Flat Iron Maintenance

These simple tips will help prolong the life of your professional flat iron and keep those bad hair days at bay! 

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat IronHundreds of best-selling, top-rated flat irons, hair straighteners, and styling irons are sold every day, and if you own a flat iron, you know you would be lost without it. If you have that much trust in your hair straightener, shouldn’t you take care of it? A well-loved flat iron equals a happy hairstyle in my book. (Pictured: BaByliss Nano-Titanium Flat Iron)

A Few Minutes a Day
Taking a few extra minutes to care for your flat iron (or curling iron) after each use will not only help prolong its life, it will also ensure it is clean and ready for use the next time you need it. Some extra care goes a long way with a flat iron, and it’s easier than you think. Plus, if you’ve ever had a flat iron die on you, you know all about the bad hair days you must suffer until the new one arrives, so proper care is the way to go.

Caution, it’s HOT
Remember to always use extreme caution when handling your hot flat iron, and keep in mind that the plates of the iron will remain very hot for a short period after you turn it off. You should always wait for the flat iron (or any hair appliance) to completely cool down before cleaning or storing it, and you should always unplug it immediately after use.

 HAI Heatproof Bag/Mat ComboSafety First

 While your flat iron is cooling down, I suggest placing in on a heatproof mat to protect it and your counter tops. Many of the flat iron manufacturers sell heatproof mats along with their irons, and it’s a good idea to get one. I’ve seen them in silicone and in a variety of other heat resistant materials, any of which are fine for resting your hot appliance on while using or during the cooling down period. (Pictured: StyleBell Heatproof Bag/Mat Combo)

Gentle Care, Better Hair
The flat iron plates should be cleaned with a soft cloth and a professional iron cleaner specifically formulated for use flat irons and other heat styling appliances. You should never use any harsh or abrasive cleaners that will damage or scratch the surface of the plates, or reduce the iron’s ability to glide through the hair easily. Make sure to never spray iron cleaner on a hot iron, this could potentially damage the plates of the iron. Always make sure you use iron cleaner on a cool iron to protect your iron from possible damage. I recommend cleaning your flat iron after every use to keep your plates in tip-top shape, and maintain its peak performance. Remember “gummy residue”. Enough said.

Loose Handles?
With regular use, sometimes the handles of the iron may become loose. If this occurs, you can step away like I do, or try to fix it by removing the hinge cover and tightening the nut. Always make sure the iron is unplugged and completely cool before attempting to tighten a loose nut. Remember to replace the hinge cover securely when you are done. If you are unsure, mechanically challenged, or don’t like the idea of taking your favorite appliance apart, please seek professional help! A stylist, a professional salon worker, repair man, or electrical appliance guru should be called in immediately.

Proper Storage Please!
When storing your flat iron, you should never, ever, never wrap the power cord around it. Did I say NEVER? I really cannot stress this point enough. Wrapping the electrical cord around the flat iron causes damage and stress to the connection points and will lead to damage of both the iron and the cord. I wish I could tell you how many people complain that their flat iron broke after 3 months due to cord damage. When storing your flat iron, bundle the cord loosely and lay the cord next to the iron. This will prolong the life of your flat iron, guaranteed.

It’s Worth Repeating
A flat iron will take several minutes to cool down completely after use. To avoid burning your counter top or vanity, you really should invest in a heat resistant mat or heatproof bag specifically designed to cover the flat iron’s plates. A heatproof mat protects your counter surfaces while the iron is cooling down, and also keeps your flat iron plates clean and protected from damage during storage and travel. A mat is a great resting place, but for travel and storage, if you can get a heatproof bag, it would be a better investment in the long run.

Hot Tools Professional Iron CleanerPrevent Damage
 Keep in mind that any styling products used on your hair will cause build up on your flat iron plates over time. This leads to excess stickiness on the plate surface, and results in poor styling results. The gummy residue on the plates can also cause damaging stress to your hair by pulling and snagging the strands, causing split ends and breakage. Flat irons are meant to glide through your hair smoothly, so it’s very important to make sure your iron is clean before each and every use. Gummy residue? Split ends? Damage? You should be running to pick up some professional iron cleaner before you even finish this article. (Pictured: Hot Tools Professional Iron Cleaner)

Taking care of your flat iron not only prolongs its life, it also ensures better performance and smoother slip through your hair as you style. Plus, exercising caution with any heat appliance is always recommended, safety first!

