The concept of wet-to-dry flat irons may seem somewhat counter-intuitive. Most advice regarding flat irons seems to accentuate the need for hair to be bone dry before using hot equipment.
However, celebrity hair stylist Abraham Sprinkle and many others vouch for the validity of wet to dry flat irons when they’re used correctly, and how useful they can be. It is important, however, to choose a high-quality tool to suit your needs in order to prevent heat damage that can occur from lesser models. Here we discuss the best wet-to-dry flat irons and how to use them.
Comparison of the Best Wet-to-Dry Flat Irons
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Wet vs. Dry Flat Irons
Using a regular dry flat iron on wet hair can be extremely damaging. It causes the water molecules inside the hair to expand and become gaseous. This causes them to burst out of the hair, causing the hairs to shatter. This is the crackling sound you hear when you use a regular flat iron on wet hair.
Dry flat irons work quite simply, with two ceramic or titanium plates that heat to high temperatures. This is slowly worked down dry hair to give sleek smoothness. While this seems simple, they cannot be used on your hair straight from the shower, meaning you must either use a hair dryer or wait for it to dry. Both of these options are time-consuming, with the added issue of more exposure to heat when you frequently use a blow dryer as well as a flat iron.
However, wet-to-dry flat irons can save you time by cutting out the stage of blow-drying. Using a different technology, wet-to-dry flat irons enable you to straighten your hair while it still contains moisture. They work using steam-extraction technology. Ventilating the steam produced by the heat counteracts the heat of the blades while humidifying the hair at the same time. This helps ; prevent a flash burn. Therefore it also helps to keep the hair moisturized as well as saving time.
How to Choose a Great Wet-to-Dry Flat Iron
When choosing a wet-to-dry flat iron, it is important to consider the different features. Firstly, make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions. You’ll find that some wet to dry models need the hair to be 80% dry. If these models are used on very wet hair, they will break the hair strands, leaving the hair burned and damaged. Depending on your needs, you may want to select a flat iron that allows you to have wetter hair, reducing the need to blow dry at all.
Secondly, while some models have titanium blades, titanium is more harsh on the hair. Despite the protection from the steam technology in wet-to-dry flat irons, it is safer to use a ceramic blade with tourmaline technology to help lock in the moisture and protect the hair from damage.
The tourmaline technology releases negative ions that counteract the positive ions released from the hair, helping to smooth the hair and prevent brittleness. This is especially true for those with thin or damaged hair; ceramic blades will act as a better protector for heat damage.
Depending on your styling preferences, consider the outer edge of the flat iron. Those with rounded edges are easier to use as curling irons as well as straighteners. Equally, the plate width will make a difference depending on your hair length and the way you would like to style it. Wider blades are better for longer hair and give wider curls and waves. Thinner blades can create tighter curls and are easier when styling short hair.
Another aspect is the temperature variation. With wet-to-dry flat irons, higher temperatures work better for wetter hair. The greater the temperature variation, the more ability the model has to style different levels of dampness, while also being more suitable for a variety of hair types. For people with fine or damaged hair, it is vital to explore options that have lower temperatures as well as higher temperatures. The high temperatures can damage vulnerable hair, despite the steam technology.
Review of the Best Wet-to-Dry Flat Irons
If you are considering purchasing a wet-to-dry flat iron, here some suggestions with pros and cons of each.
Remington Pro S7330
The Remington Pro S7330 features a unique steam vent system and 30 heat settings. This straightener is a heavy-duty option for varying hair types. It’s best to use a heat protector such as a soy-based conditioning spray when using this straightener; it works well with the ceramic-coated plates.
Infiniti Pro by Conair Wet / Dry Hot Air Styler
The Infinity Pro, though not a flat iron as such, is an interesting straightening and curling device for wet-to-dry hair. Best used with an argan oil protector spray, it features a “Triple Action Styling System” made of ceramic that detangles, straightens/curls, and makes the hair shine. It has a Tension Control Brush Head for ease of styling. It also features a 2-speed switch to control the temperature and a cool shot button to lock in style.
Best for the Money:
Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Wet/Dry Flat Iron; 1 1/2-inch
The Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Wet/Dry Flat Iron features 25 heat settings with highs of 400F. The 1.5 inch blades are made of titanium coated with ceramic. The unique steam ventilation system allows the flat iron to channel water away from the hair to dry while styling.
4. Remington S7310 Wet 2 Straight Hair Straightener
The Remington S7310 features 1-inch ceramic/titanium blades that can style both wet and dry hair. The steam ventilation system removes moisture from the hair, supported by the 30 varying temperature settings. It is best to use a protector straightening mist with this as it reaches quite high temperatures.
5. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated
The BaBylissPRO Nano is an ultra-slim flat iron with a ventilation system that enables users to straighten damp hair. This model features a 5-inch by 1.5-inch plate that can operate on 50 different heat settings.
Hair Care Tips When Using a Wet-to-Dry Flat Iron
Make sure that you read the instructions first to be sure to understand how wet your hair can be. Some wet-to-dry flat irons are only recommended on slightly damp hair. Make sure to towel dry your hair first to remove any excess water which could lead to flash burns and breakage if large amounts of water evaporate extremely quickly. Also, towel drying reduces the amount of heat you will be using on your hair, instead of using a blow dryer as well as a straightener.
Take care to choose the right temperature for your hair type. High heats can still be damaging and lead to hair loss and follicle damage, especially if you have fine hair and you use a wet-to-dry flat iron frequently.
Be aware that your scalp will still be damp after using the flat iron. This may make your hair appear a little limp afterward. You can use a blow dryer to lift the roots. Alternatively a little mousse rubbed into the scalp will do the same trick.
While using a wet-to-dry flat iron, avoid continuously straightening one strand. Sometimes it may take a few tries to straighten each strand. Try working with one piece, and moving on, returning to give that piece a second run only when it has cooled down.
How to Use a Wet-to-Dry Flat Iron
Regardless of the whether your flat iron is wet-to-dry or dry, here are a few steps to follow to ease your user experience.
- Separate your hair into 4 parts, making it easier to deal with one section at a time.
- Detangle each section before you work on it. Use a brush if your hair is dry. But use a comb if your hair is wet, as a comb with stop the hair from stretching and breaking.
- Take an 1.5 inch-wide piece of hair and pinch it into the straighteners near the scalp.
- Slowly move the straightener down the hair, keeping it perpendicular to the section you are working with. Make sure to keep the flat iron tightly closed while moving it in one consistent motion. Stopping and starting can cause the ridges in the hair.
- At the end of the hair, keeping the straightener square to the hair will give a pin-straight look. By curving your straightener slightly under, this will give a rounded feel that bends under the chin. Equally, you can flick your hair outward at the bottom by curving your flat iron away from yourself at the ends.
Flat irons are the ideal tool for creating sleek smoothness, whether curling or straightening. Wet-to-dry flat irons help save time while also protecting the hair from the double heat exposure to both a blow dryer and a flat iron. For those with busy schedules, this is a perfect choice to ease your day.
After using a wet-to-dry flat iron, try rubbing a little mousse in your palms, and slicking it through your hair. This will counteract any final frizz and hold your style for longer.