Anyone who uses hot hair irons, whether hair professional or consumer, may at some point experience a burn.
Whether a hot hair iron just grazes your skin or leaves a serious mark, they can hurt.
Hot irons can literally burn the hair right off at the roots. Whether you sustain a hot hair iron burn to your scalp, ears, skin, fingers, arms or hands, or to your hair, they are no laughing matter.
Hot hair iron burns even make the news. In 2010 pop star Rhianna made global news when she burned her forehead hot curling her then red tresses.
Not one to hide her pain, she tweeted "New hair....new curling iron BURN...damn 5head always in the way."
The '5head' is Rihanna's playful way of referring to her rather large forehead.
The beauty managed to fix her hair so the hot hair iron burns were hidden before performing at the New York State Fair later on.
It's always best to avoid hot hair iron burns, but short of selling your irons online, what are your options to avoid this danger?
Listed below are some tips on how to avoid hot hair iron burns on your scalp, ears, skin, fingers, hands and/or hair:
1. Know your iron - When using a hot iron for the first time, spend some time before you switch on the power getting to know the iron.
2. Read the instructions - Try it out in your hand and practice on your hair while it's still cool. This will help you become comfortable with any iron which will ultimately minimize potential burns.
3. Don't rush - A lot of hot iron users report they are most often burned when rushing their styling treatments.
When using a hot tool near your face always take your time and pay close attention to what you're doing.
It'll prevent a lot of unnecessary accidents.
4. Use the professional comb trick - Many hair pros will insert a thin plastic heat resistant comb between the scalp and/or hair and the hot tool.
A basic heat resistant comb which is about 1/8th of an inch thick will work perfectly. The comb works to block the heat, but isn't a big enough barrier to block the iron's access to hair and/or roots.
Note: It's very important to use a heat resistant comb if you try the comb trick. A melted comb stuck in your strands offers a completely different set of challenges.
5. Start cool and work to hot - Never start at the highest temperature setting on the iron. Always start at the bottom and slowly work your way up to higher heats. This gives both your tresses and your skin a chance to slowly adapt to the temperature changes.
6. Prep hair properly - Whenever possible, to prevent unnecessary hair burns, prep your strands with a heat protective serum, gel, cream or similar.
A good heat protectant product goes a long way to preventing any type of short or long term heat damage.
7. Try a glove - If you opt to use irons without a clip, always wear a protective heat styling glove.
If you find the gloves too awkward try other options.
To avoid burning fingers and hands, consider using an iron with a clip. Even if you wrap hair over the clip, you'll have a barrier between your fingers, hair and iron.
8. Go with the iron flow - When using a flat iron, keep the iron movements fluid through the hair to avoid unnecessary burn risks. Start at the roots and glide the iron down to the ends.
Don't stop at any particular point along the way from the roots to the ends. When you pause while flat ironing, not only do you risk over heating sections of the hair, you may leave unsightly marks.
9. Count to 4 or 5 - It's often difficult to determine the actual heat of a curling iron barrel. To avoid burning hair, fingers or face, never allow the iron to remain wrapped in any one section for more 4 or 5 seconds. When in doubt count up to 4 or 5 and release.
When in doubt whether hair has been properly heated, lightly touch the outside of the hair. It the outside is warm, immediately release the iron.
10. Hands off at all times - Never ever touch any type of hot iron (flat, curling, crimping) with your bare fingers or hands. Never apply a hot iron to your scalp, forehead or skin.
11. Keep it clean - Always keep your hot tools clean. When hot tools become clogged with prior styling products, they no longer work as efficiently. When irons are clogged they may have bursts of unexpected heat putting you more at risks for burns.
12. Go smaller - When you have very short sections of hair or challenging textures consider using more than one hot tool to address those special needs.
One reason many people sustain hair, forehead, scalp or skin burns is because they try to heat style hair sections with regular sized irons rather than smaller or thinner irons.
13. Dry it first - Always make sure your hair is 100% dry before heat styling unless your hot tool specifically states it is a wet-to-dry iron.
If you use a hot iron on hair which is not 100% dry, when the hot tool hits a wet spot, hot steam forms and may burn adjacent hair or skin.
14. Spacing is everything - When using a wet-to-dry hot tool keep the tool approximately 1/2 to 1 inch away from the scalp.
Instead of using the hot tool all the way down to the tip of the roots, use a blow dryer for the overlapping hair to prevent possible scalp burns.
Summary - Avoid Hot Hair Iron Burns
Whether you're a famous celebrity like Rihanna or a hair consumer who loves to use hot tools, it's important to always follow the rules listed above to avoid unnecessary burns to your hair, scalp, face, ears, fingers or hands.
If you have babies or young children in the house, always make sure all hot tools are out of their reach and turned off when not in use.
Ironically hot irons can also burn countertops, floors, bed lines and a myriad of other household furnishings. Always make sure you either position your hot iron in a cooling station or use a special hot iron bag or pad.
Dealing with any type of hot hair tool requires full attention to detail and safety precautions.