Hair Skin Care Heat Styling

Heat styling tools, such as blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons and even crimpers, are commonly used in everyday hair styling. With all of the choices involved in choosing the right heat styling tools, many people can be left confused.

Often, people must weigh the benefits of a heat-styling tool against its costs, which can vary greatly depending on features, characteristics and brand name of the specific tool. Blow dryers, for instance, can range from costing as little as $10 to being hundreds of dollars. The same is true of other heat styling tools.

Blow Dryers

Blow dryers can come with a wide variety of features and accessories. Some blow dryers get extra hot, some feature cold air settings and some even feature an ionic air stream that helps keep hair moist, making it dry more quickly.

Blow dryers can also come with a number of attachments that help you target smaller areas of hair or diffusers that allow curly-haired users to dry their hair with a lighter airflow.

Depending on your particular needs and your budget, there are plenty of options. Those worried about the health of their hair may want to opt for blow dryers that have different heat settings and air stream strengths to avoid over-heating their hair.

People wanting to target small areas of hair (such as bangs) or those wanting to use a blow dryer to maintain curls may want to opt for blow dryers with attachable accessories.

If you’re unsure of what type of blow dryer to buy, most people will recommend choosing a middle-of-the-line blow dryer in a brand name that’s recognizable. Many prominent brands will offer warranties that will ensure you don’t get stuck with a blow dryer that stops working after a week. Another great way to choose a blow dryer is to pay attention to the blow dryer used by your stylist: ask him or her where she got it and whether he or she recommends it.

Other fun features to look for in blow dryers include:

  • dryers that come with brushes or combs that attach to the unit itself
  • mini travel-size blow dryers to take on trips or to the gym
  • retractable cords for easy storage.

Curling Irons

Curling irons, like blow dryers, come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and types. Most often, curling irons will either be ceramic or metal. While ceramic curling irons are typically more expensive than metal curling irons, they will generally do far less damage to the hair. Other differences between various types of curling irons include:

  • Barrel Width: Curling irons also come in a variety of barrel widths. To create wider, flowing curls or waves, use a curling iron with a wide barrel. You can also curl more hair at a time using wide barrels, so this is a good choice for those looking to cut time off of their hair styling process.

    For smaller curls or ringlets, use a smaller, thinner barrel. However, because smaller barreled-curling irons can’t curl as much hair at once, keep in mind that you will need to be more patient and have more time to use this hair styling product.

  • Heat Settings: Some curling irons come with only one heat setting, while others may allow you to specify temperature or choose from a variety of heat settings. Generally, it is better to choose a curling iron that allows you to adjust heat.

Like hair dryers, curling irons can vary greatly in price. They can start under $10 and skyrocket up into hundreds of dollars, depending on the features it has and the manufacturer. If you are planning on buying multiple curling irons, you may be able to save money by buying them together in a set rather than individually.

Other fun features to look for in curling irons include:

  • automatic shut-off to prevent accidents
  • cordless curling irons that run on batteries
  • heat light to help avoid burns
  • round brush curling irons (these provide looser curls and contain heat settings within an actual brush)
  • safety grip and safety tip to prevent accidental burns.

Flat Irons

Flat irons, like curling irons, come in a variety of widths and types and are generally either ceramic or metal. Also like curling irons, ceramic straightening irons damage the hair far less but tend to be more expensive.

Wider flat irons allow more hair to be straightened at once, while thinner flat irons require concentration on smaller areas. Smaller irons are usually best suited for smaller areas of hair, such as bangs and areas near the ears.

When using a flat iron, follow these tips:

  • Avoid brushing your hair until it has cooled.
  • Keep the flat iron clean and allow it to cool fully before storing it.
  • Use flat irons only on dry hair.

Heat Styling Tips

With any heat styling tool, no matter how high the quality, you can damage your hair with overuse. Try to avoid heat styling every day. Instead, limit yourself to two or three times a week.

Anti-frizz serums, hair sprays and other styling products can help preserve your heat-styled look and help you achieve the results you desire. Just don’t over-use products, or your hair can turn out looking greasy.

Use heat styling tools on the lowest possible heat setting to minimize damage.

Resources

Free Beauty Tips (n.d.). Flat Irons. Retrieved November 27, 2007, from the Free Beauty Tips Web site: http://free-beauty-tips.glam.com/flatiron.html.

Love to Know (2007). Curling Irons. Retrieved November 27, 2007, from the Love to Know Web site: http://hair.lovetoknow.com/Curling_Irons.

Love to Know (2007). Hair Dryers. Retrieved November 27, 2007, from the Love to Know Web site: http://hair.lovetoknow.com/Hair_Dryers.