Here are some tips and tricks to prevent damage and breakage while using hot styling tools during cold winter months.
For a majority of us living in North America, winter is showing its brutally cold teeth thanks to a polar vortex that is being predicted to last longer than any of us would like. Protecting your hair from damage and breakage is a priority of ours, and we feel that it is important we equip you with the proper tips and knowledge for you to keep your hair looking and feeling healthy during these next few brutally cold months.
We are going to help you take some preventative measures by educating you on the right types of products to use during these winter months, especially when using hot styling tools like blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling irons. We’ll also give you some reminders to be thinking of each time you plug in and power up your hot styling tools.
But before we begin, a great rule of thumb to follow and an excellent visual to always keep in mind is that whenever you’re using hot styling tools, imagine your hair is like fabric—you never want to put a scorching hot iron on a silk shirt, right? And if you put a cotton or wool sweater in hot water or a scalding dryer, it’s going to shrink and most likely be brittle and damaged. Another thing to keep in mind is that overly hot styling tools can also affect how your hair color looks, and your hair is even more susceptible to damage and breakage if you’re routinely getting highlights, lowlights, or all-over color services.
- Moisturizing & Hydrating Shampoos/Conditioners: You’ll want to incorporate these into your weekly routine since hair and scalp are going to become more vulnerable to cooler temps and the additional moisture provides added protection when using hot styling tools.
- Thermal Protectants: These are a necessity and highly recommended when blow-drying and using flat irons and curling irons/wands. NOTE: Your thermal protectant will state what temperature not to exceed. Please follow their guidelines and instructions. Most recommend keeping your tools set to 225-392 degrees.
- Serums/Oils: These will help seal the cuticle and come highly recommended when blow-drying.
- Leave-In Conditioners & Moisturizing Mists/Mousse: These will help hydrate curls and thirsty hair while blow-drying.
- Hairspray: Do NOT spray your hair sections with hairspray before applying heat, especially when you’re using a flat iron. Hairspray contains alcohol, and when you use direct heat, it causes static and damages the hair.
The Blow Dryer
Maybe you’ve been air-drying during the summer, but now that winter is upon us that “wash-n-go” approach and luxury is no longer an option. Before you turn on the hair dryer:
- If you do choose to keep the blow dryer stashed away, don’t leave the house with dripping wet hair. That’s an immediate invitation for breakage. Hair can freeze and break off.
- Before you blow dry, don’t wrap your hair in a towel on top of your head. Doing so causes mass amounts of breakage around the scalp area, and since your strands are already a bit fragile due to the cold temps, this type of damage can happen easier and quicker.
- Blot your wet strands and scalp with a microfiber towel. This may take some additional time to achieve, but it’s for the very best in the long run. It’ll also shave some blow-drying time down since the microfiber will soak up a lot of the water and decrease the amount of time you’re applying direct heat to your hair.
- Remember to use a diffuser on curls.
The Flat Irons & Curling Irons/Wands
Since your hair is probably feeling a bit more frizzy due to the cold and you’re not getting that effortless, beachy wave texture you’ve had no trouble achieving during the summer months, daily use of flat irons, curling irons, and curl wands is likely occurring. With that, keep in mind the following:
- -Test out how low you can go in terms of the temperature settings. If you can achieve straight strands or get those curls and waves at a lower setting, hair is going to stay healthier and shinier and be less prone to damage. Most hair (if not all types of hair) doesn’t require a 400-degree setting.
- Remember to use thermal protecting spray and NOT to spray your sections with hairspray before styling. Hairspray should be your “finishing move” and the very last product you use when styling (unless you’re applying a little shine serum at the very end to calm down any flyaways).
- Make sure you’re routinely cleaning your flat iron’s plates and the barrel of your curling iron/wand. Wipe down to prevent product build-up. When product builds up, your tool’s performance weakens thus causing you to turn up the temperature when it isn’t necessary.
- Never use a hot styling tool on wet or damp hair.
Even though we can’t turn up the heat outside, we can help you keep your hair looking and feeling healthy even if it’s hidden underneath a cute knit hat or a festive looking scarf. Here’s to happy, healthy styling free from breakage and damage!