The infrared flat iron is a leading technology for a flat iron, releasing infrared heat directly on the hair and getting the heat into the core of the hair.
Infrared flat irons, as opposed to traditional flat irons, use gentle heat to deeply perforate the hair and discharge negative ions to seal the natural moisture and keep your hair from becoming damaged and frizzy. In addition, these irons provide even and consistent heat to straighten hair without producing static.
Scroll down to learn more about the science behind infrared hair straighteners, things to consider before purchasing an infrared hair straightener, pros and cons, and tips when using an infrared hair straightener.
The Science Behind Infrared Hair Straighteners
What Is Infrared Heat?
Infrared heat, in particular, is the lowest wave of color that the human eye can see; it is a type of radiation (the opposite of UV). It interacts with ceramic plates to produce negative ions, stimulating oils within the hair shaft to rise to the surface.
What Are Negative Ions?
When ceramic or tourmaline is heated, it emits negative ions that cling to and remove dirt particles from the hair. Water from the air enters the hair and is trapped by the oil drawn to the hair’s surface. Moisture is thus locked into the hair during styling, reducing frizz and static.
You will notice steam coming from the hair. This is caused by the excess moisture that does not become trapped in the hair that causes it to steam up. Steam is the desired outcome because it indicates that the tool is functional.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing An Infrared Hair Straightener
1. Titanium Vs. Ceramic
Infrared irons with titanium plates effectively conduct heat and heat up quickly. They are appropriate for people who have thick or coarse hair. To straighten any hair, infrared irons with ceramic plates heat up rapidly and evenly. They also help to prevent frizz and static.
2. Plate Size
For thick and coarse hair, use an infrared straightener with wide plates. Plates with a one-inch thickness are suitable for medium or short hair (Read: How to use a flat iron on short hair).
If you want to flatten your bangs, use an infrared iron with a half-inch wide plate. Check out our flat iron sizes chart article to understand how to select your flat iron size correctly.
Infrared heat can penetrate deep into the hair cuticle, making the higher heat of traditional flat irons unnecessary. However, infrared irons with high-temperature ranges of up to 450° are still available. To avoid unnecessary damage, we recommend styling in the 360° to 380° range or slightly higher if your hair is thick or coarse. To understand temperature guides for a flat iron, read: Flat Iron Temperature Guide.
Pros of Using An Infrared Hair Straightener
- Digital controls: basic infrared irons have buttons or dials for selecting power and temperature. More advanced flat irons may have LCD displays or digital controls that make reading the temperature and determining whether the unit is hot easier.
- Swivel cord: For easier maneuvering, most infrared irons have a cord that can swivel 360°. This keeps the cord out of your way and eliminates the need to switch hands mid-styling session.
- Temperature settings: Standard infrared flat irons have fixed settings with limited temperature control. They may only offer low, medium, and high settings. Variable-setting infrared irons allow you to select the exact temperature in 10° to 30° increments.
- Pocket friendly: Prices for infrared flat irons range from $20 to $180. If you straighten your hair a few times weekly, a model priced between $50 and $115 is a good buy.
- Ideal for all global hair textures.
- When combined with keratin or straightening treatments, it is extremely beneficial.
- Recommended for chemically treated or processed hair.
Cons of Using An Infrared Hair Straightener
- Despite its numerous benefits, flat iron use is not without risk. They are as follows:
- Cuticles become damaged at temperatures above 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Flat ironing’s clamping and pulling action removes cuticles, permanently damaging the strands.
- The heat can also cause your scalp to dry out and flake.
- Using it on anything other than completely dry hair would harm the hair and possibly the flat iron.
Excessive use of an infrared hair straightener can result in the following:
- Split ends
- rough texture
- Hair fiber damage
- opacity and dryness
- Elastic strands
How to lessen and prevent the effects of Infrared Hair Straighteners
1. Moisturize your hair
Keeping the hair moisturized is essential for its upkeep. This is especially important if you use heat tools. Invest in quality hair products, particularly hair masks, and use them at least one time a week.
2. Use a leave-in heat protectant
Heat-protectant leave-ins contain technologies that help protect the locks from overheating. They come in various textures, including creams, oils, serums, sprays, and mousses. There are styles to suit every hair type and preference.
3. Make an informed choice
A good iron is an investment because it will protect your hair from being burned while providing a better look.
Tools with adjustable temperatures are also useful: you can adjust them to avoid overheating your hair.
4. Take care when ironing
Only iron the same strand once; Do not leave the iron on your strands for an extended time. Make quick and precise moves to achieve a good look and avoid damage.
To avoid mechanical damage from pulling on the hair too much, be gentle when drawing it through the flat iron clamps.
5. Regulate the Temperature
Women with fine hair should use a flat iron set to 360°F. Use a temperature setting range of 360 to 390 degrees for medium hair.
Temperature settings of 360 to 420 degrees are recommended for thick, coarse, or ripe hair with tight curls.
6. Avoid ironing frequently
Even if you like using flat irons, only use them once a week. It makes no difference how frequently you moisturize your hair; if you don’t give it time to recover, it will become damaged.
Note: Never use heat on damaged hair. It will only make it worse.