Top Tips for Flat Iron Lovers

Start with a better blowout
The proper blowout with your hair dryer before you use a straightener will improve your flat iron’s performance and shorten styling time because there will be less contact with the hot plates. Look for a ceramic, ionic hair dryer to help you smooth your strands before you straighten. Read The Perfect Blowout for tips.

Beyond Straight Temporary StraightenerSafety First
Use a heat protectant! I say it all day long. There are tons of great products on the market today that are heat activated and created specifically to work along with the excessive high iron temperatures to protect your hair while styling. You can avoid a lot of unnecessary damage with a heat protectant. Think of a heat protectant as your flat iron’s Best Friend. Left: Beyond Straight Temporary Straightener.

Go for Quality
Use a quality flat iron. Notice I didn’t say expensive? I said quality. Look for a flat iron with some form of technology dedicated to keeping your hair damage-free while you straighten and smooth.
There are so FHI Heat Professional Flat Ironmany advancements now, that it’s almost hard to find a bad flat iron! Which is great, right? Look for the terms Ceramic, Ionic, Tourmaline, Nano-Silver, Titanium – they are ALL good, in any combination. They all have different technologies and selling points, but all are dedicated to keeping your hair in good condition because they eliminate multiple passes down each hair strand. One-step straightening is what you want. Shown: FHI Heat Ceramic Flat Iron.

How LOW can you Go?
Use a Lower Temperature: Find the lowest possible temperature for your specific hair type, no need to crank your iron up to 400+ degrees if your hair will get smooth at 350 degrees. Yep, that makes sense. With temperature, less is really more in terms of healthy hair. It’s the main reason there are so many irons out there with fixed temperatures – they keep the iron from getting too hot. If you think hey, if 400 degrees is good, 475 degrees must be better – step away from the flat iron and think – even cookies bake at 375 degrees.

CHI 3/4Smaller is Better…
For you shorties, use the smallest plate width for your hair type/length: Less full contact with the plates is always better. Let’s face it, your flat iron is HOT and your hair strands are delicate. There really is no need to pick a 2″ width if you can get away with a 1″ (or smaller) instead. 
Plus, if your hair is shorter, a 2″ plate width is harder to style with and maneuver.
You never want to struggle with a flat iron, you really want the ultimate control with a hot appliance. Learn it. Live it. Shown: CHI 3/4″ Volume Flat Iron.

Wider is Better…
For you long haired ladies, be honest, if your hair is long and thick, just go for the 1-3/4″ or straight for HAI 2 2-1/4the 2″ flat iron. Don’t be concerned that it might be slightly more expensive. You’ll save time straightening with a wider iron and you’ll cause less damage. Too many times over the same section of hair wreaks havoc and causes breakage and let’s face it, if you have a lot of hair, that’s not a great look. Capice? Shown: HAI 2 2-1/4″ Flat Iron.

Of course, if you’re in the market for a new flat iron, our Best Flat Irons section features the most-wanted irons around, and aways, always, always use a heat protectant! You’ll thank me later.
-CurlyBelle

Creating Curls with a HAI Elite Rod

Question:
How do I create curls with the Hai Elite Rod?
“I just bought the Hai Elite Rod and want to create some curls, but there is no instruction booklet. Can you help?” – Kimberly
 
Answer:
SURE!
Here are some instructions on using the HAI elite Rod, I hope you find them helpful.

HAI elite Rod The HAI elite Rod makes it really easy to create curls. With other curling appliances and irons you roll the iron up around the section of your hair towards your hair horizontally. With the HAI elite Rod’s unique design you can now create longer lasting curls by wrapping each section of hair around the Rod by holding the appliance vertically.

To create curls with the HAI elite Rod, simply take a small section of your hair (1″ wide or less) and wrap the length of hair around the rod, do not let go of the end of your hair, and hold for 5 seconds. Then release the hair.

A smaller section of hair will create tighter curls.

A larger section of hair will create loose curls and waves.

For a more natural look try alternating the way you wrap your curls. Wrap one section over and around the Rod. Wrap the next section under and then around the Rod. This will give the free-flowing casual appearance natural curls have, by creating curls in a variety of directions.

You may also vary the sizes of the sections you style, some thick and some thinner to create curls of various sizes.

Enjoy your curly look!

-CurlyBelle

What’s a Nano Titanium Flat Iron?

