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How to Use Hot Tools Like a Professional

How to Use Hot Tools Like a Professional featured image
DMITRY AGEEV/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES
This article first appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Over the summer, it’s easy to give our hair a break opting for air-drying methods or quick and easy updos, but as the cold creeps back in, we’re once again relying on our hot tools. Before picking up the blowdryer, straightener or curler, read up on these tips experts swear by for hot-tool hair safety.

HOT TIPS FOR DIFFERENT HAIR TYPES

STRAIGHT

When it comes to using hot tools on straight hair, celebrity hairstylist Adir Abergel says “light product and low heat” is the name of the game. Celebrity hairstylist Johnny Lavoy advises using a stying iron with temperature control and avoiding keeping the hair on the heat for longer than 10 seconds at a time.

WAVY

When looking to amplify waves or go for bigger curls, Abergel advises following your natural wave pattern. “To enhance a wave, twist the hair before wrapping it around a curling wand,” Lavoy adds.

CURLY

While it’s beneficial to use a heat protectant on any hair type, Lavoy says it’s essential for curly hair. “Less heat means less chance of damage,” he notes. Abergel recommends using diffusers on curly hair in tandem with a hydrating and defining product. “Focus the heat close to the roots while scrunching the length with the diffuser,” he advises.

COILY

“I love wrapping coiled hair around a tiny barrel iron to define the curl, giving it a more bouncy, shiny appearance,” says Lavoy. For really coily hair, celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble suggests using a press comb followed by a ceramic thermal straightener.

TEMPERATURE SETTINGS

Fine hair
250°F–375°F

Normal hair
350°F–425°F

Thick hair
425°F–450°F

TITANIUM VS. CERAMIC

If you have easy-to-straighten or heavily processed hair, stick to ceramic, “as it heats the hair shaft from the inside out, preserving moisture and causing less damage on the outer layer,” explains Abergel. Kimble notes that ceramic is also the best bet if you want to maintain your natural curls. “Titanium is very hot, and it may start to straighten it so much that it can change your curl pattern,” she warns. However, if you have coarse or frizzy hair, Abergel says it can handle higher temperatures and will need them to achieve a smooth look. “Titanium reaches hotter temperatures to penetrate the outer layer and reflect shine,” he notes.

LARYSA VDOVYCHENKO/GETTY IMAGES

88.2k the increase in searches for hair dryers in the past year

Source: Spate

BLOWDRYER TIPS

Hair-care expert Josh Rosebrook advises always keeping the blowdryer moving. “Never hold it static on the hair shaft, especially on a high-heat setting,” he says. “This will cause the most damage very quickly.” Also, avoid touching the nozzle to the hair shaft. Kimble suggests always using a nozzle, as “it directs heat when straightening or smoothing hair out.” Lavoy says a nozzle provides a more precise airflow for quicker drying; it also protects hair from direct heat. For curly hair styling, Kimble recommends opting for a diffuser. Blowdryer brushes, which have been trending big-time over the past couple years, are also great for anyone who struggles to manipulate a dryer and brush simultaneously, especially those with a lot of hair.

BEST BRUSH FOR…

1 / 3

CURLING

Abergel suggests a ceramic round brush, such as GHD Ceramic Vented Radial Brush Size 3 ($40), if you have smooth hair. He advises opting for a metal round brush if you have more texture to your hair.

2 / 3

DETANGLING

“The concave shape of the Olivia Garden iDetangle Brush ($19) feels amazing as you detangle,” says Lavoy. “I also love that it comes in three different models for fine, medium and thick hair.”

3 / 3

SMOOTHING

Rosebrook says Complex Culture Vegan Boar Bristle Round Brush ($28) promotes smooth, shiny and voluminous hair. It’s perfect for fighting frizz and perfecting the at-home blowout.

BEST HEAT PROTECTANTS…

4 / 6

MASK

Lavoy loves that this mask, Save Me From Thermal Obsession ($16), is multiuse: It protects against heat and repairs hair. As a bonus, you can even leave it in.

5 / 6

SPRAY

Moroccanoil Perfect Defense ($30) is a weightless dry aerosol that rehydrates hair while protecting it up to 450 degrees,” says Lavoy.

6 / 6

OIL

Weightless Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil ($30) features a heat-protecting, shine-boosting, hair-strengthening formula that keeps hair safe from both UV damage and hot tools.

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