Are you suffering from frizzy, flyaway or dull hair? Wondering how flat irons work? How much should you spend on one? Will it damage my hair? You have questions, I have some answers. My name is Amber, I’m an Atelier Artist and the flat iron is my favorite styling tool.
The ceramic flat iron is a wonderful little technological marvel that combines electrical, thermal, and mechanical forces to help straighten and smooth hair. Whether you want straight and sleek, smooth and full, or even bouncy spiral barrel curls, let me tell you how you can have it all.
I’ve recently fallen in love with one of the most versatile tools in my industry: the flat iron. Don’t get me wrong, I love big, sexy, fluffy hair but I believe if the flatiron is used correctly in conjunction with the right products, you can have the best of both worlds; smooth and voluminous. But that’s not all this little tool can achieve.
Hair in its natural state is holds a positive static charge, which causes flyaways. A 100% ceramic flatiron (not just ceramic plated) holds a negative electrical charge (also known as negative ions). The positive and negative charges counteract each other causing the hair to lay flat.
Thermal forces also help to straighten and smooth the hair as well. The heat of the flat iron causes the protein bonds in the hair to temporarily restructure and straighten as the two plates of the flat iron is pressed and pulled through the hair. The flat iron is different from the curling iron in that it has two ceramic plates that are sources for heat whereas with a curling iron the only source of heat is the barrel. So, with two sources of heat as opposed to one, the hair is bound to be smoother and less frizzy with the flat iron.
Mechanical forces also help the hair to lay flat and smooth. The outer layer of a healthy hair strand (called the cuticle layer) normally lays flat like shingles on a roof, but if the hair has been colored or chemically treated too many times, the hair can look dull and frizzy due to the damaged outer layer. Curly or textured hair has an undulating surface, which, again, causes the cuticle layer to not lay flat. When you press the two plates of the flat iron together, the cuticle behaves itself and lies down flat, which will in turn reflect the light better, causing the hair to appear shinier and healthier.
Another wonderful little trick you can perform with the flat iron is to make beautiful shiny ribbon curls. Using the right combination of iron position and styling products, you can create luscious waves and curls with the twist of the wrist. And, you receive a smoother shiner look than using a curling iron because of the flat iron’s double heat source.
So, how much does this miraculous little tool cost? Flat irons range from as little as $15 to over $200. There are hundreds of models and brands on the market to choose from and people always ask me if cost makes a difference. My answer is the same; it’s an investment. You can buy a budget model, but it may not have 100% ceramic plates, which can mean an uneven heating element, resulting in more damage to the hair. You’ll probably have to replace the iron more often as well. I have had the same $150 professional flat iron for over five years now, and it’s been well worth the money. In the end it’s a decision you’ll have to make based on your budget and hair care needs.
The flat iron has so much to offer the world of hair care and styling. With all of its versatility and benefits I hope you’re able to get your hands on one soon. I’m happy to help you with a professional styling lesson at Atelier Salonspa in Santana Row. Our salon offers many services ranging from blowouts and flat iron services to Keratin Complex Smoothing treatments, which give you smoother, less frizzy hair for months instead of days. My only goal is to give you the hair of your dreams. And did I mention that I LOVE flat ironing hair?
At Your Service,
Amber R. Tobin
Atelier Advanced Artist and Aveda Certified Colorist