 

And of course, if you’re in the market for a new flat iron, our Best Flat Irons section features the most-wanted irons around!

Babyliss: Why Porcelain Ceramic?

Babyliss Pro Porcelain Carrera 2 Hair DryerSure we know all about the benefits of Ceramic Technology, but why Porcelain Ceramic? Hey Babyliss, what’s the deal?

The Babyliss PRO Porcelain Ceramic Collection of appliances offers and advanced form of commercial grade Porcelain Ceramic integrated into the heating surfaces of their irons and dryers. 

Babyliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic Curling IronAccording to BaByliss, Porcelain Ceramic generates far-infrared heat, which is less damaging than conventional heating processes. Porcelain Ceramic’s superior heat distribution eliminates hot spots on plates and air outlet surfaces while negative ions reduce static electricity and assist in breaking apart water molecules, decreasing drying time. 

Babyliss Pro Porcelain Turbo Hair DryerPorcelain Ceramic, with its improved heat distribution and increased far-infrared heat and ion production, outperforms standard Ceramic. Porcelain Ceramic technology leaves hair healthy, revitalized, and shiny.

Better heat distribution and increased ionic activity? Sign me up for that!
To see more great appliances visit our BaByliss section for the entire selection of curling irons, hair dryers, hairsetters, you name it.

-StraightBelle

A Curling Iron That’s COOL…

Question:
I need to find a good curling iron, can you recommend one?  – Vivian via email

Bed Head Tourmaline Nano-Ceramic Curling IronAnswer:
Right now I’m loving the Tourmaline Nano-Ceramic curling irons from Bed Head, they are some of the best curling irons I’ve seen, and I’ve seen plenty! The Bed Head curling irons have Tourmaline technology that generates about a bazillion negative ions, combined with Nano-Ceramic barrels to smooth your hair with gentle, far-infrared heat while they create curls. This translates into faster styling and longer lasting frizz-free curls without damage. I’m all over that.

I also am a huge fan of the fiber optic heat indicators. They’re not just cool to look at, they’re smart too. They change colors when you change heat settings, this way, you always know when you’re using high heat vs. low heat – what a great perk to keep you from frying your hair. (Don’t forget to use a heat protectant!)

If you aren’t sold already, this will get you: These irons have a three year limited warranty from the manufacturer. Most warranties are only one year, tops, and a one year warranty is great considering that it’s a heat appliance and you use it constantly! Some appliances don’t even have a warranty. Any manufacturer that offers a warranty that long is pretty darn sure the appliance will provide consistent results for an extended length of time.

State of the art technology for long-lasting frizz-free curls, fiber optic indicators and a kickin’ warranty? You really can’t ask for more in my book.

Swing by our Bed Head section to see the entire product line, it’s awesome. Thanks for asking!

-CurlyBelle

Top Rated Best Selling Flat Irons of 2007

Here they are, StyleBell’s best selling, top rated, must-have hair straighteners of the year and why we like them! You’ll notice a few newbies on the list this year, as well as some past favorites.  

ghd MK3 Ceramic Flat IronGHD 1″ Ceramic Hair Straightener MK3 
Alias: The International Fave
Already a best-seller in the UK and Australia, the GHD MK3 flat iron has a large, loyal fan base here in the US. Even heat conduction allows for quicker heating time than a conventional flat iron, and the long lasting temperature leads to optimal, snag-free hair straightening in minutes. Just brilliant!  

Plus: GHD has expertly formulated a line of hair care and thermal protectors to accompany your heat styling endeavors for maximum hair happiness. Check out the Obedience Cream, it’s truly a must-have.

Insider Info: This iron delivers snag-free results, more than most irons I’ve seen. Great for every hair style and hair type. A little pricier than other irons, but the results are worth it. 

