Have you ever run your hands through your hair and felt like you were petting a scarecrow? Straw-like hair is no fun, and it can be really difficult to manage. Often, the only option is to get a good haircut in order to remove the dead “stuff” before you go back to styling, otherwise you’ll drive the dryness up the strands even further.
So where does this straw-like texture come from? Well, if you’re using a hair straightener the odds are you’re using way too much heat. Just because a flat iron heats up to a certain level it doesn’t mean you have to use it at the top temperature.
Breaking Up… On Accident!
Beyond a straw-like texture, straightening with too much heat can lead to breakage or worse, hair loss! You heard that right. It’s possible to lose hair in big clumps because of the style you’re trying to put into it. If you notice over time that your hair isn’t as thick as it once was when it’s air-dried, that’s a really good indication your hair is over-worked and needs a break from all of the heat.
It’s easy to forget that straightening irons and hair dryers can be bad for your hair because they are sold in such mass quantities, but it is true. Make sure you’re getting a good straightener without heat spikes, and don’t leave it on your hair for too long. It’s better to take a few quick passes than one that is too slow, to begin with. Consistent heat on a single clump of hair can break it right off in ways that you probably didn’t realize.
How Do You Know?
If you’re trying to figure out what kind of heat and how much to put on your hair, be sure to check out my guide on the kind of material you need for the best heat distribution on your hair. Irons are not a one-size-fits-all, and by paying attention to the nuances of your hair type you can make a better decision for your hair’s health.
Cut The Heat When You Can
It’s best to reduce the amount of heat you put on your hair as much as possible. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to wash my hair the night before so I can skip the blow dryer before work. My huge amount of hair takes forever to dry, but it’s pretty easy to straighten. This way, I put much less heat on my hair and it’s way softer the next morning. Blow drying can make my hair feel very dry, whereas I feel that straightening does a better job of keeping in the moisture.
It’s worth remembering you don’t always have to use heat when you’re drying. Most blow dryers have a setting for cool air as well, and while it’s a little more cumbersome to use on some models, it will still get your strands dry. If you’re trying to reduce frizz, cool air from your hairdryer is actually better because it makes follicles contract while heat makes them expand. Naturally drying is always better for your hair, but cool air is another safe alternative.
Work Your Iron Up to The Right Heat
The same goes for your iron, try lower temperatures first! It’s easy to crank up an iron and think it’s good to use at that level because you can, but that isn’t the best idea. Use it at the lowest setting first, and see what sort of results you get from it. Then, slowly crank it up to get the result you want (if you need to). The hottest heat isn’t always best, and most people can get away with a lot lower than 450 degrees while still achieving a great style.
There are plenty of great options for your hair, and you can find them in my different categories of irons. Just like I swear by my iron, I also swear by taking a few days off per week and either going with “second-day” hair or leaving it all together. Having an imperfect style for a few days is way better than losing hair permanently!