When you have a bad hair day, what are your first thoughts (besides all the frustration that it can bring)? Do you curse your hair, blame the weather, or point fingers at the latest shampoo you purchased from the supermarket?
What many women realize a bit too late is that the culprit was the pair of trusty tongs (read hair straightener) sitting on their vanity desk all this while. It is possible that your flat iron has some defect or needs some routine cleaning.
However, one reason that gets swept under the rug is the sell-by-date of hair straighteners. Some women aren’t even aware of the fact that hair straighteners come with an expiration date!
This guide talks more about the signs that indicate it’s time to replace your hair straightener and tips to maintain it.
The Expiration Date of Hair Straighteners
According to hair stylist, Jackie Dove, hair straighteners are just like any other personal use appliance out there. They do not escape expiration dates, and she recommends changing them once every two to three years.
This is even true of flat irons simply sitting on the countertop collecting dust over the years. One major reason to avoid using a hair straightener past its expiration date is the damage it can do to your hair strands. You may experience premature color-fading, hair fall, and brittle tresses.
Another (more serious) reason is that the chemicals used in the hair straightener might become more toxic than ever. In recent years, flat irons have already become notorious for causing cancers of the reproductive system, including uterine and ovarian cancers.
The National Institutes of Health has found a direct correlation between the usage of hair straighteners and higher rates of uterine cancer. Several women filed the hair straightener cancer lawsuit to sue companies like L’Oreal USA. Even injuries related to permanent hair dyes and hair relaxers were revealed.
TorHoerman Law notes that besides uterine cancer, plaintiffs have also complained of injuries such as hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, vitiligo, uterine fibroids, and more. This lawsuit was filed as a master complaint, combining all news cases with similar allegations into a single litigation.
Neglecting your flat iron’s expiration date makes you vulnerable to its health risks.
After prolonged use, hair straighteners tend to develop tiny dents on their plates. This can lead to numerous problems, including snagging of hair and loosening of the plates. If you continue using such a flat iron, it may burn your hair strands. Not to mention the grave risk of the plates disintegrating and causing injuries.
Is your hair straightener taking longer than expected to straighten your strands? It’s quite annoying and damaging to go over the same spots over and over again. A hair straightener that takes forever to heat and do its job is getting weaker by the day. This is another sign that you should replace it.
Sometimes, you may notice that the lights at your hair straightener’s power and temperature buttons are continuously flickering. This is a sign that there’s some issue with heat control.
If left neglected, such a hair straightener can severely burn your hair. What’s more, is that you may also face electrical issues. It’s best to replace the straightener at the earliest.
Hair straighteners might emit a strange smell when there’s some issue with the internal wiring of the appliance. The smell is often described as ‘fishy.’ This creates an extremely unsafe scenario. The internal wiring issue could burn your hair or hands.
In some cases, dents may cause a burning smell. A healthy hair straightener does not produce a weird smell of any kind.
Even the external wiring of a hair straightener can get messed up or damaged. If you see wires that are frayed, broken, or just coming apart, replace the hair straightener immediately.
Such a situation can even prove to be fatal if electrocution is involved. The lesser evil is dry strands and burnt hair.
Does it seem like your hair straightener has gotten a mind of its own? Its temperature settings are being controlled by a ghost? If your flat iron’s temperature settings change without any manual input from your part, it’s time to get a new one.
This is a clear sign that your hair straightener may again electrocute you or burn your strands.
This article should have helped you understand how your hair tongs can cause more problems than a bad hair day when used beyond their expiration date. If your flat iron is still in good shape, deep clean it from time to time with rubbing alcohol. Other than that, you should clean it once daily with a damp cloth (whether you use it or not).
Then, never use the flat iron too many times a week. Depending on your hair, one to three times should be enough. Store it in a cool and dry place and never leave it unattended while turned on.
Finally, if you’re purchasing a new flat iron (because your previous one has worn down), check for the appliance’s sell-by-date before choosing one.