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03-03-10 | Posted by

photo credit: sephora.com

Nothing beats heat styling for dramatically transforming hair’s texture and shape, but do it wrong and you can end up fried, quite literally.  Pinning down the best technique and hair care regimen means longer lasting results, which means less frequent heat styling, which means happier, healthier hair.

Products – Before you even think about letting a heat styling tool touch a hair on your pretty little head, you’ll need some serious protection.  For beautiful blowouts work a heat protective cream through damp hair.  Fabulous options include Living Proof Straight Making No Frizz Styling Cream, Phyto Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm, Kerastase Nectar Thermique, and Kiehl’s Heat-Protective Silk Straightening Cream.  If you’re taming your tresses with a flat iron or curling iron, consider a thermal protective spray.  Some of the best include Paul Mitchell Hot Off the Press, CHI 44 Iron Guard, Sedu Smoothing Heat Protecting Boost, and Rusk Thermal Flat Iron Spray.

Tools – Stroll down the aisles of any beauty boutique and you’ll be inundated by terms like “ceramic,” “tourmaline,” and “ionic” when you hit the heat styling section, but what do they really mean?  Tools boasting ionic technology work by charging molecules to reduce moisture in hair, providing the sleekest, most lasting results.   Ceramic can refer to the actual plates of a flat iron, a curling iron’s barrel, or the heating element of a hair dryer.  Unlike the brutal metal plates of the past, today’s ceramic hair tools emit gentler heat, create less friction and lock in moisture and shine.  Tourmaline refers to a group of structurally related minerals that generate those negative, frizz-hating ions when heated.  Many of the tools on the market boast all three characteristics.  Ionic technology, ceramic and tourmaline are definitely the kindest to hair, so look for those when investing in a good heat styling tool.

Bespoke Labs T3 blow dryers are some of the best on the market and you definitely pay a premium for them at $200-$300 a pop.  For a hair dryer that won’t blow your bag budget, check out Hot Tools with several great models around $50.  When it comes to flat irons, many women worship at the altar of CHI, but it’s not the only game in town.  Sedu, Solia, Barbar, and GHD all garner rave reviews, and Remington Frizz Therapy 1” flat iron is fanastic and affordable at $50.  For curling irons, check out BaByliss, FHI, and Paul Mitchell.  Conair’s Instant Heat line is staggeringly good and shockingly inexpensive. Make sure that you’re using the right brush for the job.

Techniques – Section, section, section!  Clip hair into sections and work from the bottommost layers to the top.  For brilliant blowouts, start with damp hair, use the nozzle attachment to focus air flow and a round or paddle brush with densely packed natural bristles.  On flat irons with variable heat settings, go as low as you can go.  Coarse or curly hair might need temperatures of 350-400 degrees, but if you have fine or processed hair try to stay below 300.  Start low and increase temperature as needed.  For a fun change of pace, ask your stylist to demonstrate making waves with a flat iron.  Curling irons are great for spiral curls, and experimenting with different section sizes and different barrel sizes is the best way to get pretty, uncontrived results.

Secret Weapons – When all is said and done, your goal is to prolong the results of your heat styling and minimize frequency.  Dry shampoo is your new best friend; try Tela Beauty Organics Dri Shampoo, Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder, Frederic Fekkai Au Naturel Dry Shampoo, or cheapie retro classic Psssssst Instant Spray Shampoo.  Investing in a good shower cap can protect your flawlessly styled hair at tub time, and never underestimate the power of the late-80s, fabric covered scrunchie.  These are strictly for use at home, and only under the cover of night, but pulling blown-out or flat ironed haired into a Pebbles Flinstone style ponytail overnight lets you sleep comfortably and wake up with perfect hair.

With the right tools, good products and a little practice, you can take beauty into your own hands and get stellar results.  Trust Beauty In The Bag to keep you up to speed on the latest and greatest.

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