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat IronBaByliss Pro Nano-Titanium 1-1/4″ Flat Iron
Alias: The Mac Daddy of Techno
Love to take control? With the Babyliss Nano Titanium Digital flat iron, you get the superior heat conductivity coupled with the smoothest surface available in a styling tool – Titanium. No more overheating, over-drying, over-damaging your hair. Titanium rocks. Plus the super smooth snag-free surface straightens hair up to 40% faster, what’s not to love? 

Bonus: The Babyliss Pro Nano-Titanium flat iron looks as great as it performs! I love its major counter appeal and never want to put it away. It looks great on any vanity (on top of a heatproof mat, of course!) Gotta love an appliance that has style.  

Insider Info: This iron is chock full of amazing technology for the price, and includes a killer 4 year warranty. It goes toe to toe with those pricey irons, and kicks some of them to the curb. It’s newbie on my list, but the impressive results are sure to convince you.

HAI Convertable Ceramic Flat IronHAI Convertable 1-1/4″Ceramic Flat Iron 
Alias: The Multi-tasker
The HAI Convertable’s ceramic plates are unmatched for equal heat distribution and the ergonomic design makes it is easier to press, hold, mold, twirl and curl your hair. Talk about multi-tasking! People seriously love this iron, and you will too. The HAI Convertable is another one of my all time favorite straighteners. 

Plus: The HAI is just right for smoothing your hair, and for creating loose waves, perfect for those of you who like to mix it up! 

Insider Info: This is the flat iron they use at my salon, and everyone agrees, it’s awesome!

Maxiglide Flat IronMaxiglide
Alias: The Cult Favorite
Soft, shiny, straight and snag free! That’s what I keep hearing from Maxiglide users. Unique steamburst technology and ceramic detangling pins make this iron unlike all the others – in a good way. Not only does this iron get consistently high reviews on beauty sites, Maxiglide customers are very passionate about this straightener; they keep raving about it again and again. There is a reason it’s a best seller. Need I say more?  

Plus: The Maxiglide also has a slimmer, smaller version – the Miniglide. It’s the perfect traveling companion for touch ups on the go. 

Insider Info: Comb through your hair first and style small sections of hair at a time. Less potential for snagging, especially if you have very thick, textured hair. Definitely use the steam on the ends. Definitely. The Beyond Straight is awesome with the Maxiglide – I’m talking super straight. 

ghd MK4 Ceramic Flat IronGHD Ceramic Hair Styler and Hair Straightener, Flat Iron MK4
Also known as: The Innovator
With tons of media buzz, the newest arrival of the GHD family does not disappoint! Being one of the lucky few to get a sneak peek, last year, I am still in love with this iron a year later. Incorporating state-of-the-art styling technology, this heat styler curls as easily as it straightens, giving you the ultimate in versatility. Plus it auto adjust for international voltages, has a stronger cable, and a new sleep mode which turns itself off after 15 minutes. That’s one smart styler! 

Plus: Just to make sure you’ve got the styling ‘know-how’, there’s a step-by-step DVD included in the box. Watch out competition, there’s a new player in town, the GHD MK4 has arrived. 

Insider Info: This is one of the most innovative irons on the market, hands down. The technology is tops and you just cannot match the smooth glides of this iron. Pricey and totally worth every penny, it’s my favorite on the list this year.

CHI Original Ceramic Flat IronChi Original Ceramic 1″ Flat Iron
Alias: The Original
Great hairstyles are simple with the right tool; CHI proves that time and time again. With an extensive product line and many different irons to choose from, I have to agree with their loyal customers, you can’t go wrong with CHI, but the original model is always a customer favorite, and surely to be one of yours! Well known in the industry for continually creating new limited edition irons in trendy colors, CHI is great for you fashionistas out there.
 

Bonus: CHI has a killer line of hair care to keep your hair smooth with pure silk!  

Insider Info: Tons of street cred, everyone’s heard of CHI. The CHI Original narrowly beat the CHI Turbo this year, mainly due to pure customer popularity, but I personally like the Turbo a little better for my hair. Also note, some CHI Original followers have been spotted recently upgrading to other brands due to the increase in technological advancements in the past year, I’ll keep you posted. 

