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Is Your Flat Iron Too Hot to Handle?

As tempting as it is to just pick the highest setting on hot tools in hopes of saving time with maximum sleekness, deep down you know the damage it causes. While healthy hair can better hold up to the heat, thin or chemically treated hair should turn it down a notch. Or several notches.

Even though many flat irons have built-in temperature settings in degrees, others simply list ranges from low to high. If you're operating with a tool with no thermostat, there's a simple test to make sure your iron is hot enough . . . but not too hot to handle. Curly Bella witnessed her stylist do this simple test with thermal irons on her last visit. Find out how to do this at home and


  • Tear a small piece of tissue paper, big enough to fit inside the tool but with a little extra to hold. Mist the center lightly with a water spritzer (three squirts max).
  • Place the paper between the heating plates or against the comb for five to 10 seconds.
  • When it's ready to go, the paper should come out dry, but clean. If it's still damp, wait a few minutes before retesting.
  • If it's too hot, you will see smoke and scorching or other discoloration on the paper. Turn it down!
  • Source: Jenny Cestnik

Join The Conversation
SalescoopCat SalescoopCat 8 years
Thank you so much for those tips! I can't wait to test out my CHI flat iron and see if it is too hot for my hair. I have very thick and healthy hair right now, and the last thing I would would want is to ruin it by using too much heat while processing! Also, I've heard a few times that it is better to go over pieces more slowly, and at a lower temp, than go over them at hyper speed at the highest temperature.
BallonDoggy BallonDoggy 8 years
I do most of my straightening on 370, but for the final pass over on the top I kick it up to about 415 to really smooth it out. But I only pass over once with it that high.
sparkleluvr sparkleluvr 8 years
Great info, thanks for this post! :-)
akosijen akosijen 8 years
oops i meant to say 390
skigurl skigurl 8 years
mine goes up well into the 400s but i use it between 340 and 390 and i have healthy, untreated, non-african american but very curly hair
abs0lutelyfab abs0lutelyfab 8 years
If you still have your instruction booklet that came with your flat iron, it should list that info. I have medium texture, wavy African American hair, and I usually stay under 370 degrees. I hope this helps!
akosijen akosijen 8 years
does anyone know what a good temperature would be? I just got a new flat iron with temp settings, which i currently have on 490 (it goes up to 460 i think). I have fine asian hair. Thanks!
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