Can You Flat Iron Wet Hair?

Can you flat iron wet hair? Let’s get straight to the point! Flat ironing your hair while it’s wet can cause serious damage, so why even do it?

In today’s article, you’ll find out what happens to your hair if you expose it to hot tools while it’s wet and how you can straighten it to minimize the damage.

Can You Straighten Wet Hair With Flat Iron?

Is it bad to straighten your hair while wet? Yes, yes, and yes! Applying intense heat directly to wet and damp hair is one of the things you should stay away from, no matter what.

Any Advantages?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any proven pros for flat ironing wet hair. It doesn’t matter if your hair is damp or soaking wet; applying high heat to it will cause irreparable damage.

Some might wonder how we can freely use a blow dryer when our manes are still wet since it’s another tool that uses heat. Well, dryers are a go-to tool for women because you use them from a distance, and the heat is not nearly as intense. Blow dryers still cause damage; however, it’s controlled.

Flat irons are a completely different story. When you’re flat ironing wet hair, you’re placing the strand between the two very hot plates, then apply pressure to the plates while going over the length of each hair strand.

This means direct contact with very hot plates and instant damage. The sizzling sound you hear while using the iron on wet hair should be a warning big enough to let you know that this isn’t a smart idea.

Disadvantages Are Pretty Clear

  • Will cause permanent hair damage;
  • Will cause brittle and frizzy hair;
  • Will lose hair shine;
  • Will take a long time for the hair to recover.

What Happens If You Straighten Wet Hair?

Can you apply a flat iron on wet or dry hair? In theory, yes, you can straighten wet and damp hair, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Applying such intense heat to wet hair means damaging it and risking permanent changes.

Let’s get into detail! It’s already a given that when your hair is wet or damp it contains more water than when it’s dry.

This is because each hair strand contains three parts: cuticle (the other part that protects the hair), cortex (the middle part), and medulla (the inner part). When you apply heat, and there’s extra water, the liquid will turn into gas.

This leads to an explosion inside the medulla, which causes permanent damage to the hair strands. It might not be as visible and pronounced if you only flat iron damp hair once, but if you practice it more often, it will lead to thin, brittle hair that will take a lot of time to recover.

Tips from Hairstylist

Your hair is the most fragile when it’s wet – even brushing it can cause damage. So, instead of grabbing the flat iron while it’s wet, wait for the hair to dry first, then straighten it.

Another great idea is to get your hairdryer and a brush and straighten it while drying it. Remember that using a heat-protecting product should be on top of your list before applying any type of hot tool.

How To Straighten Wet Hair The Right Way?

hairstylist drying hair before using flat iron

Here’s what you should do if you want to straighten your wet or damp hair without turning it into a sizzling mane:

Start With A Heat-Protectant

Since this method uses a blow dryer, you should protect your hair with a heat-protecting product. Just grab your favorite spray and add a few spritzes all over the surface. Avoiding this step will only lead to bigger damage due to the heat.

Brush Your Hair And Divide It Into Sections

Grab a wet brush or your other go-to brush and go over the entire hair. Now, divide it into several sections, preferably between two and three inches wide. This will make the process much easier and will ensure that you go over each section of hair.

Get The Blow Dryer

Go over each section with the blow dryer while straightening the hair with a round brush. It’s best if you also add the concentrator nozzle to the dryer. Repeat the same step several times until the hair is completely dry.

Finish It Off

If you’re not completely happy with how straight your hair is, just turn on the flat iron and set it to the recommended temperature for your hair.

What Is A Wet-To-Dry Flat Iron?

If you’re too impatient and you want a tool that will make straightening wet hair a piece of cake, then you need to try a high-quality wet-to-dry flat iron.

This tool does exactly what the name suggests; it transforms your wet hair to dry while also styling it. It’s a tool that works for all hair types and lengths; however, people with thin hair should be a little more careful when using it.

Wet-to-dry irons use venting to eliminate the water from your hair and are an excellent choice for everyone who wants to speed things up. They’re exclusively meant for wet and damp hair, but there aren’t any limitations on whether you can use them for curly, wavy, or straight hair.

wet hair before and after straightening with flat iron


Why Is It Bad To Flat Iron Wet Hair?

Flat ironing wet or damp hair is bad because you apply direct heat to the strands that are filled with water. This water bursts inside the hair strand and causes permanent damage. So, the next time you wonder, “Can you straighten damp hair” remember that the answer is no!

What Are The Other Ways To Straighten Wet Hair?

Aside from using a wet-to-dry straightener, you can also grab your hairdryer and a brush. This might take a little practice, but the final result is silky smooth hair with significantly less damage compared to straightening it with iron while it’s wet or damp.

Can Wet-To-Dry Or Steam Hair Straighteners Be Used On Wet Hair?

Wet-to-dry straighteners are suitable for both wet and damp hair. On the other hand, a steam straightener is not a tool you should be using unless your hair is dry. This is because this tool uses heat, and it will cause damage to your hair molecules and lead to damaged, frizzy hair.

Also read:


Applying any hot tool to wet or damp hair is a no! All hot tools can cause damage to your gorgeous mane, but flat ironing it while it’s wet is the worst thing you can do.

Instead, grab the hairdryer and straighten your hair using the lowest heat setting. Let us know how your new hairdo will turn out.

Allyson Carter

Ally is a professional hairstylist with more than 6 years of experience, but hair has been her passion since early childhood. Here, at Hair Spies, she blogs about all things hairdressing, hair tools, and everyday hair care. Read more about Allyson here.

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