What Is a Hair Iron?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree
A flat iron is an electric device that smooths and straightens locks of hair.
A flat iron is an electric device that smooths and straightens locks of hair.

A hair iron is a heated hair styling device, much like a blow dryer but applied directly to the hair. Curling irons, flat irons and crimping irons are all different types of hair irons that work in similar ways. These irons vary greatly in quality and price, usually with hair salons using the most well-made and expensive devices. They can be made with different kinds of metal and are often plated with gold or chrome so that the device heats more evenly. Some precautions are taken to avoid excessively damaging the hair, although some damage is guaranteed.

Hair salons typically use the most well-made and expensive hair irons.
Hair salons typically use the most well-made and expensive hair irons.

Curling irons come in many sizes so users can create curls of various sizes. They usually are long and relatively thin. The handle can be squeezed to open the device, allowing the user to place a lock of hair within it. After the hair is placed, the hair iron is curled around the rest of the lock, then left to sit for several seconds. Generally, the less hair curled around the device, the faster the hair curls. Alternatively, people use hot curlers to create curls in otherwise straight hair, and the curlers usually are left in for a much longer time.

A curling iron with a smaller barrel is ideal for creating small, tight curls.
A curling iron with a smaller barrel is ideal for creating small, tight curls.

A straightening iron is a heated styling device that allows people to make curly hair straight. For best results, people usually blow dry their hair relatively straight first. Small locks of hair are straightened section-by-section until the entire head is finished. Like curling irons, straightening irons work best when small amounts of hair are worked on at a time.

Crimping irons are much less popular than straightening and curling irons. On the other hand, they often take less time to use because it is not necessary to crimp all of the hair. Some people choose to crimp only the top layer of their hair, giving the illusion that most of their is crimped. Crimping gives a person’s hair a very wavy appearance. Basically, a hair iron can get a person’s hair very curly, straight or just wavy, depending on the type of device used.

No matter what kind of hair iron is used, stylists usually recommend using a protective serum on the hair to minimize damage. These serums are applied on damp hair before it is blown dry. In addition, they can make the hair shinier after it has been styled. Still, even with a protective serum, using heat to style the hair is not healthy for any kind of hair. To minimize damage, it should be done only occasionally and between regular hair trimmings.

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    • A flat iron is an electric device that smooths and straightens locks of hair.
      By: Daria Filiminova
      A flat iron is an electric device that smooths and straightens locks of hair.
    • Hair salons typically use the most well-made and expensive hair irons.
      By: gemenacom
      Hair salons typically use the most well-made and expensive hair irons.
    • A curling iron with a smaller barrel is ideal for creating small, tight curls.
      By: Africa Studio
      A curling iron with a smaller barrel is ideal for creating small, tight curls.