Whether you’re using a flat iron or trying to straighten your hair with a blow dryer and brush, you’ll only get the best results my making sure that you’re using the right tools in the best way, without being too harsh on your hair.

Get the sleek look of straight and shiny hair by avoiding the worst hair straightening mistakes. Even if you’re only making a single error in your hair straightening routine, you risk getting a bad finish or doing long term damage to your tresses.

1. Straightening without Protection

Whether you’re going for a natural option like argan oil, which works best for thicker hair, or using a more complex heat protection spray or serum, you can’t skip this step in your hair at-home straightening routine. Without the adequate protection, you’ll never get your look to look shiny and healthy once you’re done.

2. Choosing the Wrong Kind of Flat Iron

If you’re hoping to get the perfect look with a flat iron, then you better make that you’re choosing the right kind for the texture of your hair. One of the worst hair straightening mistakes is using the wrong type of flat iron. For curly hair, you’ll need a titanium one, while ceramic flat irons are best for fine and normal hair.

3. Not Preparing Your Hair

In order to get your hair perfectly sleek and straight, you can’t expect that heat will always do the job. Make sure that your shampoo and conditioner are the right fit for your straightening expectation. Smoothing shampoos and conditioners can help, especially if you use a paddle brush to insure that the conditioner will leave your hair tangle-free.

Hair Straightening Mistakes

4. Not Drying Your Hair Correctly

One of the worst hair straightening mistakes many women make when they’re using a flat iron is not making sure that hair is completely dry. Once you get out of the shower, you should gentle pat it with in downward motions with a soft towel. Make sure that your hair is completely dry and protected with the right product before reaching for the flat iron.

More: 10 Signs Your Hair Is Damaged

5. Using Your Blow Dryer Wrong

When your goal is to get sleek and straight hair, the last thing you should be doing is moving the blow dryer around carelessly. The nuzzle should always face your strands downwards, whether you’re using a brush or not. Otherwise, you’re creating extra frizz that will make it more difficult to achieve the perfectly straight finish you want.

6. You’re Not Organized with Your Hair Sections

Avoid one of the worst hair straightening mistakes, and make sure that you’re sectioning your hair correctly before reaching for the flat iron. Make sure that your sections are split evenly and that they’re not too thick. If you try to straighten a very thick section, you’ll have to repeat the process and risk damaging your hair.

7. You’re Using Way Too Much Heat

If you have a professional blow dryer, that was designed to be used in a salon setting, you don’t always have to go all the way up with the heat. Stick to a maximum of 350 degrees to get a good finish without a lot of damage to your tresses, and avoid metal brushes that heat up quickly and can burn your hair. If you go all the way up to 450 degrees, you’re taking a huge risk with your hair.

Common Flat Iron Mistakes

8. You’re Repeating Too Much

A single pass with a flat iron should be enough for fine or normal hair, but if you’re naturally curly, you might need to repeat the process. However, repeating it too much is one of the worst hair straightening mistakes. Focus on getting enough tension while straightening your hair so you can cut back on the number of repeats. For a blow dryer, a maximum of 10 repeats should be enough.

See also: Best Deep-Conditioning Hair Masks

9. You’re Using Too Much Tension

It’s up to you to decide how much tension is right for your hair type, but going too far can cause a lot breakage. Work up to finding the right tension instead of pulling your hair too much on the first try.

10. Applying Finishing Products Too Soon

Avoid one of the worst hair straightening mistakes and let your hair cool down before applying products that are meant to keep it straight. An even better way of applying products evenly is to let your hair cool down, then spray a boar brush and gently comb it vertically.