Those long, lush, perfectly cascading curls can be hard to come by – but unfortunately, heat damage can really affect the beauty of your hair. And for the hair enthusiasts out there, you have probably tried a variety curling irons, some more damaging than others. While the natural texture of your hair plays a large component, so does the quality of the curling iron you are using. And pretty much any heat tool you use on your hair will cause damage, you can certainly minimize it when you use more advanced technology.
But, before you get too excited about the styling tool that can give you perfect locks, you should definitely understand how to prep your hair before you get too heat crazy. There are a variety of things you can do to prep for an ultra-curly style, much of which includes keeping hair healthy on a daily basis, but if you have big plans for a heat session, here are a few recommendations for how to keep your hair cuticles in check.
- Hair Masks
Hair masks have come a long way over the years, with the goal of maximizing hydration. There are quite a few to choose from, but typically something with more natural ingredients such as almond oil, avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil and olive oils are preferred (notice a trend here?). Oils can smooth the hair for optimal shine.
- Heat Protectants
There is a whole continuum of heat protectants on the market to prevent breakage. It’s basically a “must” if you plan on doing some heat action. When you put a curling iron on hair without it, you’re bound to have some less than flattering results. Which makes it that much more difficult the next time you try to use a heat styler.
- Dry Your Hair Completely
It may sound a little silly, but when you are pressed for time you may feel inclined to cut corners, which can include not drying your hair all the way. This is a big no-no! You may have heard advice such as not brushing your hair when wet, as it increases damage – so imagine what applying a significant amount of heat will do to it. Protect your follicles by ensuring no dampness.
- Use Caution with the Temperature of Your Iron
Just because your curling iron CAN go hot, hot, hot doesn’t mean you should. The more heat you use, the more damage you’ll experience. If your hair is thicker, it can typically withstand higher temps but if you are one who chemically treats your hair with color, you should use extra caution. Otherwise you are going to experience some very unfortunate breakage.
- Don’t Hold the Curl too Long
If you are holding the strand around the curling rod for more than five to ten seconds, you are holding it too long. You like having hair, right? You probably don’t want to burn it straight off your head, so hold smaller sections for less time and keep it moving.
Picking a Curling Iron
Now that we’ve got some of the basics out of the way, you can start looking for features and settings that can give you a healthier outcome. And while no hot tool is “good” for hair, there are a few elements and temperature controls to be mindful of. The rule of thumb – don’t go cheap on your curling iron.
Here are some of our picks:
If you’re looking for safety without a lot of heat damage, Dyson has engineered this method perfectly. The tool uses more of a blow-drying effect to achieve those luxe curls and any type of hair can use this. Not to mention, the set comes with eight different tools for the price of one, so the $549 price tag is more of an investment than something that will have you fainting at the cost. Once you start reading the reviews, you’ll realize why this tool keeps hair healthier.
GHD is another highly respected name in the hair product world. This wand will get up to 360 degrees though, so if you’re not convinced about heat protectants, now is the time to commit. This wand is tapered, which produces a bouncy curl, but there is a learning curve (pun intended). At $199, this tool is a little easier on your bank account and it has a long-lasting life.
If you’re hard-pressed to shell out an arm and a leg on a curling iron, Conair produces an affordable option that has been around for years. At 1.5 inches, this tool can produce soft waves with its 25 heat settings. It heats up quick and has an auto-off feature for those of us that tend to forget about turning our styling tools off. And it’s only $19.99.
These are just a few options, but there is a long list of curling irons that can produce anything from a beach wave to a corkscrew. If you are committed to gorgeous curls without the damage, these are among the best but you can also consult with your hairstylist for other great options.