishka Maharaj

    The TRESemme heat defense spray is the bomb!!! It is so reasonable and helps protect hair leaving it shiny, healthy and heat damage freeeee!!!

    4 months ago •

  1. Tammy Wild

    What would be the best solution for a GHD as you have no temp contreol on them?

    8 months ago •

  1. Chandni Jivan

    I’m guilty of ironing my hair when it’s damp. it really does cause damage to your hair

    8 months ago •


    I barely iron my hair- it’s just too damaging. But when I do, I always use a protective spray.

    8 months ago •

  1. Gervase

    plank effect: lol i always iron my hair inwards since it tends to curl outwards not that it ever stays inward!

    8 months ago •

  1. Lalitha Benny

    thank you for the advise, could never get my hair like salon quality…

    9 months ago •

  1. Annika Joubet

    Definitely throwing my ‘wet-and-dry’ flat iron away after reading this

    9 months ago •

  1. Belinda Van Tura

    I’m guilty of 4 out of the 6, I certainly need to take note of these tips and apply them in my ironing routine.
    Thanks for the advice 

    9 months ago •

  1. Ayanda Maleka

    Omg I do 3 out of 6 of these. Wow

    9 months ago •

  1. Simone Ling

    My mother is a hairdresser, these tips really do help

    9 months ago •

  1. Lenique August

    I am guilty of 1 and 2. Thanks for the tips.

    9 months ago •

  1. Rachna Misra

    great tips. will need to make sure I follow them.

    9 months ago •

  1. Rachna Misra

    was looking for good products to use when styling my hair. will look out for these.

    9 months ago •

  1. Fayyaadhah Bux

    Will be following these tips soon .

    9 months ago •

  1. Fana_kw Karani-wookey

    I don’t really iron my hair. I do however think that its very important to use heat protection products every time you do use the iron.

    9 months ago •

  1. Zubeidah Tasriet

    Another one to add is not using heat protection products at all. Will use these tips next time I use a flat iron.

    9 months ago •

  1. Diana Van Den Berg

    Very true about the damp hair!! and always use a heat protector before using hot styling tools!!

    9 months ago •

  1. Humaira Motala

    Wow ! Really helpful tips . Thank You!

    9 months ago •

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