How to Straighten Your Hair Without Burning It

by Kathy Mayse ; Updated July 18, 2017

Flat irons cause damage and singed ends if used improperly.

Chris Bartow/iStock/Getty Images

Hair damage at the salon is almost always caused by thermal styling to straighten hair, resulting in white, split and singed ends. Daily straightening at home, while possible, causes problems for people with fine, easily damaged hair. For others, damage involves the amount of time the straight iron is pressed on the hair; excessive heat settings; or dragging the iron along the hair shaft. Learn to straighten your hair carefully so you don't damage it.

Dry hair completely using the "cool" setting on your blow dryer. Check hair for moisture by running your fingers through it. Continue drying if damp spots remain. Do not try to straighten until your hair is completely dry.

Turn on the flat iron and adjust the temperature to the lowest possible setting. Comb through your hair to remove tangles and spray it with a protective thermal styling spray.

Carve out a 1/2-inch-by-2-inch section of hair. Comb through the section and hold it out from your scalp. Clamp the section of hair at the base, close to the scalp, with the flat iron using minimal pressure. Slide the flat iron smoothly and quickly along the hair to the ends of the section in a fluid motion.

Inspect the section of hair for straightness. Increase the temperature setting on the flat iron if necessary. Continue to increase flat iron temperature in increments until you find the lowest possible temperature that will straighten your hair.

Continue straightening the hair section by section until all of it is straightened. Style it and spray with finishing spray. Unplug the iron, but keep the temperature dial at the proper setting for next time.


  • Select an iron with ceramic or tourmaline heating plates. Avoid metal plates, which cause more damage.

    Select an iron with a temperature dial. Simple low, medium and high settings will not work. Instead, look for an iron with precision heat settings that allow you to adjust temperature by the degree.

    It is not uncommon to see billowing steam when using naturally moist heating plates made out of ceramic and tourmaline.


Photo Credits

  • Chris Bartow/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Kathy Mayse began her writing career as a reporter for "The Jackson-County Times Journal" in 2001. She was promoted to assistant editor shortly after. Since 2005, she has been busy as a successful freelancer specializing in Web content. Mayse is a licensed cosmetologist with more than 17 years of salon experience; most of her writing projects reflect this experience.