The Truth About Flat Ironing: How Hot Is Too Hot??

Ladies, have you ever noticed how your hair color seems to fade after using a flat iron with a high temperature setting? Does your hair seems to never grow beyond a certain length? Blame it on the temperature dial! Hot tools are an essential instrument in your hair routine, but if used on too high of a heat setting, they can cause dry, brittle, weak, limp hair and break down your strands' natural curl pattern. Although using a topical heat protector prior to heat styling can help prevent damage, you must turn down that temperature dial!

At 450 degrees, the inside of the hair, also known as the cortex, begins to melt resulting in weak, frizzy tresses. With continual high heat exposure, irreversible damage to your beloved locks may occur, ultimately, leading to the need of that dreaded big chop!

So, what is the best temperature setting to flat iron your hair for optimum results, while maintaining its integrity?  It is known that all hair is different (but similar), so we asked master hair stylist Anthony Randle of Fierce Manes Salon in Lansing, IL,  for his thoughts on the appropriate heat setting for different hair types:

"Relaxed and/or color treated fine hair should only be exposed to 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit no more than twice weekly. Relaxed medium to course hair should be flat ironed at 350-395 degrees. When it comes to natural hair, the temperature ranges change. Natural, chemically untreated, fine hair can endure a heat setting between 250 and 325 degrees. As for medium to coarse textures, I find a range from 350 to 395 degrees optimum for healthy heat styling."

"Well, what about my virgin hair extensions?", is a question many faux tress rockers often ask. "If you are styling quality virgin hair extensions, such as Diamond Elite Virgin Hair, which can be purchased at our salon, you can stay pretty much on target for the heat ranges for natural hair," explains Brittany James, hair extension expert and owner of Fierce Manes Salon in Lansing, IL. "Some virgin hair bundles are more coarse than others and may require a heat setting of up to 400 degrees. Anything in excess of 400 degrees may cause dryness and split ends. Eventually you will begin to notice your extensions getting shorter over a period of time and your wave pattern dramatically loosening. This is due to breakage and the irreversible straightening of the hair extensions caused by excessive heat exposure. As a rule of thumb: If your flat iron smokes you are burning out your extensions!"

You've heard it from the experts ladies! Turn down that dial!