FHI Platform Tourmaline Flat IronFHI Platform Ceramic Tourmaline Professional 1-3/4″ Flat Iron
Middle name: Big Daddy
If you have long, thick, coarse or unruly hair, the FHI Heat Platform Professional 1-3/4” Ceramic Tourmaline ionic flat iron is your one way ticket to smooth. FHI’s Ceramic Nano-Fuzeion Technology combines Titanium, Titanium Oxide and Silver to seal in hair’s moisture and shine, while removing build-up and toxins on the hair. Plus an enormous amount of negative ions neutralize the positive ions found on coarse, dry and damaged hair. If you’ve ever set aside a few hours to straighten your thick, massive mop, you’ll be amazed at how quickly this flat iron tames your tresses.  

Plus: FHI makes an amazing heat protectant – FHI Heat Hot Sauce. It’s moisture-based, and when used with a flat iron it actually penetrates into the core of you hair to reconstruct and deeply condition from the inside out. Talk about protection.  

Insider Info: Another newbie on the list, I find this to be one of the best Tourmaline straighteners out there, and the FHI Platform beat the FHI Classic in my iron to iron showdown this year. I find that some irons with Tourmaline make my hair static-y for some reason (and that’s never a good look) but not FHI Platform. Whew! 

CHI Wet-to-Dry Flat IronCHI Wet to Dry Ceramic Flat Iron Auto-Digital Hair Straightener
Also known as: The Powerhouse
Specially designed for damp hair, the CHI wet-to-dry flat iron utilizes ceramic ionic technology to eliminate frizz while straightening and transforms hair into shiny, super-smooth locks directly out of the shower. State of the art digital technology allows you to set the precise temperature and it even has a timer with automatic shut off. Great for every hair type, the CHI wet-to-dry straightens the fullest, most unruly locks with ease.  

Plus: The CHI works just as well on dry hair, making it perfect for every primping situation. Sometimes I run late you know…  

Insider Info: The CHI Wet-to-Dry iron works best on hair that is 90%-95% dry. Not only is your hair much easier to straighten if it’s drier to start with, there is less potential for damage and frizz. Remember, hair is more vulnerable when it’s wet. Note: The T3 Wet-or-Dry flat iron was a top contender for this spot and missed by just a hair.

Hot Tools Ceramic Titanium Flat IronHot Tools 1″ Ceramic Far-Infrared Heat Flat Iron
Nickname: The Professional
A separate heating system for each heating plate ensures superior styling performance and puts the ‘hot’ in Hot Tools. Professional Soft Heat™ technology produces gentle, far infrared heat for more efficient heating, faster styling, and shinier hair, and the Ceramic and Titanium Technology provides snag-free styling as it glides smoothly down your strands. Any hair appliance that won’t snag or pull an overworked ‘do gets an A+ in my book. Thanks Hot Tools.  

Plus: This iron does a great job of smoothing those strands and adding an unbeatable shine with gentle far-infrared heat. Most irons at this price point just don’t have the technology to compare. 

Insider Info: This flat iron proves you can get great technology at a great price point! This is perfect for those of you who straighten your hair from time to time and want a quality iron without spending the big bucks.  

HAI Twig 3/8HAI Twig Flat Iron 3/8″ Ceramic Styling Iron 
Alias: The Root Smoother
Get up close and personal with those roots and transform even the shortest hair into smooth shiny locks with the HAI Twig. One use and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. The ultra-slim 3/8″ ceramic plates work wonders on bangs and those whisper-y wisps we love so much. For the best results and styling control, you should never use a plate width larger than necessary, and now you don’t have to. Now everyone can have the same results as the pros, Twig makes it so easy!  

Plus: This sleek styler features the same rapid heating element and adjustable temperature settings as the larger HAI models, making it a great choice for anyone looking to style extremely short sections in seconds.  

Insider Info: Perfect for pixies, roots, tendrils… and guys! Yes men love this one for super short hair that’s seeking some sleeking. This iron has the slimmest, teeniest plates ever but works like a smoothing fiend to get those roots straight. It’s a great second iron for those of you who need that slimmer design for styling.

