Monday, July 9, 2007

Review of Flat Irons from Slate

Reading this article annoyed the hell out of me.

I just can't help but think of all the people who will read this and take it to be gospel, I think it's a little irresponsible (the rating system not having the imput of a professional stylist) but I also realize it's supposed to be a somewhat fluffy (no pun intended) piece about hair.

Here are some important points to consider:

Alot of the damage caused by a flat iron is not going to register to some people as damage. For instance if you are using a very hot flat iron and running it over your hair at too slow of a pace, you can actually melt your cuticle layer. Your hair is going to FEEL smooth and silky (which she rates as very important) but the amount of damage done to your hair is not negligible, though not readily detectable. It may become an issue for you when you decide you want to highlight etc.

The cheap, drugstore flat irons tend to damage the hair not so much from excessive heat as heat combined with too much tension (users often try and press really really hard to get better results, which causes breakage - the most obvious form of damage). Also important to keep in mind, you can melt your cuticle layer with low heat applied too long as well. As a general rule of thumb: beware of cheap flat irons! Just don't use them.. trust me. I've never seen more damage from flat ironing than from people using drug store flat irons, no matter what brand of professional grade flat iron you use, it will be exponentially less damaging to your hair than using a drug store iron. Period.

That she rates a flat iron which her boyfriend says leaves her hair smelling "slightly burnt" as the best one - really makes me nervous... I hope people realize she's a writer, not a hairdresser.

Personally, I own a Paul Brown, which is ok. I chose it because it has a manual temperature setting and will heat high enough for thermal relaxing in less than a minute. HOWEVER, the Chi really is the standard to which all flat irons are judged, AND FOR GOOD REASON. I almost always use a Chi at my salon (my Paul Brown is on back up duty these days). The beauty of the Chi is that it is ridiculously simple - an on/off switch. HOWEVER, it is much smarter than meets the eye. It self monitors and if it is reaching too high of a temperature it allows itself to cool down, therefore really protecting the hair from serious damage from melting. MELTING your hair is not good! Yes it feels smooth, but trust me... you are not doing yourself any favors. Just get a thermal relaxer and be done with it! Yes it's expensive, but you really only need it once a year in most cases.

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