Are Straighteners Bad For Your Hair: How to Have Healthy Hair

Wearing hair accessories has been around for a long time, using irons dates back to the 20th century, and now we have an even bigger selection and types of straighteners. Straightening hair has never been more convenient than today. It can take a lot of hassle out of getting ready, eliminate pesky frizz, and quickly get you out the door to start your day, but you might have heard that using heat is bad for your hair. So, are straighteners bad for your hair? I’m going to answer this question in deep and let you know how you can avoid any damage if you are planning to straighten your hair regularly.

Most of us use a straightener right after the shower to get our hair ready to go out, but that’s not the only problem causing damage to our hair, there are plenty of things to take into consideration, from the shampoo and conditioner you use, the way you tie your hair, and how you use the straightener itself. Fixing those little issues by taking some extra steps before styling your hair will lead to healthier, shinier, stronger, and better-looking hair.

That’s why It’s important to know how to protect your hair from damage before and after straightening it, and for that, I’m going to explain how using a straightener can damage your hair and how they work, also you’ll have a better idea about the amount of damage they cause and how to lower this damage, below you can find useful information about what you can do to avoid damage when straightening it.

straightener on top of a white table
A black straightener is on top of a white table. Source: Unsplash

Are Straighteners Bad for Your Hair?

The short answer is yes, hair straighteners can damage your hair, and not only that, it makes it weak. The biggest problem of using hair straighteners is that they use heat to straighten the hair, and excessive exposure to heat will damage your hair, externally and internally, this can lead to bigger issues like frizz, which leads to using irons and this will end up in even more damage.

The way straighteners work is by weakening hydrogen bonds that are located in our hair. To put it simply, those bonds are responsible for the natural wavy hair, and when you put heat on them, the hair takes the shape of the type of straightener you use.

Heat is more harmful than we imagine. When your hair gets too hot, the proteins in the hair will be altered, which causes a change in the structure of your hair. Even heat sources like blow dryers can damage your hair when they’re used for a prolonged period of time.

This gets worse if your hair is wet since it’s weaker and easier to break. Sadly, the use of straighteners is a cycle of damage that is non-stop but don’t worry, there are a ton of ways to give your hair a little extra protection,

How to Avoid Hair Damage

There are many things to take into consideration, those things need to be done before, during, and after the use of straighteners.


Get yourself a proper straightener for your hair, this means, it needs to have ceramic plates, a control for temperature, and tourmaline coating. Avoid any flat iron that doesn’t have ceramic plates.

While taking a shower, use a shampoo and conditioner that prepare your hair for straightening. A shampoo that helps you to lock in the moisture will help you mitigate the heat damage.

After the shower makes sure to use a brush with capped bristles, this way you can remove some water while also detangling it.


Most people usually run the straightener many times on an area of the hair before moving to the next one and this is wrong, you should run it on a small area and only one time, one time is more than enough. Doing it constantly on the same are will only damage your hair even more.

If you have problems keeping track of which sections of your hair have been treated already, you should use clips to separate the untreated hair, this way the heated hair is the only one that’s not clipped and is easier to avoid heating again.


  • Wait some days before washing your hair and using a straightener again.
  • Have a super deep conditioner routine that you follow flawlessly, and use it more often, at least weekly.
  • Use a method to give a longer life to your straighten hair, that way you’ll be doing less, and perhaps your hair will be taking less heat damage.
hair dryer on top of a white table
Hair dryer can damage your hair too. Source: Unsplash


Let Your Hair Dry

It’s really important to let your hair be completely dry before using a hair straightener. If you straighten it while wet, you’ll literally boil your hair, and the damage is HUGE.

The best way to dry your hair is by using a towel, wrapping it around it, and letting it dry overnight, another good option is to just let it air dry. You need to be sure your hair is completely dry before heating it.

Note: Using a hair drier is not recommendable since you will be applying heat to wet hair.

Use Low Degrees on Your Hair

It is recommendable that you use your hair straightener on a low setting, this will depend a lot on your type of hair, but make sure you use the lowest setting. Usually, 310 F is more than enough, avoid at any cost using your straightener at +400 F.

Also, you must know that holding your hair on the straightener for too long is not a good thing, one single run is more than enough, and you should not use any tool that applies heat t your hair for long periods of time.

Use a Heat Protectant

It has been proven by many people that heat protectant products reduce the heat damage produced by straighteners. People have also claimed that these products help them to reduce and prevent frizz.

I couldn’t find any research about the effectiveness of the heat protectant, but its use is widespread, and many people around have experienced good results with it, so, consider using one of those products while you straighten your hair with heat.

Don’t Brush Your Hair Too Much

We usually hear people saying that in order to have healthy hair, you need to brush it repeatedly, but, it’s one of the culprits in causing split ends. Brushing your hair too much can contribute to more damage.

No need to overdo it, you can brush your hair only when it’s necessary, make sure you don’t pluck or tug your hair while brushing it, this will only break it and damage it.

Don’t Tie Your Hair Too Tight

I know that you, like many of us, tie your hair while at home in your free time or while doing yoga, exercising, and stuff like that.

It’s not recommendable that you wear your hair like this every single day. Since most pulled-back hairstyles like ponytails put a lot of tension on your hair and can make your hair break at the tie, also it can contribute to hair loss.

Shampoo on the Scalp

While washing their hair, most people concentrate on their hair. This is not completely bad, since you need to wash your hair properly, but while using shampoo you need to concentrate on the scalp. Washing only the full length of your hair will lead to dull and coarse, flyaway hair.

Also, while washing your hair, avoid using your nails on your scalp. I recommend you to use your fingers and massage your head gently while doing small circles.

Conditioner on the Tips

While using shampoo, you need to concentrate on the scalp, for using conditioner you need to concentrate on the tips of the hair and let it act for at least 1 min. This way you can decrease static electricity and improve a lot the strength and shine of your hair.

Avoid using 2-1 product, that way you can have more control while washing it.


Now you know why straighteners are bad for your hair and how you can avoid or mitigate the damage heat can cause to your hair. By taking those additional steps, you can protect and improve your hair a lot more, making this your routine for a long-term change.

You should know there are many ways to keep your hair healthy and even straight without the use of heat straighteners, you can apply natural and homemade masks, use an overnight ponytail, or even a wet bun like you are on a home spa. But if you want to keep using the straighteners, make sure to follow the steps above.

If you think it may take too long, or it’s too annoying to do all of these steps, remember that your hair is an important part of your image, think about the current state your hair is in. Your hair is probably the first thing people will see, but keeping your hair healthy is as important as having it straight.

Last Updated on July 26, 2022

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