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Hair Care Products when Using Straighteners

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 11 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Hair Straighteners Hair Hair

A hair straightener is a wonderful styling tool that can give you sleek, straight locks, sexy waves, and even soft curls. And, even though this versatile tool can quickly and easily give you beautiful hair there is a huge drawback to its repeated use- hair damage.

How Hair Straighteners Damage Hair

Hair straighteners manipulate hair strands into fixed styles with the use of high heat. The heated plates can be smoothed over curly or wavy hair strands to produce sleek straight locks, or the strands can be wrapped around the straightener to create waves in normally straight hair. No matter the choice the style stays put because super hot heat is used to weaken the strands so that as they cool they are forced into a new shape.

This same high heat that makes it possible to retrain hair strands into unnatural styles can also damage the hair strand. The heat can weaken the strand beyond repair and also strip the strands of their protective oils. Once hair strands are vulnerable they are more apt to break or develop split ends. Over straightened hair can become extremely dry and frizzy and eventually break off or fall out leading to shorter or thinning hair.

Protecting Your Hair From Straightener Damage with Hair Care Products

The best way to protect your hair from heat damage is to start with a good foundation. Healthy hair is less likely to suffer permanent damage than vulnerable hair. Protect your hair from the inside out by using the right shampoo, conditioner, and weekly hair treatment. Choose a shampoo and conditioner treatment formulated for heat styled hair. These heat-activated products contain ingredients that help add hydration and moisture to hair strands and enhance the hair follicle's ability to hold the moisture inside during the heating process. They should also contain a protecting ingredient that coats the hair strands and acts as an added barrier against damaging heat.

To further seal in the benefits of hydration you should use a conditioning hair mask once a week and a leave in conditioner after each hair washing. Choose a mask that hydrates deep into the hair follicle and leaves behind a moisture barrier when rinsed out. Look for masks with the words "for heat styled hair", "for dry, damaged hair", or "hydrating" on the label. When choosing the leave in conditioner pick one with a light formulation to avoid ending up with a heavy, oily look or overly slippery locks that won't hold the desired style.

Once you have taken steps to ensure the health of your hair it is time to work on protecting your hair during the actual straightening process. Make sure that you start with dry hair strands and apply a heat barrier spray, cream, or mousse. These products deposit a lubricant over the hair strands that reduces damaging friction from the styling tool and also acts a barrier from the heat, keeping the inner follicle cooler.

Finally, you will want to choose a holding spray that is also formulated for heat styled hair. Avoid products that contain alcohol, which can further dry out hair strands. Instead, choose moisturizing formulas that attract water and seal hydration into the hair strands.

If you take the time to prep your hair properly for the hair straightening process you can enjoy the styles made possible by this styling tool and the beauty of healthy hair day after day without worrying about permanent damage.

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