Question:
What’s Nano Titanium? Should my flat iron have this? I want an iron that won’t damage my hair and my friend told me to get a ceramic one. Is this better?
– Chris via phone

Answer:
With so much tech-talk about flat irons, you could really go crazy! Here at StyleBell we try to make sure that we find out what technology each appliance has and, more importantly, what this technology does to your hair so we can share it with you. Nano Titanium is a state-of-the-art material used in some of the flat irons and hair dryers we carry from BaByliss, so here’s the scoop:

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat IronFlat irons, hair dryers and other heat appliances conduct large amounts of heat to help smooth your hair strands and according to BaByliss, Nano Titanium is an exceptional conductor of this heat, even better than ceramic. This innovative material maintains stability in ultra-high temperatures and emits negative ions known to smooth the positive ions in your hair. This is the same smoothing process as a ceramic or tourmaline flat (or curling) iron, but it uses a different material that happens to retain the much longer.

Whether you are using a flat iron or hair dryer, utilizing these negative ions in this beneficial way creates a faster way of straightening and drying the hair. It also helps keep the hair in good condition by locking in the hair’s own natural moisture. Read “no damage”. Anytime you can keep the natural moisture in you hair, it’s a good thing. It keeps your hair shiny and in better condition.

Nano Titanium is also an exceptionally smooth surface for flat irons and curling irons so they will glide down your hair without pulling, tugging or breaking your delicate hair (I love that). The BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Straightener yields the maximum amount of far-infrared heat that  penetrates the hair from the inside out to straighten gently, without causing damage (I love that too).

Not only is Nano Titanium is a great new material for flat irons, curling irons, hair dryers, you’ll be impressed with the results you see after one use. The latest technological advances always catch my eye and I expect to be seeing a lot more products with this innovative material in the future. It really is one of the superior materials in hair appliances I’ve seen.

To see more Nano Titanium products visit our BaByliss section.
-CurlyBelle

My hair, my iron or too much product?

Question:
I use chi silk infusion with my chi nano flat iron and I noticed that my hair looks oily at the roots, am I using too much or should I switch products? My sister told me chi silk infusion works for her and gets her hair smooth, so I hoped it would work just as good for me. My hair isn’t oily all the time. Can you help?

– Victoria via email

CHI Silk InfusionAnswer:
Most people go a little too heavy in the product department so at first I would make sure that you aren’t using too much. With a product like CHI Silk Infusion, a little goes a long way, and if your hair has enough of its own natural moisture (read “it isn’t dry”) you don’t need much product for it to be effective.

Everyone’s hair has natural oils in it and these oils are usually more abundant and more noticeable at the roots where your hair grows. I would go very lightly with the product on the root are and concentrate more on the ends of the hair, where it is more susceptible to drying and damage, and needs the most protection from the heat.

When you straighten, your flat iron will use ions to smooth your hair and seal in its natural moisture and shine. This will also bring out more natural oils and can also be contributing to a more oily look.

If you still notice an oily look using less product, you might want to switch to another shampoo and conditioner to address the problem, but if your hair isn’t always oily, this sounds to me like ‘product overload’. The look you want is smooth and silky, never oily or greasy.

You should also take a glance at the tip below, a little cornstarch will help fix your style if you have too much natural oil or too much product on your hair. It’s especially good near the roots, which is great for your concern. Thanks!

-StraightBelle

CHI Wet-to-Dry Flat Iron Tips

Getting started with a CHI Auto-Digital Wet-to-Dry Flat Iron: 

CHI Wet-to-Dry Flat IronPlug the CHI Auto Digital Ceramic Flat Iron into the correct power supply.
          Turn the power switch “ON”.
          Turn the power switch to “OFF” position after the usage.

Select the Temperature:
The CHI Auto Digital Ceramic Flat Iron offers complete versatility for temperature setting. The controls allow you to set the temperature and the time. The digital monitor allows you to see the precise temperature for your requirements. You may also set a timer for automatic shut off when you are done with styling.

CHI 44 Iron GuardBefore you Straighten:
Shampoo and Condition the hair with your favorite CHI shampoo and conditioners.
Always make sure that your hair is 90-95% dry and combed through.
Apply your favorite CHI styling products to the hair. We suggest: 
CHI 44 Iron Guard and CHI Silk Infusion.

Using your CHI Auto-Digital Ceramic Flat Iron
Section the hair and start with a section approx. ½ inch (1 cm) in thickness. 
Start from underneath and work your way up.

Thinner sections = more intense, thorough heat
Thicker sections = less heat directed to the section

Continue styling ½ inch sections until entire head is finished.

-StraightBelle

What’s so great about Ionic Technology?

Question:
What’s so great about negative ions? – EVERYONE asks this one!

CHI Original Ceramic 1Answer:
Great question! For this answer we looked at one of the most ionic irons out there: The CHI Original flat iron. According to CHI – they are like the godfather of flat irons, so they know what they’re talking about – negative ions are very important in the hair straightening, or better yet, the hair smoothing process.

