Addicted to Your Hair Straightener? Here’s How to Prevent Damage

We’re going to be real. Hair straighteners can damage your hair, especially if it’s already dry or broken.

But this doesn’t mean you have to break down and ghost your straightener this very second.

Save yourself the heartbreak of withdrawal by following our tips on how to prevent hair damage from straightening.

how to prevent hair damage from straightening_Cloud Nine The Wide Ironhow to prevent hair damage from straightening_Cloud Nine The Wide Iron

Do hair straighteners damage your hair?

Hair straighteners can damage your hair if you don’t take important steps to protect your locks first.

Do you hear a sizzle? If this is a common noise when straightening your hair, it means your hair is too wet.

Straightening wet hair causes the moisture in your strands to boil and blister the hair’s cuticle (ouch!). This leads to damaged hair after straightening, which shows up as breakage and split ends.

Sometimes the damage isn’t super extreme or obvious like breakage. It can be more subtle like your hair looking dull, or frizz that slowly starts to get worse and worse.

High heat from a straightener can do that to hair because it dries out the hair’s cuticle.

If you start to notice and stay on top of it, your hair could be totally fine.

But if you notice, and kinda ignore it (cos who wants to give up their straightener, right?!), it could lead to damaging the inner layer of the hair, called the cortex, which means your hair will find it harder to cope with breakage, colouring, or heat styling in the future.

How to prevent hair damage from straightening

Ok, that kinda felt like we told you a scary tale around the campfire. But it’s important for you to know the whole story when it comes to hair straighteners.

The good news is that you can easily put in place some steps to prevent damaged hair after straightening.

First up, ensure that you’re drying your hair properly before using hot tools.

Like we said above, hearing that crack and sizzle of hair is definitely not a sound we’re looking for when straightening.

It’s no big deal though, just take a few mins to blow-dry your hair or if that’s not your thing,  wait for your hair to dry naturally.

Next, use a heat protectant before straightening your hair to help it resist those high heats. Think of a heat protectant as a security blanket for your strands to ward off damage.

These products make the perfect teammate to one of our best non damaging hair straighteners below.

Finally, give your hair a little loving care. A face mask is great, but we’re betting you often forget about your hair, which is crying out for some attention (like that needy dude who still Snapchats you every Saturday night).

Each week, pop on a thick, creamy hair mask like Kérastase Résistance Thérapiste Masque—a surefire way how to prevent hair damage from straightening.

How often can I straighten my hair without damaging it?

We always get asked, ‘Do hair straighteners damage your hair?’ The inevitable second question is, ‘How often can I straighten my hair without damaging it?’

We’re gonna tell it to you straight. Unless you won the genetic lottery and have damage-proof hair, excessive straightening always results in some form of damaged hair after straightening.

If, like many people, you have a tendency to over-wash your hair, that means you have to straighten your locks every morning.

This cycle of dependency is something to avoid. If you’re wondering, ‘How often can I straighten my hair without damaging it?’

Ideally, you’d be washing and straightening your hair every other day. Try to give your hair some days off from the shampoo and straightener.

If that sounds like a nightmare for you, instead of washing your hair, freshen your strands with a dry shampoo to see you through.

If you simply *cannot* skip a day of straightening, then ensure you do so no more than once per day. And never use other heated stylers on the same day. (We’ll give you a pass if you’re rocking the red carpet!)

A key tip on how to prevent hair damage from straightening is to straighten small sections of hair at a time. It can be so tempting to try big sections at a time to straighten your hair faster, but it’s inefficient as the iron can’t get to all your strands.

This sounds like such a minor tip we know, but using small sections ensures that you swipe each strand only once with your flat iron, which can reduce potential damage. If you need to go over your hair many times, there’s an issue. It could be that:

  • the hair straightener isn’t right for your hair type

  • you’re applying too little heat

  • the sections of hair are too large

After putting so much effort into your cute coif, it’s important to preserve your style. Resist the urge to put your hair in a ponytail or bun overnight (think bumps and creases).

Instead, opt for a silk scarf to cover and protect your straightened tresses. We're in love with the Silke London Hair Wrap


How to avoid heat damage when straightening natural hair

Your hair saviour is a good thermal protectant, which builds a barrier between your hair and the straightener. A heat protectant is a must—like sunscreen for your hair.

