After spending what seems like a lifetime planning the perfect outfit, you take a look in the mirror and realize that something is just not right. Your ensemble is major and you finally nailed that cat eye, so what’s the problem? Oh right, it’s the hair. Not to sound dramatic, but a hairdo can make or break any ensemble. Since the frizzy locks do not make the cut, many girls turn to straightening their manes. Lucky for you, there are so many straightening options to choose from. But which processes fry your hair instead of giving you the joyous gift of a smooth and shiny ‘do? We’re here to give you the lowdown on the hottest straightening techniques.
Option 1: Flat iron
What is it?
A flat iron is most collegiettes’ secret weapon. After you use a blow dryer or let your hair air dry, separate your hair and go over each section with your flat iron. Just remember to let your flat iron heat up first—most of them will heat up to 400 degrees. And just like that, you’ll have the straight mane you wish were born with.
How long does it last?
Hate to burst your beauty bubble, but this option doesn’t last forever. Unless your sleek do is ruined by sweat or humidity first, your flat locks will go away once you lather, rinse and repeat. Also, don’t be surprised if you wake up after a night of straight hair to less-than-perfect locks. To maintain your hair between washes, touch up your mane with your trusty flat iron.
How much does it cost?
With a range of prices, scoring a flat iron that fits your budget is usually no big feat. However, price isn’t the only aspect to consider—all flat irons are not created equal. “Metal flat irons are less expensive and way more damaging,” says hairstylist Miguel Moreno. Instead, Moreno suggests a ceramic flat iron. “Ceramic flat irons use a ceramic plate,” says Moreno. “They heat up evenly and are less damaging.” If you’re looking for the best type of flat iron out there, our expert says that tourmaline straighteners reign superior. Back up—tourma-what? Though these flat irons use ceramic plates, tourmaline- which is a mineral- offers the least damaging results. “Tourmaline releases negative ions when heated,” says Moreno. “These negative ions are less damaging to the hair cuticle, allowing for a smooth and shiny finish without pulling or breaking hair.” The result? “Your hair can become up to three times smoother and silkier than when using an ordinary ceramic iron while cutting your hair straightening time in half,” says Moreno. Please take a moment to gush over this dream product.
So you know what types of flat irons you should – and should not- be looking for, but what about specific models? Never fear, collegiettes, Moreno reveals his top picks:
Spend: Helen of Troy ceramic flat iron at Sally’s Beauty Supply ($33)
Save: GVP black ceramic flat iron at Sally’s Beauty Supply ($59)
Splurge: CHI tourmaline flat iron at Ulta ($129-$199)
Before you have a flat iron delivered to your dorm, let’s see what this procedure will do to your hair.
- It’s affordable: Since, flat irons are available at bevy of different price points, you’ll probably be able to find one that fits your budget. Even if you don’t want to spend your money on a flat iron, there’s a pretty good chance that someone in your dorm has one that you can borrow.
- You can do it yourself: Rest assured, collegiettes, flat ironing your hair is by no mean mission impossible. Unless you’re extremely unlucky with warm products, most people can use a straightener. Just make sure to have your roommate check your flat iron job – nothing’s more embarrassing than missing a section of hair.
- It fries your hair: You know how much your cringe whenever your mom tells you that she used to straighten her hair with a clothes iron? You’re basically doing the same thing to your locks, minus the ironing board. Decrease the damage by using a hair serum before you straighten your mane. “Hair serums protect the hair from heat damage and smooth your hair while blow drying,” explains Moreno. “My favorites are Moroccan Oil’s Treatment and Moroccan Oil Treatment Light for blondes. A less expensive option is Paul Mitchell’s Gloss Drops.” Though a serum won’t completely prevent hair damage, your hair will thank you for taking proper precautions.
- You’ll see the damages: If your hair is damaged, people will probably be able to notice it. “If you’re not getting regular trims every six weeks, you are likely to see pretty extensive damages,” notes Moreno. For Hannah Franke, a junior at Boston University, using a flat iron was all fun and games until she noticed those dreaded ends. “I started straightening my hair in high school because I didn’t know how to style my wavy hair without making it frizzy,” recalls Hannah. “I was extremely happy with the results until I started to notice some definite dead and split ends. After that, I bought some mousse and let my hair go natural.” With horrific ends, you may embrace your frizzy locks with open arms.
