Is a tourmaline ceramic flat iron better for your hair?

We’re having a lot of fun posting tweeting to our top 100 beauty friends on Twitter and we’re getting some good questions from our followers. Here’s one example:

NM tweets…Any insight to new technology in flat-irons: nano fusion, far-infrared heat, crushed tourmaline, ionic and effects on hair?

The Left Brain leaps to respond:

Here are some specific flat iron claims that NM questioned along with my comments.

1. Tourmaline technology produces up to 20 times more moisture-locking ions than other professional irons. Being solid ceramic versus a coat of ceramic, it allows for more crushed tourmaline gemstones, thus producing more negative ions and creating shinier, silkier, and more reflective hair.”

There is no scientific evidence that I could find which would support the 20 times claim or an indication of what ions are formed. The only reference I could find was that it produced Hydroxyl ions when put in contact with the water. There is no evidence that these ions have ANY positive effect on hair. More important for characteristics like shine, silky feel and reflectiveness is the condition of the hair. If the hair is not damaged, it will look shinier & feel smoother. Ions have nothing to do with it.

2. “Tourmaline is a natural source of negative ions.”

What ions? Ions have to be some kind of element or compound. There is no such thing as “negative ions”. There are “negative hydroxyl ions” or “negative chlorine ions” but there are no “negative ions”. I can’t refute or confirm without an indication of what kind of negative ions they are talking about.

3. What’s the difference between ceramic and tourmaline?

Ceramic is a material composed usually of clay. Tourmaline is a silicate, precious stone. They are just different types of inorganic materials.

4. “Ionic technology emits negative ions, which neutralize the positive ions that cause static in the hair. It breaks down water molecules to 100 times smaller, allowing moisture to easily and quickly absorb into each strand, therefore creating softer, smoother hair.”

No, this isn’t true. Water molecules are not made smaller. Water molecules stay the same size. There is no published scientific report to demonstrate that Tourmaline irons create less static than ceramic ones.

5. “Hair carries a positive electrical charge caused by dryness. Over time this positive charge increases, and as hair becomes drier, the more open the cuticle becomes. When a flat iron or hair dryer is heated, negative ions are created, canceling out the positive charges and smoothing the hair cuticle.”

Hair carries both a positive and negative charge but it’s not “caused” by dryness. It is the result of damaged proteins which can be caused by heat damage, styling damage, environmental damage, sun damage, etc. It’s not true the the cuticle becomes more open because of ions and it’s also not true that “canceling positive charges smooths down the cuticle”.

6. “Far Infrared Heat – This technology heats the hair from the inside out, causing less surface damage. Said to straighten hair faster hence reducing damage.”

No it doesn’t. These flat irons work the same as regular flat irons. They transfer heat from the surface through the hair not the other way around. There is no proof that they work different.

7. “Is Far Infra-Red heat more energy efficient? Does it really heat hair from the inside out – is that even possible?”

These flat irons do not heat the hair from the inside out. I suppose it would be possible to heat the hair from the inside out, but I’ve never seen a flat iron that actually does. And even if you could do it, there is no evidence that it would make a noticeable difference.

8. “The Ionic Energy and the Silver Nano Technology kills 99.9% of bacteria and air born viruses. “ And, if nanotechnology is generally used in conjunction with silver, how does that figure in to a ceramic plate iron? And how/why is it known for its natural anti-bacterial and antifungal properties?

I have no idea what technology they are talking about. The heat from ANY flat iron will kill bacteria and viruses. Nano technology won’t make a bit of difference. Silver is known to have antibacterial properties. But I don’t understand what exactly is the benefit of a flat iron killing bacteria and viruses?