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Close-up of a Great Clips stylist straightening a customer's hair with a flat iron

8 tips for protecting your hair when heat styling

What does it take for your hair to look that good? For some lucky folks, just a quick shower, head-shake and air-dry does the trick. For others, it takes a little bit of heat.

At Great Clips®, stylists are big fans of a finished, polished style. And if applying additional heat is required, they are ready to plug in at their stations for a styled service. Flat irons, curling irons and hair dryers are some of our best friends, and are devices that you’ll find at Great Clips hair salons. But, despite how great they make you look, they can wreak havoc on your hair if you’re not careful.

We’re not asking you to give up heat styling all together, but here are our tips to make sure your hair stays healthy and stylish.

Start at the beginning

Start saving your hair from heat before you even put heat on it—in the shower. You may enjoy a hot shower, but make sure to rinse out your strengthening shampoo and moisturizing conditioner with cool water to lock in moisture. After you get out of the shower, use a brush with soft bristles, as wet hair is more prone to breakage and your plastic-bristled brush may be too harsh for damp locks.

Pro tip: Use your fingers to dry your hair. Your body will absorb the extra moisture, making your hair dry faster. We also recommend drying from the root down to help seal the hair cuticles.

Use a heat protectant spray before you heat

You wouldn’t put on sunscreen after you’d already spent six hours in the sun, right? The same goes for your hair. Before you overwhelm it with heat, give it the protection it needs to withstand it. We recommend Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator and Solutions by Great Clips Glossing Multi-Task Cream.

Everything in moderation

Just because your styling tool goes up to 400 degrees doesn’t mean that you should use it at 400 degrees. We recommend using styling tools that have adjustable heat settings, identifying the temperature that works best for your hair, and only using any type of hot iron after your hair is dry. Use the lowest possible heat setting that you can while still getting the desired results. Thick, curly or course hair may require a higher temperature setting, while those with thin or straight hair will likely get the results they’re looking for with a lower heat setting.

Go fast!

Don’t hold heat to your hair longer than you have to. The longer you have that curling iron clamped onto your hair the more damage it can do. This goes for flat irons as well. Try to use it in a way that you don’t have to run the flat iron over the same section of hair more than once. Running a heat-styling device over the same section of hair repeatedly will dry it out and cause damage to fragile ends. Play around with the heat settings to see where it needs to be so that you can get the look you want on the first pass.

Keep an eye on and maintain the ends

The first part of your hair that will show damage are the ends. This part of your hair is subject to drying out and splitting very quickly. And if the ends of your hair are starting to look damaged, it’s likely that the rest of your hair isn’t too happy. Treat the damage when you find it. We recommend Solutions by Great Clips Deep Moisturizing Balm

Get a trim

Whether you’re trying to grow your hair out or maintain a certain length, getting regular trims is important, especially for those who heat style. Minimize split ends, dryness and breakage by heading to the salon regularly for trims so you can keep heating to your heart’s content.

Air-dry when you can

Having a lounge day at home? Thinking about rocking your natural hair? Try air-drying! Get out of the shower, apply some nourishing oil, mousse or gel, give it a shake and walk out the door. Natural is beautiful—and safe!

Blast it with cold air

When you wash your face and hair, it’s recommended that you rinse with cold water in order to close up pores and lock in moisture. The same goes for when you blow dry. Almost every blow dryer comes with a “cold” button, which blasts cold air. As you blow dry, mix it up by pressing the cold air button. This helps keep moisture in your hair as you dry, protecting it from the heat of the blow dryer. It also helps retain your hair’s shape as you blow dry.

Pro tip: If round brushing while blow drying, give it a blast of cold air while your hair is still wrapped around the brush. This will help to set the hair and keep the volume and shine!

Your hair can take the heat, but it needs a little help. Head to your local Great Clips salon and ask your stylist about the best ways to protect, maintain and eliminate damage from heat styling.

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