Why Every Woman Should Have A Flat Iron Phase

by Katie Hoffman

Every woman (especially those of us with curls) has cursed her hair at some point in her life. Whether it’s pining away over the sleek, straighter tresses that you lack or briefly considering the merits of Britney Spears' circa 2007 meltdown on a particularly bad hair day, mastering curly hair can be tricky, and it takes time, patience, and a lot of trial and error. For nearly five years of my life, the answer to solving all my hair problems was flat ironing my hair straight as a pin after each shower. Yes, for half a decade I avoided sweating, swimming, and being in the rain as one does when you just spent all morning straightening your hair to perfection.

In the years since, I’ve come to love my curly hair — frizz and all — but I don’t regret the years I spent singeing my fingertips to change my hair’s texture. In fact, my trusted flat iron served as my introduction to a whole world of hairstyles beyond scrunchies and barrettes that I didn’t even know existed. We talk a lot about the potential damage flat irons can do to our hair, but I think every girl benefits from going through a flat iron phase, and here are seven reasons why:

1. You Realize How Versatile Your Hair Can Be

I remember studying my head the first time I used a flat iron. The girl staring back at me in the mirror had all the same freckles, but the head of hair on top of her hair looked like it belonged to someone else. If I hadn’t just spent 60 minutes making it happen, I’d have assumed it was a wig. At the time, I had no idea my hair could ever be anything but curly, tangled, and unmanageable. I assumed my unfortunate hair situation was punishment for shaving someone’s head while they were sleeping in a past life or something, but my flat iron opened my mind. Your hair may have a mind of its own, but you’re still the one that’s in control. Flat ironing your hair teaches you that there are a million fun, different things you can do with your hair that you just haven’t discovered yet. Once you’re outside your hair comfort zone, the top knot’s the limit.

2. You Can Finally Feel Like An Insider In Hair Community

You may not know this, but when you buy your first flat iron, you’re joining a cult. You’ll start doing ritual sacrifices of your free time to research hair tricks and worship the conditioner that best nourishes your hair once you find it. You can’t help it. Once you’ve gotten a glimpse inside the hair world that you thought had turned its back on you, you’ll want to know more. When your hair looks anything different than a supermodel’s mane in front of a 100,000-watt wind machine, it's easy to feel different and left out. A girl’s flat iron phase is her time to take charge of her own hair destiny and realize that no hairstyle, color or product should be reserved for certain kinds of hair.

3. You Learn Flat Irons Aren’t Just For Straightening

For a long time, I thought flat irons were only used for straightening hair, but I was way off. They’re much more multipurpose than that. You can use your flat iron to curl your hair and even crimp it. You can also make waves or iron a wrinkly hem. A flat iron phase doesn't necessarily mean a straight hair only phase. And how many hair appliances (that work well) are four-in-one?

4. You Learn How To Really Take Care Of Your Hair

When you hear the term “flat iron,” chances are “heat damage,” “dryness,” and “burns” aren’t far behind. Keeping your hair healthy while using a flat iron requires you to learn things about follicles and moisture that you may have never had to know before. The good hair care habits that you learn during your flat iron phase will stick with you for the rest of your life, which means whether you’re in the mood for straightening or not, your hair is going to be a lot healthier.

5. It’s A Killer Arm Workout

Seriously, how do hair stylists do it all day? There’s no shame in admitting that at least once mid-straighten you’ve had to put your flat iron down for a second and rest. Who knew that styling your hair could count as strength training?

6. You Can Finally Try Bangs

If your hair is anything like mine, the shorter it is, the curlier it gets. A woman's flat iron phase is the perfect time to try getting those bangs on her hair bucket list.

7. It Teaches You To Love Your Natural Hair

The flat iron is gift from the hair gods, don’t get me wrong, but perhaps the biggest benefit of going through a flat iron phase is realizing that you don’t actually need to flat iron your hair all the time. There will come a time during your flat iron phase when you’ll wake up late and have to skip straightening, and surprisingly, it won’t be the end of the world. Having the option of straightening your tresses has saved many a woman from the stress of figuring out a last minute updo when all her bobby pins have mysteriously gone missing, but what’s even more important than that is learning that it’s okay to embrace your hair just the way it is. You don’t need to heat style your hair all the time, but it’s awesome to have the option.

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