If most teenagers have one dilemma in common (aside from acne and mortifying first kisses), it’s straightening their hair like it’s an obsession. Some start as young as 12 or 13 (which really isn’t a good thing, according to Huffington Post), and the rest of us aren’t strangers to the flat iron as well – a quick touch up to the bangs or five minutes of heat to the ends, and even the straightest, finest hair could use the extra sheen. But, if you’ve been using the same straightener from high school, it’s time for an upgrade – and a crash course – because ironing isn’t exactly the healthiest thing for your hair.
So we asked Carlos Saavedra, Spanish head stylist at Rossanno Ferretti at the Ritz Carlton (who you might remember from Komal’s Road to Pink Hair) to give us a guide on the most effective way to iron your hair – and he has a ton of tips to share!
1/5 The market is teeming with different kinds of hair straighteners. Is there a classification?
“There are flat irons and then there are curling tongs. There aren’t different types of flat irons, but just different sizes. You can choose one based on the length and volume of the hair. There are usually three sizes – a broad one to completely flatten the hair, a regular size that also helps to make curls and then a tiny one for short/spiky hair so you don’t burn your scalp.”
2/5 What should one look for while buying a hair straightener?
“As a user who doesn’t have too much knowledge about the whole thing, there are just three things you should know – first, pick a good brand. A straightener is one of those things you invest in, because a cheap, bad quality one could be very damaging in the long run. Especially for more difficult hair, that’s a must. Second, make sure it’s ceramic coated because it’s softer on the hair than a regular iron and third, use heat protectants – this is something people get lazy with. A hair straightener, like many other things in life, doesn’t come alone – there are many other things it calls for. For example, if you want to lose weight you can’t just eat less, you also have to exercise! So if you are using a straightener, make sure you’re using the right shampoo for your hair, the right conditioner and heat protectants.”
3/5 So which is your favourite brand for straighteners then, and why?
“My absolute favourite brand is GHD, it’s the best one where I come from and it’s been around a long time. After a lot of research, they’ve found that there’s a particular temperature range – between 200 and 210 degrees – that’s best for the hair. So their straighteners have one set temperature that you can’t regulate. There’s also a sensor that switches it off automatically – so it won’t burn down your house if you leave it on! It was my personal favourite when I had long hair myself, and I’ve been using it on my clients too, practically everyday, for about 6 years, and it still works fine!
Their new models have a curved iron so you can even create curls with those. It’s also very useful because they come with universal voltage so I could use the same one in England and back in Spain or India where the sockets are different. I also like the tiny flat iron for travelling – it’s a lifesaver because it helps if you’re travelling to a humid place or to fix your blow dry on the second day.
I’ve been using this one for so long and it’s so good that I haven’t found the necessity to use other brands. I’m loyal to the brand, only because I’m absolutely in love!”
4/5 How do you use a straightener in the most effective way? Does it differ according to hair types?
“While straightening hair, professionals do it in one go. We take each section of the hair and pull the iron over it slowly and gently till the whole part is straight. Girls at home – I know because I see my niece doing this – they go over the hair very fast, over and over again. This isn’t the right way to do it! Just take one section, and go slow until it’s completely straight. This way, you’ll notice your hair gets more of a sheen. Otherwise, there will always be some frizziness.
I’d say the technique to straighten both straight and curly hair is the same. Though the time taken does depend on the hair type – if your hair is just wavy, it takes lesser time but if it’s coarse, you have to get closer to the roots and it takes longer.”
5/5 What are the best measures for protection while straightening hair?
“Heat protectants are very important! They usually come in two forms, as a cream or a spray, and both are to be used as you would a conditioner, before you apply heat to your hair. Use it from the ends upwards but not too close to the roots.”
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