Have you guys seen the "Hair Tutorial Gone Wrong" circulating around YouTube right now? I feel like you probably have. All I can say is OMG -- I feel so bad for 'lil Tori Locklear, even if she got her 15-minute of fame from the TODAY Show. Burning off your hair seriously sucks, but then again, getting one-on-one tips from Ted Gibson ain't so bad, either.
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Anyway -- as someone who curls her hair at least three times a week (and an editor who admittedly heat-styles her hair every single day), there are a few ways to prevent frying your hair off -- without enlisting the help of a master stylist. For serious.
First and foremost, do not -- and I repeat -- do NOT use a cheap (as in crappy) iron. It's worth the extra money to splurge on a fancy one: High-quality irons will distribute heat evenly and usually have coated ceramic bodies that are much gentler to strands than straight-up metal barrels are.
Another perk of top-of-the-line irons is the ability to adjust the temperature to the tenth degree -- literally. Look for one with a digital LCD display (to ensure accuracy), and then make sure you choose the proper settings for your hair type. If your mane is super fine or chemically processed, stick to 300 degrees max. Got regular strands? You can go between 300 and 375. Coarse? Max out at 400.
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My favorite ones on the market right now is the $30 Remington TStudio Large Pearl Ceramic Professional Styling Wand and the pricier (but-worth-it) Sarah Potempa Beachwaver, both of which provide you with the proper protection, heat and barrel necessary to create perfect curls.
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