The History of the Flat Iron: How This Tool Became a Staple in the Cosmetology Industry The History of the Flat Iron: How This Tool Became a Staple in the Cosmetology Industry
Learn New Techniques for Using It at Our Cosmetology School Near You
Perhaps one of the most versatile hair styling tools is one with a name that indicates otherwise: the flat iron, also known as a hair straightener. But the modern flat iron is far from its ancestors: hot combs or tongs heated on the stove!
During cosmetology training, you’ll learn to wield a modern flat iron with ease as you use it to create a variety of hairstyles for your clients. Keep reading to learn more about these important hot tools as you prepare to become a cosmetologist.
How Do Flat Irons Work?
Straightening irons break down the positive hydrogen bonds in the hair’s cortex. These broken bonds prevent the hair from holding its natural form – although when you reintroduce moisture, the hair returns to its original state.
These broken bonds and drying out of the hair are exactly why it’s important to use a heat protectant before you begin the styling process.
Early Cosmetology Tools
The first straightening systems used chemicals, which damaged the hair. French hairdresser Marcel Grateau first introduced hot combs in the 1870s – the same person responsible for inventing the curling tong. Madame C.J. Walker used combs with wider teeth coupled with a chemical scalp topical and other straightening lotions. In 1909, Isaac K. Shero patented the first hair straightener, made of two flat, heated irons that were pressed together.
Heated metal implements became more popular, as they were easier to use and made hair feel less dry. In the 1960s, women even used clothes irons to straighten their hair!
Hot Tip from Our Cosmetology School Near You
The temperature of your flat iron should vary depending on the hair type and texture you’re working with. Your iron should be set at less than 200 degrees Fahrenheit for straightening fine or thin hair. For coarse or thick hair, crank it up to 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Flat Irons Straighten Hair – and More!
It’s in the name – so it’s no surprise that a flat iron makes your tresses stick-straight, especially when hair is properly primed for a hot tool.
But during cosmetology training, you’ll learn that this tool performs many duties, including creating loose, casual curls to add volume and movement to your clients’ hair.
The flat iron our cosmetology students get in their kit is the HAI Classic Convertible flat iron. This brand is time-tested, reliable, and built to last, with fully adjustable temperature and one-pass styling. You’re set up for success with quality tools like this one at Eric Fisher Academy in Wichita.
Cosmetology Training Hot Tip
Create texture while using a flat iron to curl hair by leaving the ends out! This gives the ends a straighter appearance and adds a beachy vibe.
Choosing the Right Flat Iron
With so many hot hair tools on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the beauty supply store. Before you shop, research your options online and ask cosmetology colleagues for their recommendations.
For the best results for your clients, opt for a ceramic hair straightener to reduce frizz and protect hair. Ceramic distributes heat more evenly, for an overall smoother look. Metal or ceramic-coated flat irons should be avoided, as they are simply not high enough quality for professional cosmetologists to use.
How to Clean Your Flat Iron
The earliest hair straightening tools weren’t electronic, so they didn’t necessarily require such careful care. Modern hot tools, however, need special treatment to remain in good condition for longer.
Excess build-up of oils and product on the straightening plates will end up in your clients’ hair and can cause damage. That’s why it’s important that, after allowing your flat iron to cool, you use a damp cloth to wipe down the plates. Never submerge your flat iron in water or another solution to clean it.
Keep Learning in Our Cosmetology School Near You
Eric Fisher Academy is currently enrolling students in our cosmetology and esthetician schools. Join our upcoming cohort by talking to our admissions department.
We’ll help you channel your passion for beauty and give you the tools you need to pursue a career in a field you love, including teaching techniques that you’ll practice on real clients.
Don’t wait – classes start soon!