FHI Technique Professinal Pink Flat IronFHI Technique Professional Pink 1″ Hair Straightener 
Middle Name: Versatility
One flat iron, with all the styling capabilities you will ever need. You can straighten, flip, and even curl your hair in seconds with this baby in our favorite shade, PINK. The Ceramic Tourmaline technology generates negative ions to help neutralize positive ions found on damaged hair, allowing the hair to lay flatter and smoother. This means shinier and healthier hair is yours with FHI, and who doesn’t love pink?  

Plus: Smooth and sleek or sexy curls, change your style as often as a celeb with this FHI Pink flat iron. And you thought flat irons were just for straight styles!  

Insider Info: It curls and straightens with ease, it’s got Ceramic and Tourmaline technology and it’s pink. What more could you ask for? 

As you can see, there are plenty of great irons that are perfect for your individual hair type and styling needs. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to use a heat protectant. All of these Ceramic, ionic styling tools get super hot and can cause dryness or damage if you aren’t careful. Using a thermal protectant on your hair before styling should always be your first priority. It will keep your hair healthy and shiny and it will enhance the styling potential of any iron you choose.

The Scoop on Curling Flat Irons

Question:
I’m shopping for a flat iron that will straighten my hair all the time but be used to create curls sometimes. What’s your favorite flat iron for creating curls or are they all the same?
– Sue via email

Answer:
FHI Platform Tourmaline Flat IronThe good news now is that most flat irons on the market today have a curved edge design so they can create curls as well as straight styles with almost all of them. If you like how well the flat iron performs on your hair when you straighten, most likely it will create nice curls for you as well. Finding the best iron for your hair type and texture is the most important step.

Once you have found a flat iron that straightens well for you, depending on your natural hair type, length and texture, how well your hair takes and holds the curl usually just takes a little more practice and a little more product.

To learn how to create curls with a flat iron, I’d suggest a little light reading to help you get started. We can show you how to achieve that carefree curly look. It just takes a little practice, patience, and the right tools – check out our step-by-step instructions here: Flat Irons Really Do Create Curls!

I would definitely suggest using a little curl cream first to help coax your hair into creating the curls, and then use the tiniest bit of texturizing product after you’ve finishes to help lock those curls in place. No one wants droopy flat curls – they should be outlawed. Curls should always be bouncy and have lots of movement, and they can, thanks to all of the curl friendly products out there!

As for my personal favorites, I like the FHI Platform (pictured above), the CHI Turbo, and the GHD MK4 for creating curls on my hair type – thick and straight with a tiny bit of texture. Both of these irons seem to grab my hair very well when I style. I will also say these irons work extremely well for me when I straighten my hair, so I know I’ve found the right irons for my hair type and texture.

You might want to check out our Curling Flat Irons section to help find the tool that works for you.

-StraightBelle

Can I use a Maxiglide on ethnic or relaxed hair?

Question:

“I am African American with thick, relaxed hair. Can the Maxiglide straighten my ethnic hair type? Will the ‘steam’ frizz this type of hair?”
Tammie via email

Maxiglide Flat IronAnswer:
You can definitely use the Maxiglide Flat Iron on ethnic or relaxed hair. I recommend using it on dry hair along with a thermal protectant to lightly coat your hair before you start styling. The thermal protectant along with the ceramic iron will close the cuticle therefore helping hair stay soft and straight and not frizz in humid temperatures. Plus, if your hair is already delicate, you want it as protected as possible.
To use the Maxiglide if your hair is especially frizzy, dry, brittle or stubborn hair, first, without applying a lot of pressure, barely close the iron and quickly go over the frizzy, brittle part of the hair which is usually the last 3-7 inches before the ends, with 1 or 2 bursts of steam. (This will soften the hair, much like you would iron out a tough wrinkle in a shirt). Then go over the entire section from the roots to the ends WITHOUT THE STEAM.

Please note I do not recommend the use of any heat styling appliance on very, very damaged, fragile hair, and I would always use a flat iron with a thermal heat protectant, for added protection to my hair.

For more questions and answers about the Maxiglide Flat Iron you should definitely check out this article: Maxiglide, Everything you want to know and more, you’ll love it!

Need some visual aids? The following video willl help you get started and straightened in no time…

-StraightBelle

Going Curl Crazy with Caruso

Caruso SalonPro HairsetterBy far, Caruso is one of the cult-favorites among curl-divas everywhere, for good reason – it works so well. The curls created with the Caruso Hairsetters are so long-lasting, once you try the Caruso you are hooked for a lifetime. With such a great track record and a large base of loyal followers, Caruso knows the secret: Curls love to bounce!

