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Heat Styling Tools - What to know and how High to Set them

With many options available when it comes to heat styling tools, it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin. Maybe you recently purchased a new styling wand or received that straightener you’ve been eyeing for Christmas and you’re excited to give it a try - but how high do you set it? What is the best technique and is it going to cause damage to your hair?

These are all very common questions when it comes to using heat tools, and in this article we’ll cover the different types of heat styling and how to protect your hair from damage while using them.

Ionic vs. Ceramic

You’ve probably heard these terms tossed around or advertised when it comes to the different types of styling tools, but what do they actually mean?

Ionic Tools

In simplest terms, ionic technology uses negatively charged ions to break down the positively charged ions that are present in water. This prevents them from soaking into the hair shaft and causing additional frizz, also drying hair faster. There are even tourmaline dryers (aka lined with semi-precious minerals) that throw off millions of negatively charged ions to prevent frizz and dry hair.

Ionic hair dryers are ideal for those with curly hair as it does not compromise the shape of the hair, or those with thick hair that is prone to frizz.

Ceramic Tools

A composite material, clay is used in a hairdryer to create infrared heat that penetrates the hair shaft and preserves the natural moisture and luster of strands. Ceramic tools often heat up very quickly and evenly, resulting in less damaging hot spots which can lead to breakage and frizz.

This makes ceramic tools ideal for those with compromised hair (i.e. lightened) or thin/dry hair that is prone to breakage. When thinking about which is right for you, consider your hair type and how you typically like to style your hair. If you’re still unsure, ask your Tease Hair Boutique stylist next time you’re in what they would recommend!

Different types of heat styling tools

Blowdryers, curling wands, curling blow-dryers - when it comes to heat styling tools the options available are endless. Below we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 most popular styling tools with pros, cons and temperature setting recommendations to get the most out of your styling tools and avoid damage.

Hair Dryers

Drying your hair not only prevents the discomfort that comes with winter weather but also seals cuticles and can be a one-stop tool when used correctly.

Pros: Easy to use, adds volume, can avoid use of additional styling tools, quickly dry and style hair, options available depending on hair composition and styling needs.

Cons: Can compromise style of natural curls, can lead to breakage when used incorrectly.

Recommended temperature settings: for thinner hair do not exceed 290 degrees. For thicker hair that needs more taming, up to 375 degrees is safe.

Tease recommended: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer (combines the best of both worlds)

Flat Irons

For silky smooth and pin-straight hair, opt for a flat iron to meet your hair needs. Using two heating plates that sandwich and straighten strands, flat irons can transform hair in minutes. With ionic and ceramic versions available, we recommend parting and straightening hair in sections, ensuring any wave or crease is removed.

Pros: Easy to use, can last multiple days, create immediate shine and silkiness.

Cons: Can be time-consuming for thick or curly hair, can lead to breakage with overuse.

Recommended temperature settings: for thinner or finer hair, do not exceed 250 degrees. For thicker or healthier hair, do not exceed 300 degrees.

Curling Wands

With different barrel sizes available depending on your hair composition and length, curling wands offer a variety of styles while still giving you control. Larger barrels are great for larger/looser curls and waves, while small barrel wands will give you tighter, coily curls.

Pros: Easy to use, high control over temperature and curl type, can be quicker than other styling options.

Cons: Easier to burn yourself, can result in breakage.

Recommended temperature settings: for thinner or finer hair, do not exceed 250 degrees. For thicker or healthier hair, do not exceed 300 degrees.

Crimpers and Wavers

From 1980’s vibes to mermaid waves, crimpers and wavers offer a variety of looks that feel fun, edgy and different from the flat irons and curling wands we’re used to. Using two heated plates with ridges or waves, hair is sandwiched between and heated by section, resulting in a variety of shapes and styles.

Pros: Offers a unique look or style, can be long lasting.

Cons: May take some time to learn, can result in heat damage or breakage if used too often or incorrectly.

Recommended temperature settings: for thinner or finer hair, do not exceed 250 degrees. For thicker or healthier hair, do not exceed 300 degrees.

Bottom Line

When it comes to using any heat styling tools, the most important thing is to always use a heat protectant when using any heat styling on your hair. Check out this article on how heat protectant works and why it’s important to help select the right heat protectant for your hair needs. When it comes to setting temperatures, we recommend being as conservative as possible and only turning the heat up as needed. The number one sign that a heat tool is set too high is added hair dryness and breakage.

When in doubt, make sure to ask your Tease Hair Boutique Stylist during your next salon visit!

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