An iron comb is a type of heavy, sturdy metal heated comb that is used to straighten the hair. These types of combs are mostly used by individuals at home rather than in beauty salons. The general idea of using an iron comb is to give the hair a straight and sleek look without using harsh chemicals and risking damage to the follicles. It is mostly used on curly and coarse textures as an alternative method of maintenance. Though the effects of using an iron comb last for a short period of time, the practice saves money and prevents permanent damage.
Iron combs typically are electric, although some, including older versions, are manual. Electric iron combs plug into outlets and come with adjustable heat settings so that the user has more control over the temperature. The old-fashioned iron combs are just heavy metal combs that are placed onto a stove top to be heated. Burning the hair is less likely with the electric iron comb than with use of the older versions, but the results could last slightly longer with the use of the older, sturdier models.
The technique used to operate a traditional iron comb is very simple. The hair usually is parted into four sections using a regular comb. Some type of pressing grease is then applied to the hair to provide both protection from heat damage and extra sheen and luster. The iron comb is then placed on the burner of the stove until it reaches a high temperature.
After the comb is heated and given several minutes to cool, the individual slowly combs through the hair in small sections from root to end, allowing the heat and steam to change the hair's texture temporarily. The result is shiny, slightly thinner, straightened hair. The technique used with an electric iron comb is the same except the heat is controlled within the unit itself.
The straightening effect on the hair from using an iron comb typically lasts one to two weeks, with weather having a huge impact on the results. During winter months, the hair tends to stay straightened for longer periods of time. In the summer, when humidity is higher, the hair can easily revert back to being curly or wavy. Periods of increased sweating can also change back the texture of the hair. The length of time that the hair remains straight can be prolonged by using anti-frizz serums and other products.