You wouldn’t face the scorching sun without sunscreen, right?

Some protectants are even activated by the heat from your straightener to infuse your hair with moisture. So, these products are a great option for how to avoid heat damage when straightening natural hair.

Here's some of our fave heat protectants

A thermal protectant can sound fancy, but it’s a really simple way to protect your hair while styling. Ideal for normal to fine hair, ghd Straight & Smooth Spray contains ghd's unique heat protect system. This lightweight spray helps eliminate frizz during blow drying. How to prevent hair damage from straightening: just pray on damp or dry hair from roots to tips before the hot tools come out to play. Comb or brush through to distribute evenly along your locks and start styling! This great all-rounder can give you flowing, shiny hair like you’ve never seen.

KEVIN.MURPHY Heated Defense is another great option when you’re dying to know how to prevent hair damage from straightening. This weightless foam offers protection up to 230°C from heat-styling tools plus a lil nurturing from Jojoba and Castor oils which moisturise strands that may become dry from your straightener addiction (shh we promise not to tell anyone!)

Have you been a bit rough with your hair lately? We all go through phases of trying new styles, different colours or a complete reinvention, but it can result in your looks feeling damaged or over processed. If your hair needs some extra nourishment, Christophe Robin Regenerating Serum with Prickly Pear Oil is perfect for you. Bonus: this vegan and cruelty-free hair serum contains 94% natural-origin ingredients. How to avoid heat damage when straightening natural hair? Pump a little bit into your palms to warm it up. Then, smooth the serum through your mid-lengths and ends. Now you can avoid damaged hair after straightening.

The Kérastase Genesis Défense Thermique is an ideal heat protectant spray for those who have hair weakened by heat damage. This lightweight, hydrating formula protects hair from temperatures of up to 220°C. Edelweiss Native Cells and Ginger Root fortify and strengthen the hair with their protective properties. Create beautiful hair styles with this enhancing spray that leaves hair soft and super smooth. This blow dry spray also helps to protect the hair from further damage.



The best straighteners to prevent damage

You can choose from tonnes of different straighteners these days, it can feel like a never ending scroll fest.

But how do you know which ones will caress your locks as opposed to scorching them? To prevent hair damage from straightening, opt for a hot iron that offers an adjustable heat setting.

This lets you control the amount of heat you’re using and work your way up the thermostat if needed.

Here's some of our fave straighteners...

There’s always that one friend that needs the best and newest products. If that’s you, you  won’t think twice about nabbing this straightener. With the Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener you get intelligent heat control. This beauty has 3 precise heat settings: 165°C, 185°C, and 210°C. How to prevent hair damage from straightening? Pick the lowest temperature to suit your hair type and texture, and you’ll avoid the effects of overheating. The Dyson Corrale also features innovative, flexible plates that shape to gather hair, so you can style with less heat and time (we told you that you would love it!).

The ghd gold professional hair styler features dual-zone technology for consistent heat regulation - two heat sensors instead of one to control the heat from root to tips - perfect for the control freaks who want to be on-point with their heat. The best non damaging hair straightener, this one features contoured floating plates. It also has 25s heat up time so you can get straight to it.

A great pick when straightening natural hair, the Cloud Nine The Original Iron has 3 heat settings and an LED panel to show you the temperature. We think it’s the best non damaging hair straightener because its Ceramic-coated plates minimise drag and friction on the hair to help prevent breakage. Plus, this True Blue tool is Australian-made and cruelty-free. How to avoid heat damage when straightening natural hair? Avoid overusing heat by choosing the lowest option first. Work your way up only if needed.



You likely started this read wondering, ‘Do hair straighteners damage your hair?’ Well, I hope we’ve cleared things up for you!

The takeaways for how to prevent hair damage from straightening:

  • Straighteners are amazing tools, but you have to use them correctly to keep your hair safe.

  • Always use a thermal protector on your luscious locks to stop them from being singed.

  • Use the lowest temperature possible.

  • Give your hair some days off to recuperate from all the styling.

  • For an added bonus, pop on a hydrating mask every weekend. Your hair will thank you for it!




Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.




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