Is Your Curling Iron Ruining Your Hair? Tips to Protect Your Locks

Hairstyles can be a great way to show off your personality and style, and curling your hair is a popular way to do just that. But, you might wonder, “does using a curling iron damage hair?”.

Curling irons can cause damaged hair if they are not used correctly. This is because the heat from the curling iron can dry out your hair and make it brittle. However, there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening.

This post will discuss the proper ways to use a curling iron and tips to protect your hair from heat damage, so keep reading to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • Curling irons can actually damage your hair if you’re not using them correctly.
  • Curling irons can cause two of the most common types of hair damage; Heat and Mechanical.
  • Curling irons can also cause frizz, split ends, and heat damage.
  • You can avoid damaging your hair through the use of the proper techniques.

The Truth About Curling Irons and Hair Damage

I have heard horror stories of hair being fried and damaged BEYOND repair by curling irons. But there is a lot of debate about whether or not they damage hair.

woman curling her blonde hair

Some claim that curling irons can cause heat damage, leading to split ends and breakage. Others say that if you use the curling iron CORRECTLY, it will not damage your hair.

So, what is the truth? Does using a curling iron damage hair? The answer is yes and no.

Hair damage caused by curling irons is typically due to HEAT and MECHANICAL damage.

Heat damage occurs when the curling iron’s heat DRIES out your hair, causing it to become more susceptible to breakage. Mechanical damage occurs when the curling iron’s clamp pulls on your hair, causing it to stretch and TEAR.

However, there are some things you can do to prevent both of these types of damage.

READ MORE: How to Deal With Heat Damaged Hair

How to Avoid Damaging Your Hair With a Curling Iron

If you are CONCERNED about damaging your hair with a curling iron, there are some things you can do to prevent it.

Size of Curling Iron

First, make sure you use the correct SIZE curling iron for your hair type. Use a SMALLER barrel curling iron if your hair is thin or fine. Conversely, use a LARGER barrel curling iron if your hair is thick or coarse.

Heat Protectant

Second, ALWAYS use a heat protectant spray on your hair before using the curling iron. This will help to prevent heat damage.

women protecting her hair from heat damage using hair spray

Pro Tip: Coconut oil makes an excellent heat protectant and can be found at most grocery stores.

Be Gentle

Third, be careful not to PULL or tug your hair while curling it, as this can cause mechanical damage. Instead, GENTLY guide the curling iron through your hair.

Release The Clamp Slowly

Fourth, slowly RELEASE the clamp on the curling iron when you are finished curling your hair. Do not just let go, as this can cause your hair to SNAP.

Use Lower Heat Settings

Finally, use LOWER heat settings on your curling iron. High temperatures can cause more damage to your hair.

Following these tips can help prevent heat and mechanical damage to your hair. You can even try using a flat iron instead of a curling iron to minimize damage.

Pro Tip: Try using a ceramic or tourmaline curling iron, as these materials emit negative ions that help to protect your hair from damage.

READ MORE: How to Restore Natural Curl Pattern

What to Do If You Have Already Damaged Your Hair With a Curling Iron

If you have already damaged your hair with a curling iron, there are some things you can do to repair it.

You can also follow this guide to learn how to take care of your hair if you frequently use curling irons.

Use a Deep Conditioner

Use a deep conditioner at least once a week to RESTORE moisture if your hair is dry and brittle from damage. [1]

beautiful lady conditioning her hair

Apply the conditioner to your hair and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. You can also leave it on overnight for extra hydration.

Be sure to read the label CAREFULLY of hair treatments to find a deep conditioner that is right for your hair type.

Using this will help your natural oils to better protect your hair from heat damage in the future to keep your hair healthy.

Pro Tip: You can also use leave-in conditioners and hair masks for extra hydration.

Trim Your Ends Regularly

If you have split ends from heat damage, it is essential to trim them regularly.

Split ends can TRAVEL up the hair shaft, causing more damage. By trimming your split ends, you can help PREVENT further damage.

If you are UNSURE how to trim your hair, you can visit a salon or ask a friend for help.

Long hair can be especially susceptible to damage from heat styling. If you have longer hair, you may want to consider getting a trim more often.

Give Your Hair Time To Recover

After you have damaged your hair with a curling iron, it is important to give it time to RECOVER.

This means taking a BREAK from using heat styling tools and giving your hair a rest. Curling hair every day can put a lot of stress on your locks, so giving them a break will allow them to recover.

Allow your hair to air dry instead of using a blow dryer. And if you must use heat, make sure to use the lowest setting possible.

Pro Tip: Try using a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer to help distribute the heat evenly to dry hair.

Get a Hair Cut

Lastly, if your hair is SEVERELY damaged, you may need to get a haircut to remove the damaged ends. While this may seem drastic, it can help your hair recover and prevent further damage.

lady getting a hair cut

Talk to your stylist about getting a trim or even a shorter style if your hair is highly damaged.

Read our guide about the benefits of cutting hair short.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Curl My Hair Without Curling Iron?

Yes, you can curl your hair without a curling iron from your styling process. You can use several methods, such as braiding your hair or using hot tools.

What Is the Best Temperature to Curl My Hair?

The best temperature to curl your hair depends on your hair type.
If you have fine or thin hair, use a lower temperature setting. If you have thicker hair or coarse hair, use a higher temperature setting.

How Long Should I Leave The Curling Iron On My Hair?

To avoid damage, you should not leave the curling iron on your hair for more than a few seconds.
If you have thick or coarse hair, you may need to leave the iron on for longer to curl your hair.

What Is The Best Heat Protectant Spray To Use Whenever I Curl My Hair?

There are many heat protectant sprays available on the market. You can try a few to see which works best for your hair type.
Some more popular brands include Kenra Thermal Spray and got2b Guardian Angel.


After doing some research, we have found that curling irons CAN damage your hair. However, there are some things you can do to prevent or repair this damage.

Just be sure to take proper precautions, like using a heat protectant to keep your hair moisturized and not setting the temperature too high.

With these simple tips in mind, you can curl your hair to your heart’s content without worrying about damaging it.

curling the brown hair



About Martina Todorovska

Martina is a graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine with a huge obsession for anything beauty-related. Her freelance writing started out as a creative outlet and turned out to be a full-time job. If you have any beauty questions, the chances are Martina has the answers. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES . Follow her on LINKEDIN , INSTAGRAM. Learn more about her HERE.

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