Using hair straighteners

Using hair straighteners © Philips
Hair straighteners are the quickest way to smooth, straight locks. Use them wisely, and not excessively: here's a user guide.
Straighteners come in all shapes, sizes and materials, but to give your hair maximum we recommend using ones with 100% ceramic ionic plates or infrared plates.
Ceramic ionic plates
Ceramic plates are much less harmful to hair than other types. They retain sine and elasticity and emit negative ions that act as vitamins by discharging electrostaticity, leaving hair straight for longer.
Infrared technology
Infrared plates heat the hair from the inside out, so they don't overheat the surface of the hair. The hair is straightened on the inside and the outside, which keeps it straighter longer without burning the surface.
Use hair straighteners on healthy hair
If you use straighteners regularly, make sure you take care of your hair. Just like the wind, sun and other elements, straighteners can make hair fragile through exposure to very high temperatures. It's important to take care of your hair to make up for straightening, because even if you have high-tech straighteners your hair will still suffer. Remember, running your hands through your hair all day damages it! To avoid damaging your hair, ideally don't straighten it more than once a week.
How to use hair straighteners
Don't plug your straighteners in and then go off and do something else. Today's straighteners heat up at the speed of light and after 5 minutes or even less they're ready to use (you can use the latest models instantly).
Use straighteners on dry hair so you don't get scorched. Wash your hair then let it dry naturally or use a hair dryer. You can get straighteners designed for use on damp hair, but these don't heat up as much and don't seem very effecient - they don't give hair the same shine as a blow dry.
Apply special protective serum or lotion/milk for pre-straightening (available in salons and shops). Separate your hair into strands and insert a thin strand into the plates, starting from the roots. Close the plates and slide down slowly towards the ends of your hair. Don't run the plates over your hair a lot: straighten the lengths gently for around 6 seconds to get it perfect the first time.
Professional tip: start with the bottom layers and work your way upwards.

Straighteners can also be used to tweak curls, flick hair out or smooth it under.
Looking after your straighteners
To keep your straighteners in good condition for as long as possible, don't leave them in damp places like your bathroom - steam can damage the electrical circuits. Clean your straighteners as often using a damp cloth on the plates (wait till they're cool).
Published by Sarah Horrocks
16 Feb 2009
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