Here’s a quick snapshot on how Caruso creates the longest lasting curls ever:

1. First infuse your Caruso soft foam roller with gentle steamed moisture.

2. Then simply wrap each section of hair around on the infused roller and cover with a shield. Remember to vary the direction of each roller to create a natural, curly look. Keep thinking “curls are carefree, never structured.”

3. The patented roller and shield design creates even moisture penetration and allows airflow for quick evaporation, or speedy results if used with your hair dryer. Either way, as the steam evaporates, it’s transferred to the hair, locking in each curl.

4. Gentle moisture penetrates to the hair’s molecular core allowing it to relax and bend. Curls love to bend.

5. As moisture evaporates, hair is “set” in curled position. And I mean SET. Like, all day set.

Did you know?
The molecular hold is so strong, it can only be released by shampooing. Because there is no damaging heat, you can use the Caruso Professional system as often as you like. Simple, gentle steam works like magic creating the frizz free, soft curls everyone wants.

And talk about curls! With the Caruso the curls you can create are soft and bouncy and keep their shape (and bounce) all day long. The curls also last well into the next day if you are one of those every-other-day type of stylers.

-StraightBelle

The 411 on CHI Technology

Just a guess, but maybe you’ve heard of CHI? Of course you have! As one of the best-selling brands of hair appliances (and hair care!) we’ve decided to find out the scoop on why CHI is such a great brand, and we love what we found out. CHI really is different than other brands out there because of their innovative ideas and breakthrough technology. Interested? Read on…

CHI What is CHI Technology?
The unique thing that makes CHI stand out as a brand with a huge competitive edge is the technology. Farouk Systems believes that through innovation they can offer the hairdresser and home stylist truly unique products that out perform anything else on the market. 

What are the Benefits of CHI Technology?
Ceramic Heat
CHI Turbo Flat IronCHI Hair Straightening Flat Irons use moist ceramic, ionic, far infrared heat with ceramic plates and coils to maintain an even temperature all the time, eliminating hot spots that can cause damage and breakage to the delicate hair strands. This ceramic technology in CHI irons also produces negative ions to seals the cuticle, repel humidity and lock in hair color while smoothing and straightening. Shown: Chi Turbo Ceramic 1″ Flat Iron.

CHI Wet-to-DryFlat irons made with traditional copper coils can cause damage by pulling and snagging the hair strands and drying the hair because there is no ionic technology to protect the hair from the excessively high temperature of the hair straightener.

CHI Pink Dazzle Flat IronNegative Ionic Activity
Did you know that your hair carries a positive electrical charge caused by dryness? Over time, this positive charge increases, and as your hair becomes drier, more hair cuticles open, creating unhealthy hair that is hard to style. The negative ions created by CHI appliances cancel these positive hair charges, while smoothing down the hair cuticle. Smoothing the hair cuticle seals in your hair’s natural oils and moisture resulting in healthier, shinier hair. Shown: CHI Pink 1″ Flat Iron.

CHI Turbo Hair DryerFar Infrared Technology
Far Infrared is the longest frequency of the infrared spectrum; it is invisible to human eyes. Far infrared frequency can penetrate up to 1 ½ inches (4 cm) inside of the skin as well as inside of the hair. Far infrared dries the hair from the inside out due to its ionic charge by penetrating deeper. Far infrared heats up objects like your hair, and hair brush not just the air, to dry your hair faster. The recent studies have also shown that it can increase the blood circulation and metabolism. It can also help to maintain our general health. Shown: CHI Turbo Hair Dryer. See more CHI Hair Dryers.

Far infrared heat is produced in all CHI products and tools giving the user amazing performance with every product. CHI products and tools penetrate deeper into the hair and the results speak for themselves.

Want to see more? We’ve got the whole she-bang…CHI Turbo, CHI Nano Digital, CHI Original and more! We also have CHI Hair Care, talk about a selection. Want to see it all? Visit our section dedicated to everything CHI, you’ll love it.

-StraightBelle