All Articles Tagged "electric hot comb"

What’s Better for Your Hair? Flat Iron vs. Hot Comb

April 19th, 2012 - By Kimberly Shorter
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My journey to the promised land of natural hair has been a path paved with many trials and errors, shampoos, conditioners, creams and oils. As I am learning to embrace and celebrate my natural hair in all its coil-y glory, I still like to wear my hair in a sleek, straight bob every now and then.

Enter my two BFFs: Hot Comb and Flat Iron.

I wasn’t always on good terms with the hot comb, having suffered scalp burns and trauma caused by many a styling ordeal during my childhood. Over the years, as hair styling techniques advanced and electric hot combs with heat settings became available, I let the hot comb back into my life, albeit slowly. Not knowing the tricks of the trade, I’ve singed myself and my hair more times than I care to remember.

Since I began my hair transition three years ago, I found myself relying more and more on my flat iron. Not knowing what to look for or the best way to use it to get my roots super-straight made styling my hair difficult. Still, I gave it a good ol’ college try and ended up watching my hair break, strand by strand. I assumed the breakage was caused by the heat on my hair.

What I didn’t know was that the kind of flat iron I was using was making matters worse. Over the years, I’ve amassed quite the collection of ceramic, “high-low” two-setting flat irons. I have black ones, blue ones, broken ones…you name it, I probably have it. According to Johnny Wright, SoftSheen-Carson artistic style director and celebrity stylist, the best flat irons are titanium-plated with variable heat settings. Wright recommends the Corioliss Baby SXE. It’s a smaller flat iron, because “it’s small enough to allow you to get as close to the hairline as possible without burning the scalp.”

Ceramic irons were once thought to be good. But if you look at the surface of a ceramic iron under a microscope, the surface was ridged like an orange peel. And that surface would cause friction on the air. The titanium-plated flat irons have a much smoother surface, and can straighten the hair in one pass, rather than the two or three passes it would take with a ceramic flat iron.

Don’t throw away that hot comb just yet. It still has its purpose. The hot comb is good for straightening hair around the perimeter of the head “to give the hair a straighter finish,” says Wright.

All this time I had it wrong. I would use the hot comb to straighten my roots, and then comb it through the hair for good measure (and torture). Then I would go over my hair with the flat iron over and over again until my hair was relatively straightened, or I got tired, whichever came first.

Wright recommends when you wash and blow-dry your hair, go ahead and set the iron on the highest setting your hair can handle. For those, like me, who flat iron their hair every day, turn down that flat iron!

Follow Kimberly Shorter on Twitter at @KimberlyWriter.

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Five Things You Should Know About Hot Combs

March 24th, 2011 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Can you recall the Easter Sunday’s of your childhood?
I surely can. Outside of creating eclectically painted eggs and putting on the freshest, most colorful inflated new dresses picked out by moms, a huge staple in our Easter morning ritual was an early date with the hot comb. Sitting on the stove cooking, you know the smell of a HOT hot comb from miles away. It smells like a cooked version of all the greases and hair aromas of those who use it.  My mother put the hot comb on our bangs mostly, so that they would be bumped to perfection and incredibly silky smooth thanks to all that heat and a side of Blue Magic hair grease. She’d also clean up our napes, and we were always told, “hold your ear!” However much we cringed at the steam rising, or the hiss and pop the hot comb made when it touched our strands, we always left the house looking fresher than a crisp $2 bill.

Times have changed, and if you ask most women these days if they own a hot comb (not their mothers), they’ll likely say no. Flat irons sort of came through and took over. But for women who want to occasionally have straight styles but aren’t partial to irons and have natural hair, some are kicking it old school with hot combs.  Sure, the stove top ones come with all the cautionary tales and warnings: If the comb gets too hot, you could burn up your hair, and even worse, burn up your skin. And who doesn’t hate nursing an ugly neck, face or ear burn with petroleum jelly and ice? But many of us know and have seen the benefits of the hot comb. If used every once in a while (not constantly), the end result can be shiny, full, lustrous head of hair. Or, broken off hair dry as sandpaper. If you’re looking to try your hand with a hot comb, here are five things you should know about the practice and the tool itself.