THE BLOG
01/28/2016 11:23 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

4 Hot Tool Mistakes You're Probably Making, According To A Hair Pro

Jae Rew via Getty Images

When was the last time you cleaned your blowdryer?
By Jessica Cruel, SELF

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Illustration: Lisa Grue

The truth: hot tools are a major investment. A top-of-the-line blowdryer will keep your strands from frying and give you glossy shine, but it will cost you! So why would you ruin your trusty tool by tangling the cords and clogging the vents? T3 celebrity hairstylist David Lopez has a strict maintenance regimen, so his tools are at peak performance for clients like Chrissy Teigen. He told SELF some of the most common flatiron and blowdryer sins women are making that will eventually send your tools up in smoke.

1. You wrap your cords around the handle.
One of Lopez's pet peeves: bad cord care. You can ruin your tools by wrapping the cord around the iron or getting them knotted in the drawer (this is electric wire you're dealing with!). Instead, fold the cord back and forth in a tight bundle and secure with a rubber band before throwing at the bottom of your bathroom drawer.

2. You let black gunk build up on your flatiron.
Over time the product and oil from your hair can start to build up on the edge of your flat iron plates, creating a black film. You can use alcohol on a cool flatiron to clean off the residue. Or use Lopez's professional trick: while the iron is still warm (but unplugged), wipe with a damp towel. The buildup will slide right off.

3. You replaced your heat-resistant glove with a regular one.
You totally lost the special hand protector that came with your curling wand. It happens! Don't use any old glove just lying around (yes, Lopez has heard of women using winter mittens as a replacement). Knit or nylon fabrics won't protect your hand from burning. Or worse, the synthetic glove will melt when it comes into contact with heat, leaving residue on your iron. A dry, cotton hand towel folded over a few times is a good alternative. Just make sure the cloth is completely dry, as a damp cloth will heat up quickly.

4. You've never cleaned your blowdryer--ever.
Got smoke coming out of your blowdryer? It probably needs a thorough cleaning. A clogged vent can minimize the effectiveness of your dryer. Dirt and lint can blow back into the motor, which messes with the speed and temperature. Read: a lengthier blow-dry time for you.

Open up the back of your blowdryer. Then use a toothbrush to remove dust and hair particles from the wiry filter inside. Lopez recommends giving your blowdryer a good scrub every few months if you use it on a weekly basis. Good news: some newer models have metal filters that you can just wipe off (now you have no excuse).

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