all hair types How To Clean Your Heat-Styling Tools
Yes, you should actually be cleaning them!
Yes, you should actually be cleaning them!
Hopefully, you already know the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes and makeup blenders. But did you know that cleaning your heat-styling tools is important too? You’ve probably taken out your curling iron or hair dryer and noticed that they're coated in dust and caked-on hair products. Not only will a good cleaning help keep your hot tools looking their best, but it will also help them work their best. So here, we’re sharing the best way to clean a blow dryer, flat iron and other hot hairstyling tools so that your hairstyling is effective and sanitary.
Have you ever noticed hair product build-up on the metal plates of your flat iron? It often looks like brown grime. Not only is it gross, but it can also prevent the flat iron from working at its highest capacity. The more hair styling product build-up, the less effective your flat iron will be. Before you even think about cleaning your flat iron, make sure it’s turned off and completely cool to the touch. Then, there are two methods to try: you can use warm water and gentle soap, or, if that’s not enough to remove pesky build-up, try rubbing alcohol. Saturate a washcloth with the warm, soapy water or put rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad, then rub either the cloth or cotton pad slowly over the plates of your flat iron until all the product is completely removed. Take care not to rub too harshly, as this could potentially cause damage to the metal plates.
Editor’s note: Don’t let product build-up scare you away from using product on your hair before straightening. In some cases, it’s completely necessary—like heat protectant for example. So, keep spritzing your strands with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Pre-Iron Spray Leave-In before styling to protect your hair from heat damage.
If you need to use hair spray or hair gel to help make sure your curled hair stays intact, curling irons are often the hot tool with the most old product left on them. If the product build-up on the barrel of your curling iron isn’t too severe, you can use rubbing alcohol—similar to how you would clean your flat iron.
However, since curling irons often have the most gunk on them, you may find that you need a stronger cleaning method. If that’s the case, baking soda is another popular cleaning method. Just be careful not to be too harsh, as you don’t want to damage what’s underneath all that build up—and don’t forget to also clean the underside of the clamp! If you use a curling wand instead of a clamped curling iron, the same cleaning process will work.
Your blow dryer typically won’t be riddled with built-up product, but it often develops a different issue: dust. If you’ve noticed your hair dryer overheating (more than normal) or not pumping out as much air as it used to, chances are the fan is clogged up with too much dust and lint.
Unfortunately, cleaning the dust out of your blow-dryer’s fan isn’t easy, but it's totally doable. To clean out the pesky built-up dust in the grid of the fan, you’ll need a pair of tweezers. Use your tweezers to pull out as much of the dust as you can, then wipe along the face of the grid with a damp washcloth. Alternatively, you might find that some hair-dryers have a back panel that can easily pop or twist off. In this case, remove it for an easier cleaning process.
If your hair rollers are of the pronged variety, you’ll need to clean them similarly to how you would a standard hair brush. Use a small comb to pull out the lingering hairs from each curler, then cleanse them with a mild shampoo and rinse thoroughly. If you use ceramic hot rollers that have built-up product on them, clean them with a bit of rubbing alcohol just like you would a ceramic flat iron.
Just like your makeup sponge and brushes, how frequently you should be cleaning your hot tools will depend on how often you use them. If you’re heat styling your hair a few days a week, it’s a good idea to clean your tools once a month. If you use them less often, you may be able to get away with cleaning your tools every few months or once a quarter.
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