Beauty

Cleaning your hair straighteners is a thing and here’s why you need to do it

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You’re probably diligent about cleaning your makeup brushes, but do you take the same care with your hair tools?

We’re guessing: no.

It will come as no surprise to you that your straighteners get a certain amount of product buildup over time. How could they not, when you are using heat protectant and about a bazillion other products to get that totally smooth finish and to keep your ‘do in place for the duration of the day?

But what this means is you’re probably not getting the best result when it comes to straightening and styling your hair. Let’s put it this way: You wouldn’t use a makeup brush with product buildup on your freshly cleansed face, so why would you run your dirty hair straighteners through your clean hair?

According to Katie Hook, creative director of Auckland hair salon Loxy’s, you definitely should be cleaning your tools on the reg, and there are a number of reasons why.

Firstly, she explains, it makes your straighteners work better. “A buildup of excess product covering the hot plates can stop your straighteners performing at their best,” she says.

Secondly, there’s plain old respecting your tools and giving them a longer life: “They’re an expensive tool you want them to be at their optimum at all times.”

And lastly – and most importantly – cleaning your straighteners gives you better hair and lessens the potential for damage. “Built-up product stops the straighteners gliding gently through the hair, which makes it more difficult to style. It can also transfer old burnt products onto the hair,” she says.

We’re sure that’s not something anyone would want.

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As for how often you should clean them, Katie says it depends on how often you use them, and the sort of product you apply to your hair beforehand. Sticky sprays or pastes are more likely to grab onto the hot plates and burn, much like old bits of food cooking hard onto your stove top. “For daily use I’d recommend cleaning them once a week, or if you’re using heaps of hairspray then clean them every time you use them,” says Katie.

How to clean your straighteners or other heated tools:

1. Ensure your straighteners are unplugged and then gently rub the plates with a warm damp cloth or towel. Pay special attention to the edges where the plates meet the plastic wand, as this is where a lot of product gets stuck.

2. If you’ve got stubborn bits or you’d simply like to disinfect as you go, Katie recommends wiping over with rubbing alcohol such as meths or isopropyl alcohol, which can be found cheaply at any chemist.

3. For really stubborn build-up, try cleaning your straighteners while they’re still warm, as the extra warmth will help loosen firmly caked on product.

4. Try to repeat this process once a month, to avoid buildup happening in the first place. If you use a lot of product, then try to clean them more frequently – preferably every time you use them.

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