Here’s the thing about heat tools: They are hot. And while our hair can sustain much higher levels of heat than our skin can—just ask the burns on the backs of our hands, which for some reason seem to have an almost magnetic attraction to our curling wands—hair isn’t indestructible, and just because you haven’t fried it to a crisp doesn’t mean it isn’t incurring damage each time the iron gets a little too hot.
Most hot tools go up to about 400 degrees fahrenheit, but that doesn’t mean you need to use it that high to keep your style in check–although it is tempting to crank the heat to get what you want ASAP. The right temperature has always been a guessing game, a Goldilocks-like experience that frequently ends up either in frizzy, frazzled strands (too hot!) or no change at all (too cold!). But GHD, the UK-based purveyors of some of our favorite blow dryers, flat irons, and curling wands, says they’ve found a solution.
The company’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Tim Moore has concluded that the ideal temperature at which to style your hair with a flat iron or curling wand is 365 degrees. He says it’s the perfect temperature for optimal shine—if you go hotter (like, say, the 400 degrees your flat iron seems to want you to go), you’ll burn the fat lipids in your hair and cause frizz, and if you go lower, the heat on the styler’s plate won’t allot evenly, which means your hair won’t heat evenly for consistency in your style.
So next time you go to crank up your curling iron to the highest temperature it can handle, take a step back and consider Dr. Moore’s advice: 365 degrees is all you need for scoring your best style without causing serious damage … and filling the room up with smoke and that burning hair smell. We’ve all done it.