Everyone’s hair carries a positive electrical charge that is caused by dryness. Over time, this positive charge increases, and as your hair becomes drier, more hair cuticles open, creating ‘ragged’ unhealthy looking (and feeling) hair that is difficult to style, and let’s be honest, looks like it has seen better days. Enter the flat iron, or even the hair dryer that creates negative ions.

When the flat iron or hair dryer is heated, negative ions are created. The negative ions created by the appliance cancel out the positive hair charges, and while you glide down your hair with the iron, or blow dry, you smooth down those ragged open hair cuticles. That’s why I said hair smoothing instead of hair straightening. If you use your flat iron to create curls it will still smooth down the hair cuticles allowing them to lay flat and frizz free, but still enable it to curl. Nice! Remember, flat irons aren’t just for straightening anymore.

Smoothing down the hair cuticles will seal in your hair’s own natural oils and moisture. This is very important to the health and look of your hair. An increase in natural oil creates healthier, more vibrant looking hair that is also more manageable and full of shine (instead of dry and dull locks). This will also explain why your highlights look brighter when you use your flat iron too.

So in the flat iron world, nothing is more positive than tons of negative (ionic) activity!

-CurlyBelle

Curling Irons – Choosing a Barrel Size

Wow! There are a lot of choices in the world of hair appliances, especially with curling irons. Sometimes it can be really difficult to choose which one is right for you. All you want to do is create some nice, frizz-free curls. Maybe you’re going out? Will your iron create long, loose curls? Maybe you want to use a curling iron every day to flip the ends of your bob…. which curling iron will give you the look you want?
Hot Tools 3/4With plenty of different barrel sizes available, you are certain to get lots and lots of curls, but the barrel width you choose really depends on your hair length and the type of curl you want to create. Based on the information we found, we have created a handy little guide to help you choose the curl creating iron that is best for you:
3/8 inch barrel: Great for short hair. It creates soft, tight curls, bangs and wisps. Think tendrils.
5/8 inch barrel: Creates smooth, tight curls, on medium length hair. Fantastic for flips.
3/4 inch barrel: Great for all hair lengths, produces medium size curls and waves. The universal size, good for anyone.
1 inch barrel: Creates full curls and waves and root lift. Great on most hair types for creating that long, loose celeb look.
1-1/4 inch barrel: Suggested for large, loose curls, waves and root lift. Think of the volume you can get at the roots.
1-1/2 inch barrel: Best for longer hair, large loose curls, waves and root lift. The biggest, baddest curls ever.
2 inch barrel: Perfect for creating the ultimate loose curls and waves on long hair.
Spring curling iron or Marcel curling iron, you will absolutely love the curls and waves you can create with all of the different sizes. Now you just need to pick one….or two!Need help deciding? Visit our Curling Iron section to see the large assortment we have available, in every size you can imagine, or check out our Best Curling Irons section to see our best-sellers. 
Already have a favorite curling iron? This quick video will show you how to create the curls of your dreams!

-CurlyBelle

Creating Curls with a Flat Iron

Why Not Create Some Carefree Curls with Your Flat Iron?
Ok, you’ve heard the myth. You’ve seen other people with beautiful, bouncy curls. They tell you they used a flat iron. Curls with a flat iron? Yes! I’ll show you how anyone can achieve that carefree curly look. It just takes a little practice, patience, and the right tools!

HAI SST Super Silver Tourmaline Hair DryerThe Perfect Blowout
The first step to any great style with a flat iron is a really good blowout. Creating a super smooth canvas of hair before you style will not only allow you to create those sleek straight looks, it’s also essential for creating curls. A great blowout also helps smooth the hair cuticle, providing a perfect base for creating long lasting, frizz-free curls. Need a great hairdryer for your healthy blowout? You cannot go wrong with one of these:

ghd Professional Round Ceramic BrushBeat the Frizz 
If you really want to say goodbye to frizz, use a professional ceramic brush when you blow dry. A super-smooth frizz free style starts with a quality ceramic brush. The ceramic technology smoothes down the hair’s cuticle while you style and makes it easier to straighten or curl your hair afterwards. If you need a great brush to help you with your blowout, try one from GHD. It features a solid polycarbonate handle and barrel and the first ever with a natural ionic powder coating. This allows the brush to retain the heat from your hair dryer, helping you to dry and style from both sides for quick results and long lasting hold. Especially if you are creating curls – long-lasting is what you’re looking for: GHD Professional Ceramic Round Anti-Static Brush.  

