Wet-to-dry flat irons are one of the more confusing tools in the hair category. You've heard their claims of taking wet hair to a dry, styled state in just a few passes, but do they actually live up to their promises? In short, yes, but not without some damage if your layers are completey soaked. "One of the biggest mistakes people can make is to use one of these tools on overly-wet hair. Think of it as almost boiling your hair dry," says hairstylist and makeup artist Abraham Sprinkle. "Hair is at its most vulnerable when wet. Putting this or really any hot tool on overly saturated hair can wreak havoc." Especially on color-treated or processed strands, which tend to be on the drier side already.
Sprinkle notes that, unlike a dryer and round brush, where you can control the heat on wet layers, you're not able to physically feel if your hair is getting fried until after you're done. "Use the iron following the instructions from the manufacturer, but I would never put it on hair that wasn't already 80% dry," he advises. Wet-to-dry tools work just as well on dry hair as they promise to on damp strands, so while they're great for speeding up the process if you accidentally leave behind one or two slightly cool areas at the back of your head, don't believe the hype being sold to you from someone struggling through an infomercial—they always seem to have a pretty hard time with life as it is.