BY PHOEBE MCRAE
Given there are so many hair and beauty rules, it’s easy to forget what (and what not) to do. When it comes to styling your hair, hair type, hair texture, and hair length are all factors that come in to play, but there are many rules that apply to everyone, regardless of our differences. One example is to always use a heat protector spray before using heat styling tools such as a hair dryer, flat iron, or curling iron. This helps make sure the damage from the heat is minimal. Another example is to wait for hair to be slightly damp before blow drying — again, this helps you avoid heat damage.
Though it’s not necessarily 100 percent safe to use a blow dryer on wet hair, is it ever safe to straighten wet or damp hair?
What happens when you straighten wet hair?
Celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh strongly believes the answer is no. “Hair should be bone dry when you straighten,” Josh told Teen Vogue. “If you see steam or you hear a sizzle, stop and evaluate the situation,” he warned. According to Adore Beauty, straightening hair when wet can lead to serious damage such as burning, breakage, or coarsening of your hair’s natural texture. If you continuously straighten your hair when it’s wet, there is even a chance of long term damage.
Stylists agree that hair should be so dry when straightening that even pre-styling products must be applied while hair is wet or damp rather than after its dried, which helps avoid adding any unnecessary moisture. “You need to be selective about what products you use before you [flat iron],” Lea Michele’s hairstylist Sarah Potempa explained to Teen Vogue. “You should avoid applying anything to dry hair, which is what makes straightening different than curling. Because the iron clamps down on the hair, there’s nowhere for the product to go. You’re essentially boiling the product into the follicle, which isn’t a great idea, especially when it contains alcohol.”
As Josh advised, if you ever see steam or hear a sizzling sound when straightening your hair, stop what you’re doing and double-check that your hair is actually dry, and if not, try again later.