Look After the Hair And Scalp When Using Styling Tools

Heating Tools

Heat may be applied to the hair in order to remove excess moisture, help form the hair, or a combination of both. The temperatures of heated styling tools can, in the case of straightening or curling irons, reach between 374-392ºF. The hair will start to melt at 428ºF! Therefore, extreme caution should be taken not to exceed 356ºF when chemically re-bonding hair.

If curling irons are applied to wet hair, the water in the hair can boil, turning the keratin soft, creating steam inside the hair! Tiny bubbles can be formed that will either rupture the hair or create a weak point. Prevent damage by:

  • Always using the appropriate care and styling products to protect the hair against heat
  • Not exceeding the recommended temperature (remember the melting point of hair!)
  • Only using hot irons on dry hair

while blow dryers operate at a lower temperature (176-212ºF) than hot irons, they can still cause considerable damage to the hair and scalp. With a hand-held dryer, a good technique is essential in order to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed at a safe distance. Holding the dryer too close for too long can literally fry the hair and burn the scalp, potentially causing permanent damage to the hair follicles resulting in hair loss and bald patches. Prevent damage by:

  • Always using care and styling products to protect the hair against the heat
  • Keeping the blow dryer a safe distance from the hair and scalp

The same dangers apply to all other types of heated devices, for example heated rollers. Always read and follow manufacturers’ instructions, and use with care. Buy quality appliances that regulate and control temperature and use protective products prior to use.

Styling and Forming Tools
Styling and forming tools refers to the multitude of products that are available in order to shape and manipulate the hair. These are not heated or powered but influence the hair mechanically, for example a comb that pulls hair strands through a series of calibrated gaps, or an unheated roller that creates form yet requires hair to be damp or have a chemical applied in order to create a temporary, semi-permanent or permanent result.

Styling and forming tools make physical contact with the hair and therefore can potentially cause damage. Examples include the use of two-part, moulded combs, as opposed to saw-tooth where the comb is moulded in one piece and the teeth are cut out using a saw or similar device. The process of moulding a comb in two sections creates a thin seam down the middle edge and if this isn’t removed it can scrape across the hair, causing damage to the cuticle layer.

Where hair is tangled, the use of a narrow-toothed comb can create stress and may even cause breakage. Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss that results from continuous tension on the hair; this is common with Afro-Caribbean hair, which is particularly fine and sensitive.