Section, Section, Section
To begin, you should section off your hair into manageable pieces. I find that 1 inch usually works best for everyone. The sections you create should be easy to work with, and small enough to fit into the flat iron you are using. If you are using a flat iron with a 1 inch plate width, section your hair into a 1/2 inch – 1 inch sections. This will ensure you don’t take a section to large to get the job done. As you are more comfortable creating curls, you’ll be able to determine which size sections are right for you. But the million dollar question is: Which flat iron should you use?

HAI elite Digistik Ceramic Tourmaline StraightenerA Flat Iron that Curls??
Hmmm, let’s face it, when you think of flat iron, you don’t normally think of curls. But it’s time to change your mind! Today’s flat irons are so versatile; they are perfect for creating a variety of styles, in addition to straightening. When choosing a flat iron, it’s best to determine your styling needs, and if curls are on your list of styling necessities, you need to find an iron with curved edges.
It is essential that your flat iron’s plates aren’t, well, flat. The curved edges will allow you to coax your hair into those curls you crave. You might be surprised at how many flat irons perform double duty and help create curly styles as well as straighten. Check out these faves:

If you’d like to see more, visit our Curling Flat Irons section.

Biolage Smoothing SerumHealthy Protection
Now that you have a flat iron with curved edges, you’re ready to create your first curl. Before you start styling, it’s a great idea to coat your hair with a thermal protectant to protect your hair from the high temperature of the iron, and to also add volume and shine. Protecting your hair from excessive heat is not only important, it will also add structure and support to the curls you create. We say it over and over again, a heat protectant is a must. Check out these thermal barriers that love to eliminate damage and frizz:
GHD Obedience Cream, BioSilk Smoothing Balm, Bain de Terre Shine Serum Anti-Frizz Recovery Complex, Bolage Smoothing Serum (left), Joico K-PAK Styling Creme Elixir Want more choices? Visit our thermal protectant section, or read our Top 5 Most Popular Heat Protectants, to find out more.

Ready, Set, Curl!
Beginning with the first section of hair about 1″ wide, and holding it at the ends, place the iron vertically over the piece. Gently closing the plates and lightly gripping the hair make sure to rotate the iron slowly as you glide the iron down toward the ends. If you want bigger curls, take larger sections of hair, and use the same rotating motion. This is why it’s so important to use an iron with a rounded barrel and plate design to create the perfect curl. If your iron doesn’t have rounded plates it will create unnatural dents in you hair. The rounded plates are what give you the smooth, flowing curls. Unnatural dents? No thanks!

Oops, That’s Not a Curl
If you don’t get the curl right on the first try, don’t worry! Just let the section you were working on cool down for a few minutes before you try it again, and move on to the next section while you are waiting. It takes a little while to get the hang of creating curls with a flat iron, but with a little practice you will achieve those perfect, bouncy, glamorous curls. Patience…Virtue….Get it?

Curl Number Two
For the next section of hair, repeat the same rotating motion as before but this time rotate the iron in the opposite direction to get a more natural look. Alternating the way you rotate the iron as you style around your head gives you the natural carefree appearance curls usually have. The back of the head is the hardest, but don’t worry if you have trouble here and cannot reach your roots, just try get as close to the roots as possible. Continue this process, moving throughout each section of your hair, remembering to alternate rotations, until you have completed curling all of your hair. Remember that each section should have a light coating of your heat protectant first to provide a good barrier from the heat and protect from unnecessary damage.

The Bouncier the Better!
To create curls with extra bounce, don’t start too close to your roots, this creates too much volume near the top of your head and the curls won’t be soft and bouncy. Instead, place your iron in at the root and glide the iron gently down the first one to two inches of hair before you start rotating the iron. Starting the rotation further down the section will create the nice bouncy look you want.

Davines Love Curl Enhancing SerumExtra Texture
Now that you’ve created a whole head of curls, make sure they have staying power. To finish your look, place a little curl cream on your fingertips and work through your hair to give each curl maximum hold, definition and shine. The separation of each curl will give your style added depth, dimension and movement. A lightweight curl cream is best, you don’t want to weigh those curls down after you’ve spent all your time creating them!
Might I suggest some of the curl-coaxers I like best: Davines Love Curl Enhancing Serum (pictured), Bumble and bumble Curl Crème Curl Conscious Wavy Woman, L’anza Polyester Art Elements, CHI Pliable Polish Weightless Styling Paste.

See, that’s all there is to it – perfect, bouncy curls with a flat iron! Give it a try, it’s easier than you think! If you still need some extra pointers, this video will get you curling in no time….

-CurlyBelle