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Your Guide to Heat Styling Your Hair the Right Way, According to the Pros

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Written by Jasmine Desiree

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Pop quiz—what temperature should you curl your hair at? This may be a difficult question to answer unless you know your hair type. Most of us heat style several times a week, but many don’t actually know the right temperature for their hair type. Instead of accruing unnecessary heat damage, learning the right temperature for your specific hair can minimize the damage while maximizing your style. 

We spoke with Syrenthia Quinones, our Senior Manager of Sales and Education at Mane, to teach us everything about heat temperatures and hair type. Read on for the hot takes!

Understanding Hair Types

You need to know your hair type to understand the right temperature for you. Structure, texture, and overall condition all play a part in determining how to utilize the best heat settings for your hair. For example, fine, coily hair is delicate and needs lower heat to avoid damage, while coarse, straight hair can handle higher temperatures to achieve a lasting curl. This principle applies not only to curling hair but also to straightening your hair. Choosing the right flat iron temperature for your hair type is essential for achieving the desired style while minimizing heat damage. Quinones breaks it down below!

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Discovering Your Hair Type

Fine Hair:

Fine hair has a smaller diameter, making individual strands thinner and more delicate. Its texture is often soft and smooth to the touch. Because it’s so fragile, it requires lower heat to avoid damage. 

Medium Hair:

Medium hair has a moderate diameter, falling between fine and coarse. It typically feels neither soft nor coarse but relatively balanced. Compared to fine hair, medium hair can withstand a slightly higher heat. 

Coarse Hair:

Coarse hair has a larger diameter, making individual strands thicker and more robust. It often feels rougher and may have a more textured or wiry appearance. This hair type is more resilient to heat and can typically withstand higher temperatures, but it may even require a higher temperature to achieve the desired style.

Ideal Curling Temperatures

Now that you have determined your hair type, you can start styling your hair at the correct temperature! Because fine hair is so delicate, Quinones recommends styling hair between 250°F to 300°F, medium hair between 300°F to 350°F and coarse hair between 350°F to 400°F or even higher, depending on the desired curl pattern and the hair's tolerance to heat. However, there are a few other factors to consider when determining the right temperature for your hair type:

Texture

Hair textures vary among individuals and are vital in learning the right temperature for your curl. “Coarse textures may require higher temperatures to penetrate the cuticle effectively and set the curl, while finer textures can be styled at lower temperatures to avoid damage,” Quinones shares.

Porosity

Porosity refers to how well hair can absorb and retain moisture, which directly correlates to how well it retains heat. “High-porosity hair tends to absorb heat quickly and can be styled at lower temperatures, whereas low-porosity hair may require higher temperatures to curl effectively.” 

Condition

The condition of the hair, including its health and moisture level, can influence the temperature needed for styling. “Damaged or chemically treated hair may be more sensitive to heat and require lower temperatures to prevent further damage,” Quinones explains.

Heat Tolerance

Each individual's hair has a different tolerance for heat. Some hair types can withstand higher temperatures without heat damage, while others are more susceptible to heat damage and require lower temperatures to prevent breakage and dryness. Considering the factors above will typically give you insight into how well your hair tolerates heat.

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Avoiding Heat Damage

Temperature can impact the longevity of curls, and most of us opt for a higher temperature for this. However, using excessively high temperatures can also increase the risk of heat damage and result in curls that look stiff or unnatural. To adjust for desired results and maximize curl longevity, Quionenes recommends the following tips:

Use Heat Protectant

Prep, prep, prep! Do not try to style your hair when it is wet. Instead, “Start with clean, dry hair that is properly prepped before curling,” Quinones recommends. “Additionally, using a heat protectant spray or serum to shield your hair from heat damage and help the curls hold their shape longer.” Always apply a heat-protectant product to your hair before using any heat-styling tools. Heat protectants create a barrier between your hair and the heat, minimizing damage and preventing moisture loss.

Limit Heat Exposure

Avoid using high heat settings unnecessarily. Start with a lower temperature and gradually increase it until you achieve the desired results. Quinones recommends avoiding using the highest temperature setting unless necessary. “Start with a lower temperature and gradually increase it as needed until you find the optimal setting for your hair type.” Go the extra mile to limit heat damage with our ionic hair dryer (with a diffuser) to keep your hair styled with minimal frizz and damage.

Invest in Quality Tools

Use high-quality curling irons or wands with a ceramic barrel or tourmaline plates. These materials distribute heat more evenly and minimize hot spots, reducing the risk of heat damage. Looking for a styling tool that will do it all?  Our hair straightener, The Three Way Multi-Use Flat Iron, can straighten, wave, and curl your hair while leaving it with a smooth and natural finish.

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Recommended Curling Tools from Hey Mane

Speaking of investing in quality tools, Mane’s hot tools gotchu. Created to wave, curl, and straighten your locks and give you every style under the sun, they’re crafted with ceramic barrels and non-coated barrels to distribute heat evenly and give you a shiny, frizz-free finish. Plus, our hot tools come with adjustable heat settings, ensuring you can style your hair safely and effectively. Proper hair care is essential when using heat styling tools, and Mane's products are designed to minimize damage and maintain the health of your hair.

If you want to achieve long-lasting, bouncy, tight curls, our 1” Curling Iron Styling Attachment with Power Bottom Interchangeable Base will be your go-to. 
Undone waves and big bouncy curls more your thing? The 1.25” Curling Wand Styling Attachment with Power Bottom Interchangeable Base is for you.
And if you like beachy texture, glam waves, or super quick and easy bends, cop the 1.25” Jumbo Hair Waver Styling Attachment with the Power Bottom Interchangeable Base!

Wanna learn how to use our tools like a pro? Here’s everything you need to know about The Power Bottom and Styling Attachments!