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Do you still remember the first-generation steam hair straighteners? In the early 00’s, brands released bulky, spluttery devices often with crimp and wave attachments. And despite their primitive technology, those budding steam straighteners were a cult favourite amongst beauty enthusiasts to achieve stick-straight strands.
Today, the best steam hair straighteners come in various forms, from travel-friendly cordless devices, to blow dryer brushes, and chunky tools that make learning how to curl hair with a straightener as easy as ABC.
The main unique selling point of modern hair straighteners is by applying steam instead of direct to strands, this allows for an all-rounded, yet less damaging styling experience. Therefore, these tools are especially appealing to those with curly and fragile hair. If you are contemplating whether to invest in a steam straightener, this article will tell you why you should.
What are Steam Hair Straighteners?
Long story short, most steam hair straighteners utilize a combination of high-pressure steam generated by a built-in water reservoir and heated plates to straighten hair. What distinguishes them from regular straightener models is the guarantee that the steam offers a much gentler hair straightening experience.
Steam hair straighteners are designed to style hair while retaining the strands’ natural moisture, and thus, less damage. Regular flat irons, on the other hand, often rely on direct heat and advances in technology such as floating plates and intelligent heat detection.
What Hair Types are Steam Straighteners Suitable for?
Steam straighteners are most beneficial for curly and coily hair texture. Curls generally struggle to retain moisture, as natural oils travel less desirably from the root to the tip, hence the ends requiring more help to stay nourished. Besides, those with curly hair may be straightening their hair more often, and if they happen to have thick and long tresses as well, it can take extremely long to straighten the entire head—leaving fragile strands more susceptible to breakage.
Though steam straighteners are gentler to hair compared to any other type of flat iron, this does not mean you can reach for the device more frequently. Frequency, technique, and whether you use a heat protection for your hair are still key factors to ensuring healthy locks.
Are Steam Straighteners Better for Hair Than Traditional Straighteners?
Theoretically speaking, yes. Healthy hair comprises 97% protein and 3% water. Moisture loss can cause a breakdown in the protein structure and hence resulting in thinner, frizzier, and coarser hair. This can eventually lead to split ends and breakage. Regular hairstyling tools rid your hair of its moisture, therefore, leaving your hair vulnerable to damage.
On the contrary, steam hair straighteners are pro in boosting hair hydration. The steam opens up hair follicles and allows moisture to penetrate the hair shaft while styling. This results in less damage to the hair, yet a softer, glossier finish. They also tend to require less passes, with only one or two passes needed on each section.
Benefits Of Using Steam Hair Straighteners
Steam straighteners offer a multitude of benefits. First off, they do not dry out your hair as much as regular flat iron would, instead, they release steam that adds moisture to your hair, and hence enhancing its texture and shine. Unlike the latter, they do not cause excessive heat damage, resulting in less breakage and split ends.
Having said that, there are potential drawbacks, too. If you use a steam straightener incorrectly or hold it on your hair for longer than it should be, you can risk damaging your hair. Furthermore, excessive steam can make your hair appear frizzy or limp, and the constant non-vaporized water droplets may affect the steam straightener’s ability to straighten.
How to Use Steam Hair Straighteners Safely?
To avoid damaging your hair and your steam straightener, follow these tips:
- Hydrate your hair: Hydrating your hair prior to straightening with a rich conditioner will help minimize potential damage.
- Control steam production: Some steam hair straighteners give you control as to how much you would like the steam to be produced. Prioritize this feature when sourcing for a suitable device to avoid making your hair frizzy and limpy.
- Do not hold it on your hair for too long: Holding the straightener on your hair for long periods of time can easily cause damage. Be extra careful with the time you expose your hair to the steam.
So, do hair steam straighteners live up to the hype? The answer largely depends on how you make use of them. With proper usage and care, steam hair straighteners can bring more benefits than damage as opposed to regular flat irons. However, using them incorrectly can result in the opposite effect. Therefore, it is important to follow your manufacturer’s instructions when using the device.
1. What are the benefits of steam straighteners?
Steam-powered hair straighteners typically work more gently than their traditional counterparts. These devices leverage the power of steam, allowing moisture to penetrate your hair cuticle and help retain moisture as you pass the tool over your strands. This results in a smooth, shiny, frizz-free finish.
2. Can you use a steam hair straightener on wet hair?
To sum up, you should never straighten damp hair. Damp or wet hair is more vulnerable to damage since it leaves your hair more porous. Applying unnecessary heat to wet hair can cause breakage, frizz, and a change in texture.
3. Do steam straighteners cause heat damage?
Steam straighteners carry some distinctive advantages regular straighteners do not. They generally do not dry out the hair, and instead, the steam adds moisture, thus resulting in glossier and shinier finish.
4. Do you need a heat protectant for a steam straightener?
Yes, you still need a heat protectant even when you are using a steam straightener. View your hair the way you would your skin—it needs moisture to avoid becoming dry and brittle.
5. Are steam straighteners worth it?
Yes, a steam hair straightener makes a worthy investment as the steam helps to style your hair gentler. The steam also helps push the nourishing ingredients of your products deeper into your hair, helping you yield full benefits.