Bridal Beauty Timeline: 12 Months to Shiny, Healthy Hair


Turn Down the Heat

Watch it with the hair dryer. Those hot temps can damage your hair!
Watch it with the hair dryer. Those hot temps can damage your hair!
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You've heard the saying, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen"? Well, hair can't stand the heat -- not much, anyway. Hot water attacks sebum like a dishwasher de-greases a lasagna pan. Dry heat from blow dryers and styling irons delivers marshmallow-roasting temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Contact between a hot iron and wet hair can cause double-strength burns, combining dry heat with steam. The result can be a dry scalp, cracked cuticles and damaged hair.

The solution, then, is this: Keep hair out of the kitchen. Shampoo with the lukewarm water. Apply a conditioner before using hot hair appliances (dryers, irons) and exercise some control when applying the heat. Use the lowest setting needed -- thicker hair typically takes a higher setting than fine hair, for instance -- lest you fry your hair before styling it.

Did your blow dryer come with a diffuser and a concentrator? Then use them. The diffuser cools and spreads the airflow, and the concentrator directs it only to where it's needed. As a temperature test, try the dryer on your arm. If it's too hot for your skin, it's too hot for your hair.