Common heat styling mistakes you’re making

For the sake of your hair, listen up!

New Idea New Idea and WHO Executive Beauty Editor / May 25 2017

Plug them in, flick the switch and start styling – straighteners and curling irons have revolutionised our hair styling capabilities. But, according to Haircare Australia’s Creative Director and Cloud Nine ambassador Lauren McCowan, many of us are unwittingly using our beloved heat styling tools incorrectly. From poor technique to damaging behaviour, McCowan identifies the heat styling errors we need to stop making...

Your blow-drying technique is detrimental

Blow-drying is more than just a stepping stone to curling and straightening. “If you use too much heat when blow-drying, it strips out the moisture, which then makes it harder to straighten or curl because it has nothing left to give,” McCowan explains. Try Curious Grace Hair Dryer with a protective product such as Schwarzkopf Extra Care Heidi’s Heat Styles Mousse. 

You’re skipping heat protection

A heat protection spray is the equivalent of a suit of armour. “You need something that keeps the moisture in and protects the hair,” McCowan advises. Before styling, apply a heat protectant like L’Oréal Paris Elvive Smooth Intense Heat Protect Cream.

Curious Grace Hair Dryer

Schwarzkopf Extra Care Heidi’s Heat Styles Mousse

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Smooth Intense Heat Protect Cream

You’re using the wrong shampoo and conditioner

It all starts with using the right hair care products. For heat styling regulars, try the hydrating TRESemme Botanique Restore & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner, or a priming formula such as KMS California Freeshape Shampoo. Just remember the golden rule: “Never use a straightening or curling tool on wet hair,” cautions McCowan.

You’re using the wrong temperature

“People think the hotter the tool, the better the result,” McCowan says. Not only is a high temperature unnecessary, it could be causing damage. “When a straightener or curler is too hot for your hair type, you are stripping it of moisture,” McCowan says. Always use a tool with an adjustable heat setting. Try Cloud Nine Original Iron.

TRESemme Botanique Restore & Shine Shampoo

KMS California Freeshape Shampoo

Cloud Nine Original Iron

You’re not putting the moisture back

Regular heat styling takes its toll on hair. McCowan advises using a weekly moisture treatment. Try Matrix Biolage Advanced RepairInside Mask or Redken All Soft Heavy Cream with an end-repairing product like Make Sleek Cream to replenish heat-frazzled locks.

You’re sectioning incorrectly

For uniformly styled hair, working in sections is a must. “Start from the back and work your way forwards, finishing with the front and top sections,” McCowan says. Try Premium Pin Company 999 Gripper Hair, which are especially important when curling. “If your sections aren’t even, the heat won’t move through the hair evenly, which will result in uneven curls.”

Matrix Biolage Advanced RepairInside Mask

Redken All Soft Heavy Cream

Make Sleek Cream

Technique Masterclass

McCowan shares the pro secrets for using heat styling tools effectively…

Tip #1 / There’s no need to squeeze your straightener – just let the hair glide through.

Tip #2 / When using a straightener to curl, only do a half-turn with the iron. Repeated twisting and pulling gives inconsistent curls.

Tip #3 / People often tilt their wand upwards, when actually, the tip should face down.

Tip #4 / For strong, lasting curls, pin each curl and let it cool completely before styling.

Heat tools temperature guideline

Thin or damaged hair: 75C-100oC
Medium hair: 125C-150oC
Medium-thick hair: 175oC
Extremely thick hair: 200oC

Gwyneth Paltrow - Fine Hair

Salma Hayek - Thick Hair

Sarah Jessica Parker - Curly Hair

Heat styling by hair type

Fine hair – The message for ladies with fine hair is simple – be gentle! ‘You only need around 100C with a straightener or 125C with a curling wand to achieve a great result,’ McCowan advises.

Thick hair – Women with thick hair often have poor straightening technique. “They tend to rush over the same section too many times. You should only have to do each section once – slowly.”

Curly hair – If your hair is naturally curly, be careful with the temperature gauge. “Around 150oC isa good temperature for medium curly hair – andbe sure to work in even sections,” McCowan says.


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Image credits: Getty

Adriana has been writing about the beauty world for more than 15 fun-filled years and has a real passion for helping women navigate gracefully through those tricky 45+ years.