- It’s not permanent: At first, straightening your hair every day doesn’t seem like a major burden. The price of beauty, right
- It may take a while: While flat ironing your hair is usually quicker than other options, a good straightening job probably won’t take ten minutes. Although taking the time out of your busy schedule seems fine now, you’ll probably resent your flat iron when you’re already in a rush to get ready.
Option 2: Blow-drying with a round brush
What is it?
In the event you’re searching for an arm workout as well as a new hair straightening regime, look no further. While your hair is still wet from the shower, separate your hair into small sections – you can use large hair clips to make sure two sections don’t merge into one large piece. Wrap one section- usually, the sections at the bottom of your head are easier to dry first- around your large round brush. Use one of your hands to aim the blow dryer at the brush while the other hand will pull the round brush away from your head, which unwinds the hair on the brush. Once you’re done with the first chunk of hair, repeat with every other section. But let’s be honest: we had you at “new arm workout.”
How long does it last?
Unless your hair has a tragic encounter with humidity (ie: sweat), or your locks cannot hold a straight ‘do, a blowout usually lasts until you wash it out in the shower. “I say a couple days if you don’t sleep like a crazy person,” concludes Moreno. If your hair has some difficulty keeping a blowout, coat your locks with some hairspray—it makes your blowout last longer!
How much does it cost?
Similar to our flat iron option, it’s usually easy to find a blow dryer and round brush that fit your price range; however, it’s also important to do your research on a potential purchase. “Look for [blow dryers] with ceramic or tourmaline plates in the coils,” suggests Moreno. With a quick web search, you’ll be able to see which ones are better for your hair. Or you can just take a peek at Moreno’s top pick:
Save: GVP blow dryer at Sally’s Beauty Supply ($40)
Spend: Solano blow dryer at Ulta ($130)
Splurge: Chi touch screen blow dryer at Amazon (Usually $299, but check other websites for special deals)
As for the round brush, Moreno suggests using a ceramic brush, which will evenly spread and hold heat longer .
- It’s less damaging than other procedures: Though no treatment yields damage-free results, our expert says that this pick is generally less damaging than others. “It’s a lot less damaging because you’re cutting out one major step,” says Moreno, and that step is using the flat iron. Since some chemical procedures also use a flat iron, strictly bow-drying your hair with a brush is a healthier alternative.
- It’s affordable: With an array of blow dryers and round brushes to choose from, it’s easy to find affordable tools. Just make sure your picks adhere to Moreno’s guidelines.
- Your hairdo will have more body: Just admit it: you’re secretly jealous of those collegiettes who have straight and voluminous hair. You know, the sleek mane with a soft curl at the ends? “How do they do it?” you ask yourself as your stalk their formal pictures on Facebook. You don’t have to envy them for long—blow drying your hair straight will usually give your hair more body. “You can get a lot more depth in the style when you use a round brush,” says Moreno. But what if you want to nix the bounce? “If you just want to straighten the hair, you can use a paddle brush with the blow dryer,” suggests Moreno. Versatility—we like it!
- You can do it by yourself: Similar to using a flatiron, you don’t have to go to the salon for this option! If you have the tools, you can accomplish an enviable blowout in your dorm. With some practice, your hair may have that “just left the salon” look.
- It’s not permanent: Though this pick is less damaging than other techniques, a blowout is only temporary. Not only is blow dying each section every time you want a straight mane tedious, the blow dryer’s noise will make it hard to multitask (a.k.a watching Revenge while straightening your hair). The woes of beauty, collegiettes.
- It’s time consuming: Though your hair’s texture and length will dictate the timeframe, this option generally takes longer than a flat iron job. Just make sure you have the time to blowout your hair—a subpar job is not cute.
- You’re time limited: Unlike using a flatiron, you have to straighten your hair when your locks are wet. The limited time frame makes it more inconvenient – a couple minutes on Pinterest can ruin your whole look. Stressful, right?
- You may not get the results you hoped for: Depending on your hair’s original texture, this process may result in excess frizz and you may decide to flat iron the beauty faux pas away. So much for nixing the iron!