Using a straightener or curler on wet hair or why should you never do it

There are 2 simple rules for using a heated device on your hair, be it a curler or straightener, and if you follow them, you will not do any harm to your locks.


Rule N1 - NEVER curl or straighten your hair if it is not completely dry!

The hair consists of 3 layers:

  • the medulla – central core, practically non-existent in light and fine hair
  • the cortex – middle layer, responsible for colour, texture and most of the strength of hair. It’s a bit like a sponge, holding the melanin pigments and other important hair molecules.
  • the cuticle – protective outermost layer, made of overlapping cells like roof shingles or fish scales. These cells work as a defense to prevent damage to the hair’s inner structure and to control water content of the hair fibers.

When the hair gets wet the cells of the cuticle raise and the water enters the cortex “sponge”. It can actually absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water. And then when you towel dry the hair, you only remove the water that’s on the surface of the cuticle - the cortex holds all the moisture it has absorbed.

So, what happens when we use our straightener?

Let’s get into some Physics:
The water boiling point is 100* Celsius. The straightener’s temperature usually varies between 160 - 230* Celsius. So even on the lowest temperature setting the water inside the cortex will boil. And you can imagine how that will affect your hair - the same effect is used to pop the corn kernels into pop corn. Yes, that’s right, the surface will be broken and the cortex will pop out, making the hair rough, dull and lifeless.

And even the best coating will not solve this issue - the high temperature will make the water boil anyway. If your hair is coloured, it might also cause the pigment to fade very fast after a few washes, because there will be loads of micro cracks in the cuticle, which will allow the pigment to leak out.

RULE N2 - ALWAYS use heat protection

Many women skip the heat protectants, thinking that they are just an unnecessary step. Some people even believe the whole idea of "heat protection" is a marketing ploy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, here are some facts about what  heat protection does for your hair:

  1. It creates a protective layer over the cuticle, which “traps” the water inside the hair. - in a way it “seals” the cuticle scales and when the water tries to burst out it can not do this and the cuticle stays intact
  2. They contain silicones, which make the hair soft , nourished and shiny. No more “frizz” after you use your blow dryer!
  3. The good protectants are infused with nourishing oils like argan, macadamia, jojoba, and serve also as hair care 
  4. They actually help the hair dry faster - the silicones cover the cuticle and does not let the inner moisture escape, so the outer layer gets dry without the hair losing any of it’s natural moisture.

These are the 2 simple rules of maintaining a healthy and beautiful hair, without giving up the pleasure of heat - styling it!