If you just finished your shower and want to save a little time, you may wonder: ‘Do I really have to dry my hair before flat ironing it?’
After all, a hair dryer and flat iron are both heating tools used to dry your hair. There are varying opinions about whether or not you can flat iron your hair while it’s still wet.
Taking a look at the facts, we’ll explore if it’s okay to skip the blow-drying process or if that step is even necessary if you’re going to use a flat iron on your hair. Wet hair, dry hair, does it matter?
What Happens When You Flat Iron Wet Hair?
Although you will find contradictory opinions on the subject, the conclusive answer backed by science is clear: you should never use a flat iron on wet hair.
Before explaining why it is bad to apply heat on wet hair, we need to examine the three parts that make up each strand of your hair: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla.
The cuticle is the outermost layer that protects your hair, while the cortex is the thickest part of the hair strand that contains the pigment of your hair.
The medulla is the innermost layer of the hair, and it is also the most fragile and softest part of the hair strand. It is similar to the bone marrow of our bones.
The cuticle of our hair gets damaged once it is exposed to temperatures higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Persons with curly hair or thick and coarse hair usually require higher temperatures to get their hair straight.
Flat irons provide heat much higher than what the cuticle can handle. If the cuticle is damaged, the other two layers become more susceptible to damage, resulting in damage from the outside in.
Another fact to consider is that hair can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water. Consequently, when you take a hot flat iron to your wet hair, the absorbed water in your hair changes into a gas.
These gases expand and need to escape, accomplishing this by forcibly exploding from the inner part of your hair, highly damaging it.
Eventually, your hair will regress into a dry and brittle mess, at which point you’d get forced to chop it off.
Even though technology has advanced far in the flat ironing department, nothing can save your hair from the damaging effects of flat ironing your hair while it is still wet.
Additionally, some people have experienced electric shocks by using this device while their hair was wet.
Remember, you must resist the temptation of flat ironing your hair while it is wet to save yourself time. In the long run, you’re only permanently ruining your hair.
What Happens When You Flat Iron Dry Hair?
It is always recommended to use a flat iron or any other hair straightening tool on completely dried hair.
Dry hair doesn’t get as damaged by a flat iron. Contrary to what some may believe, it’s very hard not to incur any kind of damage whatsoever by a hair straightener. This is mainly because you’re applying so much heat directly to your hair.
If you use a flat iron regularly – especially if you use it on too high of a setting – it can cause dry, brittle hair, and you can burn your hair to the point of disrepair.
It also seals in moisture and keeps frizz at bay. Lastly, the product helps to smooth your hair cuticles down, resulting in softer and smoother strands.
You should flat iron dry hair, not wet hair. This is because wet hair is more susceptible to heat damage, given that the water molecules within the hair can expand and lead to breakage under high temperatures.
If you find yourself needing to flat iron slightly damp hair, it’s crucial to thoroughly dry it using a blow dryer beforehand.
Additionally, always remember to apply a heat protectant spray to safeguard your hair from the harmful effects of the heat.