Different Hair Types, Different Needs

I have a friend with super curly hair, and she insisted there was no way to straighten it. No matter how much I disagreed, she insisted. I’m not one to be wrong, so I made her sit still while I worked my straightener through her hair. I’ll be honest, it was difficult, but not impossible. With the right product and a great iron, her hair stayed straight for 2 days before she washed it and reclaimed her curly mane.

If you aren’t sure how to get your hair straight, you’ll be pleased to know there is definitely a correct iron for every type. All you have to know is what type of hair you have. Are you curly, straight, fine, coarse, frizzy or wavy? You could even be a mixture, what’s going on up there?! Once you have this information, I can help set you straight.

Bob Says…

Short hairIf your hair is short, you need a small iron. Try something like the CHI Air expert in 1/2 inch. You’ll be able to get closer to your scalp and have more control over your style because there’s more room to play with.

Fine Hair

You know your hair better than anyone, but if heat makes it shrivel up and die, you need to go with a lower temperature hair straightener. Fine hair doesn’t mean you have very little of it, it just means each strand is thin. Plenty of people have fine hair but lots of it which can cause its own styling problems.

This hair type needs an iron that’s flexible and can heat up to 350 degrees or less (sometimes much less). Too hot an iron can mean it’s time for a haircut when your ends look like you took a match to them. Plus, the smell of burnt hair isn’t exactly pleasant!

Another way to handle it is to get an iron with a digital readout so you can tell exactly what temperature it reaches. Control is everything when you’re trying to avoid frying your locks.

Beyond that, you need to make sure you get a straightener that heats consistently, but for different reasons than other hair types. For coarse hair, hot spots mean its way harder to get your hair straight because you are only getting the right heat in very small areas. In the case of thin hair, hot spots mean you could be frying areas of your hair.

Coarse And Natural Hair

coarse hair straightenedIf the strands of your hair are thick no matter how much or little you have of it, you will need a good iron that gets hot enough to handle your mane. That doesn’t mean you will have to go over and over to get the pieces straight, but it does mean you need the heat at least one time to get a handle on those strands. Most irons will heat between 410 and 460 degrees at their hottest, which should be enough for just about any hair type.

When you’re picking a straightener for coarse hair, you want to go with something that has a consistent material and not something that is coated and will flake over time. In which case, you either want titanium because the surface will always be smooth or something entirely ceramic. The ceramic can be coated with tourmaline, silicon or one of the many other different materials used to cover plates that offer consistent heat.

Hot Spots Are What?

Hair straighteners with ceramic-coated designs wear down every time you use them. That means that there is more covering on different areas of the plate, and some areas will get hotter than others. For people with coarse hair, you will only get the heat you need in certain spots, which means you will have to take several passes to get the style you want. Other irons that aren’t coated avoid this and straighten in a single pass.

Damaged Hair

If your hair has been through a lot, you need to get an iron that is very gentle on your hair. You probably don’t want to use much heat at all, and you should try your best not to hold the iron in place for too long. For damaged hair however, you really should invest in a good trim because there is no other way to fix it. Your hair may end up shorter than you want, but it will grow back faster if it’s in good condition. Your stylist can also recommend conditioning products to help keep your hair healthy when you put heat on it.

What’s Your Type?

Make sure you’re doing your hair a favor when straightening it, and put the right kind of heat on it. If you aren’t nice to your locks they will ditch you, and it can take a long time to coerce them back. If you’re going to put extreme heat on your hair, you have to do the rest of the work with regular trims whilst making sure you are using the right products. Be nice to your hair, and you’ll be good to go.