An ionic hair straightener is an electrical appliance designed to straighten and smooth hair while also improving its strength and overall health. Straighteners generally use heat to press and smooth hair, but the introduction of charged ions is intended to make this process both longer-lasting and less damaging. There are a couple of different varieties, but in general the tools make use of charged ceramic plates or tourmaline, which is a stone. Manufacturers often treat these substances to enhance their ion conducting abilities but in most cases they are natural conductors in and of themselves, too. Just the same, straighteners usually need to be labeled “ionic” in order for consumers to be sure of what they’re getting, and this name usually carries an implication that the tool has been crafted and tested specially to ensure an even delivery of charged particulates. The benefits of using this sort of tool over a more standard variety aren’t widely proved, but include promises of smoother, less frizzy hair that resists damage and stays healthier for longer.
Ionic hair care is a relatively new trend, but ions are a part of chemistry that’s involved in almost everything. Ions are essentially atoms or molecules that have lost or gained an electron. In general, most atoms and molecules start out with an equal number of these charged particulates, which generate energy. Losing or gaining electrons impacts the behavior of the cell itself.
Most researchers agree that ions and their charges are an important part of hair health, and they may also be able to impact some aspects of human health and mood, too. Most hair stands are positively charged as a matter of course, and ionic hair straighteners usually emit negative ions as a consequence. When the negative particulates interact or come in contact with the positive ones of the hair follicle, they neutralize; in theory, this causes a restoration in electron balance that can improve each hair on a chemical level.
Hair Straightening Generally
Straighters are popular tools that use heat to force kinks and curls out of hair. They work a lot like an iron, and before they were widely available some people actually did use standard irons to flatten their hair. Straighteners are not only safer, but also a lot easier to use — and they typically give much more consistent results, too. Most are made up of two plates attached together sort of like tongs that are heated. Users pull small segments of their hair between the plates and squeeze.
There are many different varieties but most are electrical, which means that they gain all or at least most of their power through a power cord. Many also include steam features that use hot water to help “set” the treatment. In ionic models, manufactures make use of materials that conduct ions, often as plates or small bristles that come into direct contact with hair follicles.
Benefit of Ionic Treatments
An ionic hair straightener is a little bit different in that it is designed also to neutralize the positive ions found on hair. According to most reports, equalizing the cellular composition of hair follicles can give them a smoother, healthier look — though it should be noted that whether they actually are healthier is open for some debate. Results depend at least in part on individual hair characteristics and overall manufacturing integrity of the device. Results of ionic hair treatments aren’t widely established, and things can vary a lot from person to person and tool to tool.
In most cases, ionic straighteners produce negative ions by way of water molecules. Water molecules are usually present in the hair naturally, and the heat combined with ionic transmissions breaks them into fine particles that can re-hydrate and re-condition the hair. Once the molecules are absorbed into the hair, they restore moisture balance.
Most ionic hair irons are made of ceramic material. Non-ceramic irons typically heat the hair’s cuticle from the outside, which can actually cause heat damage. Ceramic material uses infrared heat, which quickly penetrates the hair and typically only focuses on the inside of the cuticle.
Some ionic hair straighteners also contain tourmaline. Tourmaline is a precious stone that generates a vast number of negative ions upon heating. The extra negative ions produced by tourmaline further reduce the probability that the iron will cause heat damage and helps ensure that the hair will be soft and silky.
There are many different straightening tools available in most places, and not all are ionic. Making the best choice is usually a matter of price as well as quality. People who have hair that has become damaged due to overstyling and too much heat often choose ionic hair tools, particularly if they’re going to be using them more or less every day. The constant use of hair dryers and other tools can make hair brittle and possibly cause breakage.